Cs

Give me a break (and a continue)

What can I do to discourage my students from using the "break" statement? That was more or less the gist of the comment and it elicited some good responses. This time the conversation was on Facebook but I've seen this one and participated in it many times before. I never liked the question when presented as a "how can I stop them" one. I equally dislike when the offered advice is basically "
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On Technical Interviews And Diversity

I recently stumbled upon Laurie Barth on Twitter and noticed a couple of tweets about tech interviews and the hiring process, something I've been thinking about recently. Solid rant. I think the teach to the programming test market already exists. And it’s why interviewers who subscribe to these tactics get upset if a candidate admits they’ve seen the problem previously. Because it ruins the illusion that this is revealing how candidates think.
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Seam Carving and Dynamic Programming

It's spring break and for me that's always been a good time to explore some new ideas. Here's one that some of you might like, particularly if you're teaching APCS-A or something similar. Many APCS-A teachers do a unit on image processing using the picture lab (alternate resource). Image processing is a nice platform to explore two dimensional arrays. You basically use a 2D array of pixels (points) to represent an image.
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Adapting A Nifty Assignment

The Nifty Assignments session at SGICSE is always a popular one. Go to the site and you'll find links to all the assignments presented from 1999 to the present year. On the one hand, it's a great resource. On the other, the assignments vary in nifty-ness depending on one's personal taste. To me, there seemed to be a run of nifty assignments that were really just "take a generic assignment and fancy up the graphics"
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SIGCSE 2019 - the keynotes

It's that time of the year to write a series of blog posts about SIGCSE. I thought I'd start with one on the keynotes. There were four keynote speakers. Marie desJardins, Gloria Townsend, Mark Guzdial, and Blair Taylor. I wasn't at the first timer's lunch where Townsend spoke so I won't talk at all about that keynote. I'm also not going to summarize the talks. Andy Ko wrote up a terrific summary of his SIGCSE experience and did a much better job giving overviews to the keynotes than I ever could so I'll just refer you to Andy's blog post.
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March PD for CS Teachers

Back in December we ran our first PD session for CS teachers. This was to address the need for professional development for teachers who were more experienced in terms of computer science - we aimed this at people who were ready to teach APCS-A, similar, or beyond and also to start to build a community for these teachers. We had trouble setting things up for February but we're good to go for March, April and May.
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Java Interfaces

Two of the hardest topics to make meaningful to students in APCS-A are inheritance and interfaces. It's not that they're super difficult topics but rather that they're not often needed, useful, or superior to not using them on beginner assignments. More often than not the motivation is a bit forced as are the assignments. Inheritance is its own can of worms and to be honest, something I've not found to be all that useful or necessary.
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Solve A To Solve B

So many programming assignments involve a direct solution. Write a program to do this or write a problem to solve that. It's pretty typical. There's nothing wrong with assignments like these. They allow students to practice what they've been learning and it gives them the opportunity to create some cool programs. All the same, I like it when there's an indirect problem. You're faced with a problem but in order to solve it you first have to solve some other problem
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Advent of Code, Data Structures, and Hidden Complexity

Since 2015, Eric Wastl has gifted us each December with Advent of Code - a 25 day programming competition that I very much enjoy. This year I haven't been able to get to too many of the problems. I only completed the first two days on the day they were released, problem three a day late and then I didn't get back to the problems until almost 12/25 - the final day of the competition.
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Professional Development - APCS-A, similar and beyond

A while ago I wrote about our plans at Hunter to run professional development for CS teachers. Specifically, running once a month sessions for teachers who teach APCS-A, similar and beyond. The idea started as a joke but morphed into a legit idea. I was talking to some friends about CTLE hours and how ridiculous the system is. NY State teachers need 100 hours of CTLE credit (PD hours) every so many years.
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