Csed

Adapting A Nifty Assignment

The Nifty Assignments session at SGICSE is always a popular one. Go to the site and you'll find links to all the assignments presented from 1999 to the present year. On the one hand, it's a great resource. On the other, the assignments vary in nifty-ness depending on one's personal taste. To me, there seemed to be a run of nifty assignments that were really just "take a generic assignment and fancy up the graphics"
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Evaluating Java IDES for teaching teachers.

Since Hunter uses C++ as it's core language, I haven't used Java much in the past three years. That's going to change pretty soon. Once we start offering our CS teacher Certificate and Masters programs I'll once again start teaching with Java as that's one of the langauges that we want to prepare our teachers with. That means deciding on a set of tools and so I've been spending time evaluating Java programming environments with an eye on the beginner since not only do the teachers I work with have to be comfortable with the tool but more importantly they will have to be able to support the tool for all of their students.
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SIGCSE 2019 - the keynotes

It's that time of the year to write a series of blog posts about SIGCSE. I thought I'd start with one on the keynotes. There were four keynote speakers. Marie desJardins, Gloria Townsend, Mark Guzdial, and Blair Taylor. I wasn't at the first timer's lunch where Townsend spoke so I won't talk at all about that keynote. I'm also not going to summarize the talks. Andy Ko wrote up a terrific summary of his SIGCSE experience and did a much better job giving overviews to the keynotes than I ever could so I'll just refer you to Andy's blog post.
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March PD for CS Teachers

Back in December we ran our first PD session for CS teachers. This was to address the need for professional development for teachers who were more experienced in terms of computer science - we aimed this at people who were ready to teach APCS-A, similar, or beyond and also to start to build a community for these teachers. We had trouble setting things up for February but we're good to go for March, April and May.
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Why the Thomas Friedman's editorial on the College Board's Two Codes left me concerned

There was some buzz over this editorial about the College Board last week. The two codes every child needs - Coding and the US Constitution? Who could argue with that. I'm not going to disagree. Civics and CS are important and can't wait until college. The thing that left me chilled though was that nobody's paying attention to the fact that the College Board - a private entity with its own interests has so much influence over American education.
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Use A Real Language

Why can't we use a real language! This topic has been coming up a lot recently. Now I'm not talking about the Drag and drop vs textual language thing. Let me be clear. To me a Drag and Drop language can certainly be a real language and many are. I also think they're terrific when used correctly. I just think they're frequently misapplied in later grades. No, I'm talking about people asking things like "
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Sequencing Topics

Monday's the start of the Spring semester. Other than the 8:00am start I'm looking forward to it. My 8:00am class is the honors/lab component that goes with CS1. I taught it last semester and during each of the past two years at Hunter. My second class is the follow up - more OOP / C++, data structures and some algorithms. The material is old hat. I've taught it in Java more times than I can count and also in C++ albeit many years ago.
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Thoughts On Code And Beyond - Computational Thinking

The theme of this year's To Code and Beyond was Computational Thinking. Mark Guzdial gave the keynote. While the talk isn't currently online, check out this talk that Mark gave last March. It's not the same but the second halves are and well worth a look. In the first half, Mark talked about other types of "thinking." Scientific thinking, engineering thinking and even historical thinking. All had a good amount of overlap with both each other and with computational thinking even as we haven't yet settled on what computational thinking actually is.
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Is There a First Grade Machine Learning Achievement Gap?

Today was the fifth "To Code and Beyond" - a one day conference hosted at Cornell Technion and once again Diane Levitt put together a great show. The theme was Computational Thinking and the day consisted of a variety of talks, panels, and activities. I plan on writing about one panel in particular but for today I wanted to address something that came up as a question. One attendee asked a panel about the achievement gap - the fact that when the CS movement got started in NY some of the more innovative and interesting work was being done with some of our most vulnerable students.
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Advent of Code, Data Structures, and Hidden Complexity

Since 2015, Eric Wastl has gifted us each December with Advent of Code - a 25 day programming competition that I very much enjoy. This year I haven't been able to get to too many of the problems. I only completed the first two days on the day they were released, problem three a day late and then I didn't get back to the problems until almost 12/25 - the final day of the competition.
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