Cs Education

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.
# COMMENTS

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.
# COMMENTS

I Speak Jive

When I wrote about the HighWebEd I mentioned John William''s talk on Agile. He spoke about how the movie Airplane! was filmed in an Agile manner and gave as an example the development of the "jive" scenes. Apparently the creative team had a script but it wasn't working. The first pair that read for the role, Norman Gibbs and Al White had their owned take. Not only dir the team cast them on the spot and follow their creative lead (hence Agile) but they also apparently apologized to the two actors as the original attempt was so bad compared t what Gibbs and White brought to the table.
# COMMENTS

Classes Or After school programs - which is more important for female retention in CS?

This morning Mark Guzdial tweeted on his latest post: Results from Longitudinal Study of Female Persistence in CS: AP CS matters, After-school programs and Internships do not https://t.co/GOzp3045Hp — Mark Guzdial (@guzdial) October 14, 2019 I'm glad Mark wrote about this as it's something that's important to both research and publicize but it's really not a surprise. I'm going to start by dismissing the statement that "... participation in the Aspirations awards program were teh best predictors of persistence three years after the high school survey in both CS and other technology-related majors.
# COMMENTS

Cheating on CS projects

Alfred Thompson posted today about cheating on CS class projects. It was in response to Garth Flint's post on finding interesting projects which in turn referenced earlier posts by Alfred and me. Garth laments that it's hard to find projects that are both interesting and meaty but where solutions can't easily be searched for online. Alfred notes that cheating will happen and that it's an ethics issue. This is why I try to create a culture of sharing and acknowledging credit (that is, citing sources) but I'm not naive enough to believe there isn't any cheating in my classes.
# COMMENTS

Teaching techniques - industry to classroom and classroom to industry

There are things we do in school and there are things we do in industry and they're not always the same. In school we might use a learning language or an IDE which gives additional support and at times even take away language features while at work you might you might make heavy use of continuous integration tools. On the other hand, sometimes we use the same things. Java is used in schools and in industry, StackOverflow consulted in both and many schools use professional IDEs like Eclipse.
# COMMENTS

Pig Latin - a beginner lesson with some depth

I recently did a unit where I had my students convert words into Pig Latin. I like the problem because to start it only requires strings, functions and if statements but there is some depth to the unit. We start with simplified rules: If the word starts with a vowel, add "ay" to the end of the word If it starts with a consonant move the first latter to the end and add "
# COMMENTS

Advanced CS Early - Are they learning it or just using it?

I recently took a look at the Cryptopals Crypto Challenges. It's a series of challenges through which you can learn all about crypto and crypto attacks. They say they'll eventually have solutions but since the site appears to be at least a few years old, who knows it they'll ever publish them. One interesting thing about the site is that it really doesn't have a lot of content to teach you the concepts around the challenges.
# COMMENTS

Outside Evaluators

I was planning on writing up all the exciting CS Education work I got to be involved in these past two days but I saw a post on one of the CS discussion forums that got me riled. There's a teacher (name withheld to protect the innocent) who wants to create an advanced course for his students but his administration is requesting an outside measure of accountability. This sounds reasonable on the surface but I found it really insulting.
# COMMENTS

Big Code And Case Studies

I'm enjoying reading about Ria Galanos' new chapter on her blog. In her most recent post Ria briefly talks about the fact that very few professional developers start from scratch and most work in existing large code bases. She wonders why the College Board got rid of the APCS-A case study and talked about how it gave students an opportunity to work on a multi-file complex system. Over the past few years others have wondered if the College Board should bring it back.
# COMMENTS