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C'est la Z

Tools matter when teaching (and learning)

One of our teacher certification cohort members asked for some help on our Slack the other day. It was about a side project - he was learning him so Javascript. It's always very cool to see teachers exploring things that can help with their craft on their own. The whole situation reminded me about how important good tooling is and why, in spite of its popularity, javascript has some severe issues as a learning language and I'm a guy that actually likes javascript.
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Github and Student Feedback

Beyond the CS specifics We've been primarily using three tools in our summer certification program. Zoom for video conferencing Slack for text based communicaiton GitHub for just about everything else We use GitHub as a CMS - a place to share code and assignments as well as collect them. We're also playing with GitHub discussions although that's fallen somewhat to the wayside with Slack being preferred.
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Merge Over Zoom - A Hunter CS Certification Program Update

We've been talking sorting and searching in our teacher certification program and today was all about the merge sort. One of the strategies we use when teaching it in person involves sorting a deck of cards by Tom Sawyering it with the class. It's fun and it's effective but you can't do it over Zoom. What to do? We didn't want to just jump into the nuts and bolts of merge sort.
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Virtual Conferences - CSTA 2020 part 2

Now that CSTA 2020's over time for some more thoughts on the conference and also on virtual conferences in general. I only got to attend a couple of sessions as I was working my CS teacher certification program but a nice feature is that I was able to hop in and out of sessions without disturbing or disrupting. You can't really do that in person. I'm also looking forward to when they release the sessions for later viewing.
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Virtual Conferences - CSTA 2020

I wasn't supposed to be in NYC this week. I was supposed to be in Arlington Virginia with around one thousand of my CS Teacher friends at CSTA2020. Devorah was going to spend the days at the GitHub booth teaching knitting and I was going to do a GitHub workshop and generally enjoy the show Of course nobody's traveling these days and CSTA2020 is running remote. This is my second virtual conference as I attended parts of MongoDB world a few weeks ago.
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Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program Week 2

Time for some thoughts after week 2. Since this is the inaugural edition of our program and there was no way to really know what the cohort would be like we've been adjusting on the fly. This was expected but we're finally starting to settle in. We're still finding more zoom heavy days but as we move towards the end of our data structures segment there should be fewer of those.
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Reopening Schools - de Blasio and Carranza throw kids and teachers under the bus.

Yesterday, Bill de Blasio and Richard Carranza unveiled their open the schools in the fall plan. The plan is perfectly consistent with de Blasio and Carranza's education policies and efforts in general - tone deaf, ineffective, and in this case, unsafe. I know we were told that part of this came from survey results but we all know that surveys are super easy to fix. I mean, ask any teacher or parent "do you want schools to be open and in person in the Fall?
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Productive Fidgeting at CSTA2020 - Build a Blanket for good

It's almost time for CSTA2020. I'm looking forward to it but since it's going remote it is going to be interesting. Since CSTA is, at least to me, very much a "people conference" as opposed to a "session conference" it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out. One of the things I was super excited about last year was Devorah's getting her Blanket Statement project off the ground.
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Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program Week 1

Time for an update on our NY State Teacher Certification Program. We kicked off on Monday. Twenty two students working with three instructors from 9:00 - 3:00 every day. We've been using a combination of synchronous with Zoom and async using Slack and GitHub discussions. We're using GitHub as our main platform. Day 0 was very Zoom heavy but we're trying to balance one big Zoom session a day combined with other work so as to minimize fatigue.
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Teaching CS - all the educators to all the grades

I'm kicking off a couple of exciting summer projects next week and it's been pointed out to me a couple of times that I'll be working with educators at every level to help them to deliver CS instruction to students at every level. What an opportunity to be a part of and learn from - working with every level of teacher for every level of student. I'm part of the teaching teams but I think I'm also going to learn a lot.
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