March PD for CS Teachers

Back in December we ran our first PD session for CS teachers. This was to address the need for professional development for teachers who were more experienced in terms of computer science - we aimed this at people who were ready to teach APCS-A, similar, or beyond and also to start to build a community for these teachers. We had trouble setting things up for February but we're good to go for March, April and May.
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Hunter College Winter Codefest 2019

It's great to see how much Hunter CS has developed since starting here there years ago. The latest endeavor is Winter Codefest. During the fall I was approached by one of my students who had asked an older Hunter CS student about their portfolio and found that the senior's portfolio was lacking. This student said we should do something to help encourage younger students to build that portfolio. The result was Winter Codefest.
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Why the Thomas Friedman's editorial on the College Board's Two Codes left me concerned

There was some buzz over this editorial about the College Board last week. The two codes every child needs - Coding and the US Constitution? Who could argue with that. I'm not going to disagree. Civics and CS are important and can't wait until college. The thing that left me chilled though was that nobody's paying attention to the fact that the College Board - a private entity with its own interests has so much influence over American education.
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How I use Github Classroom

It's been an amazingly unproductive weekend. Mostly because I've been sick with the flu. It sucks but since the rest of the family's away anway at least I'm not making everyone miserable. I did manage to stage my next couple of classes and figured that writing this post wouldn't take too much energy since it's mostly a video. Earlier, I talked about using GitHub and TravicCI and this time around I show how I use GitHub classroom to set up, disseminate, and collect assignments.
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Tech Jobs, Diversity, and Equity in the wake of the Amazon/NYC debacle

I was planning on either following up on how I use GitHub classroom or commenting on the recent NY Times opinion piece on the College Board but the follow up, fall out, and polarization from the Amazon NY thing has been stuck in my head so I thought I'd write a bit more about it. Like my previous post, this isn't really about Amazon but rather about the long game, equity, and diversity and how a lot of people are fooling themselves.
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No Amazon HQ2 in NYC

That was the big tech news today. I know there was a good deal of vocal outrage about the deal but to be honest I was pretty surprised by the news. Normally deals like these get steamrolled through for better or worse. I have decidedly mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I have no problem with Amazon - I've got a bunch of former students working there. Mostly in Seattle but at least one in NYC.
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GitHub Helps Me Help Students

Earlier today I was reminded why I love GitHub in support of my classes. One of my students posted a question about our current lab. They posted a synopsis of the problem along with the error message. Since we're all working on GitHub the student's work was already up online Since I started using GitHub Classroom I was able to quickly navigate to the repo. This might have been enough but to really in to the students work I cloned the repo and went into Emacs.
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Use A Real Language

Why can't we use a real language! This topic has been coming up a lot recently. Now I'm not talking about the Drag and drop vs textual language thing. Let me be clear. To me a Drag and Drop language can certainly be a real language and many are. I also think they're terrific when used correctly. I just think they're frequently misapplied in later grades. No, I'm talking about people asking things like "
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Java Interfaces

Two of the hardest topics to make meaningful to students in APCS-A are inheritance and interfaces. It's not that they're super difficult topics but rather that they're not often needed, useful, or superior to not using them on beginner assignments. More often than not the motivation is a bit forced as are the assignments. Inheritance is its own can of worms and to be honest, something I've not found to be all that useful or necessary.
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Early Ap Registration - it's, um, for the kids

I stumbled upon a thread over in the APCS-A Facebook group the other day. It seems that the College Board is making some changes in their registration timeline. In the past, students registered for the exam sometime in March with the exams administered in May. The new changes include requiring registration in November along with $40 late registration and cancellation fees. The College Board is, of course, spinning this as for the student's benefit.
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