Cs

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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PD in NYC

I spent this past Saturday morning up at the Microsoft building in Times Square. What was I doing there? Aankit Patel invited me to check out the professional development that he and his team organized for the teachers involved in the assorted CSforAllNYC programs that his office runs. Wow. Lots of great things going on. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours but I spent some time in two rooms run by TEALS, a room of BJC teachers, a group working with p5.
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Who Played Spiderman - part 3

Parts 1 and 2 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 In the first two parts of this set of posts I wrote about the motivation and design a question answering system that can answer "who" queries like "who played Spiderman" or "who shot John Lennon?" It's not perfect. When doing the Spiderman query, chances are the desired answer will be at or near the top of the list of most frequently appearing names but so will "
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Who Played Spiderman part 2

Parts 1 and 3 Part 1 Part 3 Part 2 When we left off last time we used a search engine API to gather a whole bunch of documents with the term "played Spiderman" or "who played Spiderman." Now we have to process these documents to answer the question. Fortunately, the documents are basically just big strings of text. Since we're doing a "who" query we want to find all the names in all the documents.
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Who Played Spiderman part 1 or my Nifty Assignment (that was rejected)

Parts 2 and 3 Part 2 Part 3 I wasn't going to teach this lesson today. I was planning on starting a multi day project starting with an exercise in specification writing and design. Beforehand though, we had to talk about classes. One of my students asked if probability and/or statistics were really important for CS. I started to cite a few examples and then decided to segue into this.
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Compile Each Concept

We've all been there: Student: Teacher, I need help Teacher (comes over) Student (shows screen listing three bazillion errors) The student has just written pages of code and finally decided to try to run it only to end up with pages of errors. Error messages can at times be hard to read for beginners but to see and truth be told, they frequently don't even read them but over the years I've developed a practice that I've found helpful as a software developer and if students adopt the same practice it can save them a lot of time and effort.
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Creating a school for CS

Do we really need CS focused high schools? That's the question Alfred Thompson asked partly in reaction to my post talking about Bill Gates' visit to AFSE, a NYC public school with a CS focus. On both posts, Michael Preston shared some important and good points about AFSE as a starting point and gateway that helped lead to CS4All in NYC and also specifically about AFSE. In response to Alfred's question I thought it was time I shared a bit about what I was pushing for AFSE back when I was involved.
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Do you need to know binary for CS?

Yesterday, Alfred Thompson asked "Why is it important for CS students to understand binary?" on Twitter which led to a number of interesting responses. Alfred summarized and wrote his own thoughts on his blog. I wanted to add a comment but I already wrote a post for yesterday so put it off until today. First let me say that you can have a very successful career in tech and not really know binary or number bases other than 10.
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Rite Of Passage Projects

JCS's post on Irreal today brought me back. It was about Brief which was the editing hotness back in the day. I played with it a little really mostly used Emacs clones for real work when I was stuck on MS-DOS systems. Usually either JOVE or Epsilon In the comments Jon reminded me about the MKS Toolkit which brought most everyday Unix tools to DOS along with a shell and a version of Vi.
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Hunter CS - a lot of progress in a short time

Yesterday I was back on campus for an early orientation session for Hunter's incoming Daedalus CS honors students. It was the first time all of us got to meet face to face. The students I met with will be my third cohort. I got to thinking how far we've come in under three years. Hunter's had a strong but little known undergraduate CS program for as long as I've known. Much like any program, we've got our strengths and weaknesses but you go through our program and academically you'll be as well prepared as from anywhere else.
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