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C'est la Z

Computer Science is not (inherently) fun

I saw a tweet the other day by a CS teacher. They were talking about how much easier it is to teach CS because it's fun. They went on about how they get to create cool problems which makes it so much easier to teach than other subjects. I've heard this a lot over the years particularly from teachers who are into gaming - "CS is fun because you can create games.
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They're all good first programming languages ;-)

There's been a lot of chatter recently about the first programming language to teach. First, I read a Facebook thread focussing on Java, C and C++ and then, presumably unrelated, Mark Guzdial posted this which lead to another Facebook discussing and then yesterday I noticed a Twitter thread started by someone in the Bootcamp world asking people what their first language was which resulted in answers ranging from JS to PHP to Perl to a bunch of others.
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But we don't have enough teachers!!

A common refrain against requiring CS in our K12 schools is that we don't have the teachers and we won't any time soon. Sure, we don't right now but we won't if we don't do something about it. The question to ask is "how long will it take" and "how do we get there?" Let's look at New York City. We've got approximately 1,000,000 students in our public schools.
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Finally got the class working - only took five years

You don't become a master teacher overnight. It takes years, perhaps decades. Year one, you're just trying to survive. Year two is frequently a small step back. Year three on is slow improvement provide the teacher works to improve. To me and eight to ten year teacher is usually an advanced beginner, fifteen years? Seasoned. Master teacher? You're probably pushing close to 20 years or more. Of course, there are exceptions but this is the pattern I've most often observed (burnout notwithstanding).
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If you build programs, teachers will come

It's been a month since my last post. In fact it seems that most of the usual CS Ed bloggers are down in frequency this year. For me it's probably been Covid fatigue and the resulting funk but I'm going to see if I can force myself to write more frequently. So, the other day someone was asking about CS certification in NY state on Facebook. One comment caught my eye.
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Teaching Styles

My friend Emmanuel lamented over on Facebook on "Learning Styles," or more specifically on how it's still given credence. We all chimed in in agreement but not an hour later I saw a Twitter thread where education thought leaders extolled the virtues of Learning Styles all over again. I pointed out that it's a great example as to why so many teachers scoff at "the research" and "research backed practices.
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New York City has Certified CS Teachers

I'm super proud to say that New York City now has state certified Computer Science Teachers!!!!!! It's been a long road - really long if you consider I got started on my CS Ed journey decades ago and there's a long road ahead but we hit a major milestone. I started at Hunter a little over five years ago and creating teacher certification programs was one of the goals.
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Quick Sort over Zoom

I haven't been blogging much this year. Not sure why - probably pandemic fatigue. It's also affected my blog reading - more scanning, less deep reading. I've also been trying to spend mode time off screen learning how to paint (with,let's say mixed results :-) ) leaving less time and energy to blog. Hopefully I'll pick up on both ends as more people get vaccinated and we can get to a more normal life.
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Teaching and Pedagogy - words and music

I wanted to give a little more context on yesterday's post. In reading over the various comments on social media related to the topic of required and desired CS teacher knowledge there are those that fall on the content is king and pedagogy not so important and others who think you don't really need a deep knowledge of CS. I think you need both and think current teachers need to be given a reasonable but finite amount of time to get there.
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Physics Teacher Wanted - must NOT know Physics

There were a few posts over on Facebook this weekend about teacher certification. It started with a question - should teacher certification be based on an exam like APCS-A with the teacher correctly answering 85% or greater. A lively discussion followed. There was agreement and disagreement with responses ranging from: good idea it's too hard it's not hard enough There was also a discussion of the importance of content knowledge vs knowing how to teach in general.
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