One of the first sessions of SIGCSE2022 was a panel on the choice of language for APCS-A. Should it continue to use Java or should it shift to Python. This topic comes up from time to time. I didn't attend this particular session but discussed it at length with a few people who did.
Truth be told, I wasn't going to start writing about SIGCSE and APCS-A until I finished a few other SIGCSE posts but my friend Alfred Thompson said he was writing one and was planning on posting it soon.
Before diving into the content I thought I'd share my thoughts about SIGCSE as a hybrid conference. Prior to Covid, SIGCSE was pushing 2,000 in person participants. This time around ther were a little under 800 in person and a number of hundreds more remote. The in person numbers mirrored what CSTA has grown to. It's a nice size. Not overwhelming but manageable. It's at the upper edge of possibly feeling intimate.
I've been up in Providence RI since this past Wednesday for SIGCSE2022. The big Computer Science Educators conference. Also, my first in person conference since pre-covid.
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this big in person gathering but as it's turned out, it's been pretty comfortable.
So far, I've attended two terrific keynotes. One by Barbara Liskov and the other Barbara Ericson, some really interesting sessions and some less interesting ones and have had a great time discussing CS education.
Tomorrow I'll be driving up to Providence Rhode Island for SIGSE 2022, basically the largest computer science education conference out there. I guess ITSE, a conference I've never attended, is larger but that's really EdTech with some CS.
The last in person conference I went to was two almost exactly two years ago - also SIGCSE. I arrived in Portland and went to a pre-conference session and on the morning of the big start, about three hours before I ran my session, I saw an email saying we were canceled.
I used to do the New York Times Crossword puzzle. I don't remember when I started - some time late in Eugene Maleska's tenure as the editor. I continued on a few years into Will Shortz's puzzles. I stopped when the Times wanted to charge me for both print and online. I preferred reading the physical paper but liked printing the puzzle from their online site. I was also pissed at the Times coverage of a number of issues at the time.
There have been a lot of bad ideas foisted onto educators over the course of my career. One of the ones that always pissed me off was the use of a rubric for teacher observation. Specifically, using the Danielson Framework. The Danielson Framework is a LONG laundry list of topics and concepts and for each a teacher could be rated ineffective, developing, effective, or highly effective.
With my first classes of the semester coming up on Monday I thought I'd write a bit about what worked better remote than in person. When I say better I mean specifically, worked better for me given my situation. I think they worked better for the class but I can't say with any certainty given the length of the educational feedback loop and other factors.
My in person teaching situation is as follows.
My friend Tom tweeted earlier which led me to this piece on trends in CS professional development (PD). Tom's tweet was talking about virtual vs in person PD so I initially thought I'd write about that and PD in general but the article actually led to some deeper issues with PD.
The article talks about PD being focussed on specific units or modules, narrowing to more popular offerings and also becoming less localized.
Another recent discussion online asked "do you need to know assembly language to be a computer scientist?"
Sides quickly formed. On one side, it was a strict requirement. Some going so far as saying you had to start with it or at worst a language like C. On the other side you had people claiming that it's wholly unnecessary for most CS graduates like many of the classes we require of a CS major (I'm looking at you Calc II and beyond).
Devorah and I just got off a Zoom pension consultation. Very enlightening.
I'm 54 so regardless, can't retire for another year but Devorah hit 55 last November and the DOE can really kill ones spirit and grind you down.
Overall I've been pretty happy at Hunter but I've written before about the fact that I've been feeling some burn out and have been basically doing 2+ full time jobs myself at Hunter for the past few years and that's just not sustainable.