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C'est la Z

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.

Due to our time constraints we had some prework before we officially started. We had to debrief on that at the start and then also had to deliver new instruction and all that made for a rough first day.

Things got better in day 1. We were able to do one zoom session in the morning to set the stage on 2D arrays and were able to work more independently with slack support in the afternoon.

On Day 2 I finally got to teach as I had been running a Computational Thinking workshop during days 0 and 1. I led the morning session on Conway's Game of Life which led to a coding project in the afternoon.

Today we flipped the script doing self directed work in the morning and then got together to go over objects and classes in the afternoon.

While there's more to tweak I'm very happy with how things are going. We have a great cohort. In addition to supporting each other in class they've started to organize their own study groups and sessions both off hours and during our independant work. I haven't said anything about this nor have I intruded as I think it's healthy for the cohort to have their own self directed space. I'm glad it's happening without me having to prod behind the scenes.

While I'm very happy with how it's gone so far there are some areas of concern. Since this is a new program with an unknown cohort we're figuring out a lot on the fly. We're doing better on the format and pacing of activities but I feel we can still do better. With this in mind we're all having an online discussion throughout the weekend about how to adjust and by we I mean the entire cohort and all the instructors. If you've got a cohort of 22 experienced teachers you're foolish not to exploit their expertise. I'm also a little concerned about the methods component. We're already integrating some things - live coding and subgoal labeling for example but some of the methods I wanted to cover just don't fit well in a remote model and we also have to be careful about not overloading the teachers while many are just learning the CS.

Next week we'll start getting into data structures. We've got four more weeks but we're well on our way.

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