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Tag: csed

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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Preparing CS teachers - Curricula don't add richness, teachers do

I've frequently been asked for curricula. I'll hear from a school or someone otherwise involved in a school or education and they'll ask for a course they can drop in and teach. I explain it doesn't work that way. A syllabus or curriculum is only so good. A great curriculum with a bad teacher will still be bad but a great teacher can do a lot to salvage a horrible curriculum.
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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.
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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.
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Preparing CS Teachers - adding methods to our madness

Our summer intensive was, well, pretty intensive. We met all day every day for a month and knocked out four classes. Programming (CS1) Data Structures Topics Methods If you ever took or taught a summer session class, you know that time is tight and generally you cover a little less than in a fall or spring semester class. N credits in 5 weeks just isn't the same as those same N credits spread over 13.
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Preparing teachers to teach CS

Now that the summer portion of Hunter College's Advanced Certificate in Teaching Computer Science is over I thought I'd do a postmortem. That is, a few posts about what we did and how it all went. First, though, an overview of the program. The Advanced Certificate program is geared towards teachers who are currently certified in another subject area who wish to earn an additional New York State teaching certificate in Computer Science.
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Do It First

Reading Garth Flint's end of year post and Alfred Thompson's follow up had me thinking about a couple of things. One was spurred when Garth wrote "They also have to figure out the math before they code." This made me think about all the details we sometimes take for for granted. Things that are hard for our students that we just know. It's frequently math that we might find trivial but it could also be much simpler things.
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