Community

Presenting At CSTA 2020

Presenting at CSTA 2020 I noticed a few tweets and posts from people announcing that they'd be presenting at CSTA2020 - the big computer science teachers conference held every July. A common thread in a few of these were trepidation's presenters. Excited to be doing this but nervous. It's interesting that teachers, myself included, sometimes get nervous before presentations even though we present every day as part of our jobs. I know it's different as we have the same kids every day but even day 1 jitters each semester aren't the same as the presentation anxiety that some of us face.
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Communicating With Students - maybe GitHub to the rescue

Out of class student communication is always a challenge. There are plenty of options: Piazza Facebook group Slack, Discord, or other chat system Discourse, Vanilla or other discussion forum system Mailing list but all have warts. I shared my thoughts on a number of these options a while ago but thought I'd update them now. Most of my opinions hold form my earlier post. I was using and continue to use a mailing list as I can be pretty sure that students will get the email and they don't have to go to any outside site or application.
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Alumni Anniversaries

Two days ago, a teacher's comment on a frustrating situation made me mad. Yesterday, I got to be part of something that made me very happy. Last night, Devorah and I ventured out to Coney Island to celebrate the twentieth wedding anniversary of two former students. It's such a joy and an honor to be included in these types of life events and even more so to count the couple and so many other former students and friends.
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MongoDB World 2019

For those of you who don't know, MongoDB is a very popular NoSQL database. NoSQL is an overarching term describing databases that are not relational and don't implement Structured Query Language (SQL). In a relational database your data is stored in tables with columns - think spreadsheet where each row of the table is a record in the database. You link tables together via a common field or row name. NoSQL databases work differently.
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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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Reunions 2018

Thanksgiving weekend is also reunion weekend. I've been on and off invited to Stuy reunions over the years. Not as often it seems as some teachers but more often than others. I always do my best to attend. I have very fond memories of many students and many classes over many years and think a lot about them so feel very honored whenever I'm invited to one of these. In the past each class due a reunion did its own thing - some club or bar usually in Manhattan.
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Challenges of teaching at a commuter school

One of the bigger challenges faced at commuter schools is building a feeling of community. Students aren't on campus every day and come from far afield and even when they are on campus, we really don't have a CS "hang out" space. The space issue should be resolved soon - we're scheduled to get a CS student lounge next semester. I'm finding this to be even more of a challenge this year with my honors students.
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Reunion Season

Thanksgiving is reunion season. Stuyvesant and I'm guessing other high schools traditionally hold their reunions, at least the five and ten year ones over the holiday weekend. It makes sense since grads who've moved away might still be coming to town for family celebrations. This year, I was invited to the Stuy07 ten year reunion. I considered crashing the Stuy97 20 year but it was at the same time and too far away.
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CS Teachers - we need you to blog

At this past year's CSTA conference, a few of us huddled in a corner voiced a very common lament - "it would be great if more CS teachers blogged." It really would be. We're still a relatively small community and while there's some good conversation going on on mailing lists and on Facebook, those aren't easily discoverable or accessible and in the case of Facebook, there's a question of ownership and permanence.
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CS Educators StackExchange

The CS Educators StackExchange is now in public beta. For those of you who are not in tech, StackExchange is a network of question answering sites. StackOverflow is probably the most famous - many peoples go to site for computer science and programming questions and answers. During this period of public beta the site will be working on defining itself and also on developing a critical mass of users. I hope the site succeeds and I encourage everyone to check it out, ask questions, answer some and let's all see where this goes.
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