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C'est la Z

Tag: csed

Observing History

When I was a kid, CS in K12 wasn't a thing. Personal Computers were just becoming available. I remember pilgrimages to the basement Polk Hobby shop to play. I don't even remember what those computers were but soon, names like Apple, TRS-80 and Commodore PET were appearing. Throughout my schooling, CS wasn't a thing until High School and even there it was a couple of random classes because somehow Stuyvesant had an IBM-1130 - a punch card driven machine and a couple of math teachers taught simple programming electives.

The State of Developer Education podcast

Now that I'm back from my trip (and the subsequent cold that I've battled for the past few days), time to get back to "work." About a month ago, my friend Jonathan Gottfied interviewed me for his State of Developer Education podcast. It's an hour plus dive into CS / Tech education. It dropped when I was on the plane back to NY last Thursday. I meant to write this on Friday but my cold took me out until today.

How Much CS Do Teacher Candidates Know

I was talking to the CS chair at Hunter the other day - he's been a good friend since I joined Hunter and is also teaching the programming course in my teacher ed program this summer. William also taught the same class last year. Due to a shift - we're moving our advanced certificate program from a Summer->Fall->Spring schedule to a more traditional Fall->Spring->Fall->Spring one, this summer, we're running very small sections of our classes specifically for the 4 masters students who would be left in the lurch otherwise.

Do you need to know assembly to be a computer scientist?

Another recent discussion online asked "do you need to know assembly language to be a computer scientist?" Sides quickly formed. On one side, it was a strict requirement. Some going so far as saying you had to start with it or at worst a language like C. On the other side you had people claiming that it's wholly unnecessary for most CS graduates like many of the classes we require of a CS major (I'm looking at you Calc II and beyond).

If you build programs, teachers will come

It's been a month since my last post. In fact it seems that most of the usual CS Ed bloggers are down in frequency this year. For me it's probably been Covid fatigue and the resulting funk but I'm going to see if I can force myself to write more frequently. So, the other day someone was asking about CS certification in NY state on Facebook. One comment caught my eye.

New York City has Certified CS Teachers

I'm super proud to say that New York City now has state certified Computer Science Teachers!!!!!! It's been a long road - really long if you consider I got started on my CS Ed journey decades ago and there's a long road ahead but we hit a major milestone. I started at Hunter a little over five years ago and creating teacher certification programs was one of the goals. Back then, the state had neither CS certification nor CS standards.

Preparing CS Teachers - tools for remote instruction

Our summer intensive was supposed to be in person but COVID-19 changed that in a hurry. We had to scramble to redesign and figure out how we were going to run things. We decided to go with the following: Zoom for live meetings Slack for chat Git and GitHub GitHub classroom for assignments GitHub repos for code distribution, class website and resource sharing. GitHub discussions for off hour and long form discussion While Zoom is a great platform it was lacking in a few areas so we also ended up using: Padlet as a collaborative writing space for groups Assorted whiteboarding tools.

Preparing CS Teachers - what to leave in, what to leave out

Teachers always make decisions in their courses - what to leave in, what to leave out. I've seen programming and data structure classes where everything is written from scratch and others where a few things are explained and the students just use built in types like the java LinkedList or Arrays.sort() method. Do too much from scratch and you'll never finish the curriculum. Do to little and the students won't really understand what's going on and walk a path towards being programmers or coders rather than computer scientists.

CS Teacher Certification - Topics in CS

Officially, the last course of the summer was "Modern Topics in Computer Science." The idea was that K12 CS teachers on the one hand need depth beyond the typical terminal high school course, hence data structures and also breadth so that they could create electives, mix teasers in to the regular courses, or help precocious students with independent or semi-independant explorations. If someone was teaching this in a typical fall or spring semester course, they'd probably have a list of topics and spend a couple of weeks on each.