Csed

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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Globals Breaks And Returns, oh my

Never use global variables Never break out of a loop These are two "best practices" that are frequently touted in early CS classes both at the high school and college level. They came up a couple of times yesterday. Once in the Facebook APCS-A teachers group and once on Alfred Thompson's blog. Alfred post was topically on global variables. Actually it was deeper than just global variables. It's also about how students progress - what they can figure out at various stages of progress and how what seems like a good idea early on the path to computer science doesn't seem so great later on.
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When the students know more than the teacher

We've heard it many times with computer science - "the kids know more than the teacher." On the one hand, the truth is that this isn't so much the case. Kids might use computers all the time but they don't necessarily know much about them or about computer science (link 1, link 2). Then you have students who think they know all about CS but really don't. They might have picked up a bit of coding somewhere but more often than not, the knowledge is pretty superficial.
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Fall 2018 HS CS Tour

I've written before about why Hunter College CS is so important for NYC and I've been working hard to develop our Daedalus Scholars honors CS program - a program in which students receive a scholarship along with all sorts of special opportunities to add on to their in class CS education. The program and Hunter CS as a whole have made a lot of progress over the past two years and each year I roll out new special activities and events for my honors students.
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CS vs CT vs Coding

There's been a lot of buzz recently concernting Computational Thinking (CT) vs Computer Science (CS) vs Coding / Programming on the interwebs. Some of the questions and concerns that I've seen recently include: What is CT?? Will rich schools get CS and poor only CT? Will rich schools get CS and poor on coding? The first question is a big one and as a community we haven't answered it yet.
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Not every lesson has to be magic

If you check out Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other blog sites you might get the idea that you're the worst teacher in the world. The internet abounds with people sharing tweets and posts about wonderful lessons they've just taught, witnessed or learned about in professional development. Sure, the teacher forums rife with requests for lesson ideas and resources but the shared material is always aces. It makes sense, people in the community want to share things that worked for them or things they think will work.
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What CS should we teach in HS

I wanted to chime in on Alfred Thompson's post last week on what to include in a HS CS class but was working on moving blogging platforms so didn't get a chance so I'll say a few words here. If you've been here before you probably know I'm not a fan of the standards and I certainly am no fan of the College Board and the AP program so what's my take?
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Two Faces of Project Based Learning

If one looks at my twitter feed they'll notice that in addition to CS Ed, another issue I'm passionate about is school reform or rather resistance to what is popularly known as and mislabeled as school reform. I'm anti vouchers, charter schools, high stakes testing and more. One of the heroes of this resistance is education historian Diane Ravitch. I'm a big fan of Diane's and she's one of the true great champions of public schools, kids, and teachers.
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