Using Emacs Episode 56 - Dictionaries

One of the great things about Emacs is that it's not just for writing programs. Sure, you can set it up as an IDE for just about every programming language under the sun but that's just the tip of the iceberg. I use Emacs for just about all my text processing. This includes writing blog posts, reading and writing emails, creating lesson plans and pretty much anything and everything having to do with text.
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Sequencing Topics

Monday's the start of the Spring semester. Other than the 8:00am start I'm looking forward to it. My 8:00am class is the honors/lab component that goes with CS1. I taught it last semester and during each of the past two years at Hunter. My second class is the follow up - more OOP / C++, data structures and some algorithms. The material is old hat. I've taught it in Java more times than I can count and also in C++ albeit many years ago.
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Using Emacs Episode 55 - Irony Completions

Last year I put together a post and video on some basics of Emacs for C++ development. In the video I didn't quite get completions fully working. I also used ggtags in that video but find myself using dumb-jump more frequently. Here's a quick video showing how to set up irony-mode which uses libclang for completions. It's pretty slick. Now the only thing I think I'm missing is header file completions.
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Solve A To Solve B

So many programming assignments involve a direct solution. Write a program to do this or write a problem to solve that. It's pretty typical. There's nothing wrong with assignments like these. They allow students to practice what they've been learning and it gives them the opportunity to create some cool programs. All the same, I like it when there's an indirect problem. You're faced with a problem but in order to solve it you first have to solve some other problem
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Thoughts On Code And Beyond - Computational Thinking

The theme of this year's To Code and Beyond was Computational Thinking. Mark Guzdial gave the keynote. While the talk isn't currently online, check out this talk that Mark gave last March. It's not the same but the second halves are and well worth a look. In the first half, Mark talked about other types of "thinking." Scientific thinking, engineering thinking and even historical thinking. All had a good amount of overlap with both each other and with computational thinking even as we haven't yet settled on what computational thinking actually is.
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Using Emacs 54 Org Tables

As you know I use Emacs for all sorts of things. In addition to coding, I use it for email, my schedule, note taking, and much much more. As part of my job at Hunter, I read and evaluate some of the Macaulay Honors College applications. I also have to evaluate all the applicants to my CS honors program. I described how I use Org-mode and Emacs to help with that here.
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Is There a First Grade Machine Learning Achievement Gap?

Today was the fifth "To Code and Beyond" - a one day conference hosted at Cornell Technion and once again Diane Levitt put together a great show. The theme was Computational Thinking and the day consisted of a variety of talks, panels, and activities. I plan on writing about one panel in particular but for today I wanted to address something that came up as a question. One attendee asked a panel about the achievement gap - the fact that when the CS movement got started in NY some of the more innovative and interesting work was being done with some of our most vulnerable students.
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When does a new course really get developed

Following up on my last post I thought I'd talk a bit more about course development. According to most powers that be it's all done ahead of time. Organizations and companies with curricula to sell package it all up ahead of time lesson by lesson unit by unit. When I create a new course at Hunter, they demand a sample syllabus during the approval process with a week by week outline, assignments reading and more.
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Owning The Curriculum

I spent a couple of days last week hunkered down working designing a CS Ethics course and of course it got me thinking about designing courses in general. One of the topics I've ranted on is my disdain for canned curricula. I've never been a fan. This isn't to say I don't want to leverage other people's work. I'll take sample curricula, lessons, and all the resources I can get my hands on but I'd never just deliver them as is.
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Angels in the Architecture - when they used to build schools like cathedrals.

One of the side benefits of visiting high schools is that I end up going all over the city. This takes me to neighborhoods that I normally wouldn't have reason to visit. For a New York History wonk that can be pretty cool even if you just limit yourself to looking at the schools. A few of the schools I visited in the last couple of weeks before the new year were self contained whole building schools:
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