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C'est la Z

Tag: CS

Quick Sort over Zoom

I haven't been blogging much this year. Not sure why - probably pandemic fatigue. It's also affected my blog reading - more scanning, less deep reading. I've also been trying to spend mode time off screen learning how to paint (with,let's say mixed results :-) ) leaving less time and energy to blog. Hopefully I'll pick up on both ends as more people get vaccinated and we can get to a more normal life.
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On Teaching Recursion

Yesterday I read three posts on teaching recursion. First by Shriram Krishnamurthi discussing his thoughts on how recursion is taught incorrectly. This prompted Adam Michlin to write about teaching recursion later with some commentary on APCS and then finally, Alfred Thompson added his thoughts. Much like everything else in education there is no single right way to do things. To say as an absolute that you should or shouldn't teach in a certain way is wrong - too many variable.
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Arbitrary Trees

It's been 10 days from my last post. Not really a big break for me historically but certainly a big one given how much I've been posting this year. Been under the weather for the past couple of weeks dealing with COVID-19. Haven't had super bad symptoms and as symptoms have been getting fewer and less severe I'm hoping I'm close to a full recovery. In any event, I'm feeling good enough for a quick post.
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Interesting Problems

I organize a monthly professional development session for CS teachers. It's targeted at teachers who are beyond the beginner stage and don't want yet another hello world blinky arduino scratch workshop. Don't get me wrong, given the need for CS teachers we need plenty of beginner workshops but we also need to take teachers to the next level. I refer to my workshops as being for teachers of APCS-A, similar, or beyond.
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My code works -- and I have no idea why!!!

One of my pet annoyances is how code ecosystems have gotten more and more complex. Sometimes I think tool designers put together build systems to show how clever they are rather than to solve dependency problems as cleanly and simply as possible. Over the break I wrote GitHub Org Explorer - a tool to help deal with GitHub classroom repositories. It worked but was using "basic" authentication where it sent a username and password with every request.
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AI For All

Yesterday we had another Professional Development Workshop for High School CS Teachers and as usual, I wnat to express my thanks to Digital Ocean for continuing to provide space, food, and great overall support. This time though, instead of JonAlf and I having to run the show we had a guest speaker. We were joined by Sarah Judd of AI4ALL. Sarah gave an overview of what AI4ALL was up to and why but the core of her presentation was taking us through some of the exercises they have been developing at AI4All.
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Keeping Current Between Semesters

People say that one of the impossible problems for CS teachers is keeping current - they say the field is constantly changing, how can a teacher keep up with all the new things going on. Well, on the one hand it isn't true - most of the core of CS is the same. We still teach roughly the same programming constructs, data structures and algorithms. On the other hand, it is true.
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Multi Stage Assignments - the good and the bad - Advent of Code

In the real world you're usually not building your own projects from scratch. Much more frequently you're working on a team and you and other players come and go over time. This is in stark contrast to most CS educational experiences where students typically complete relatively small assignments from beginning to end. One of my biggest fears way back when as I was about to graduate college was when I woke up one night in a cold sweath "oh crap - in a couple of weeks I'm going to have to actually produce good code.
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Advent 2019 Day 8 - addendum - generating inputs

As I said in my last post, day 8 would be a nice project or lesson in an APCS-A or college CS1 class. Another nice problem would be to write a program to generate an image in the format required by the question. Alternatively, a teacher doing day 8 with their classes might want to generate a bunch of images for the students to test their decoders on. I thought I'd write one to see how appropriate it would be for the students.
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Advent 2019 Day - 8

I spent most of last week up in Albany working on the NY State K12 CS Standards so fell a bit behind. I had to go back to complete day 5 but still haven't finished day 7 which builds on day 5 which in turn builds on day 2. I might not get to finishing 7 for a while but it looks like a good chance to play with core.
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