Yesterday we held our third monthly Professional Development session for teachers of "APCS-A, Similar, and Beyond." It's great to see that we're starting to form a core of a community of CS teachers teaching some of the more advanced classes as there is a core group that keeps coming back for more. Even better is the fact that we're gaining a couple of new teachers at each session.
Last time, we were at Digital Ocean, a cloud provide that has been very involved in education since their creation and has been a tremendous boon to my education projects over the years.# COMMENTS
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.# COMMENTS
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.# COMMENTS
A question that frequently comes up with respect to CS for All is what does it mean? To me it means giving all students some fundamental exposure to computer science so that they can:
Make use of those thinking skills, problem solving approaches, and practical tools regardless of their future paths. Provide a path for the subset of "all" that desire to further pursue computer science. But even with this, how do you do it?# COMMENTS
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?# COMMENTS
Last time I mentioned the pushback on CS for All. While many people are all in for CS for All, resistance is coming from many areas. There's resistance from teachers of other subject areas, people who think it's merely job training for the tech industry (which it can be if done poorly), people who feel it will be implemented at the expense of other important subjects already on the chopping block like music and art, and others.# COMMENTS
There's been a lively discussion on pushback to CS for All at the K12 level over on Facebook. Mark Guzdial started a sub thread asking if CS for All should first be implemented at the undergrad level rather than K12.
It's an interesting question and as good as anything to get me out of my month long non-blogging rut.
Mark was right when he said that if Colleges implement CS for All, K12 will likely do so to follow - just look at AP.# COMMENTS
A fear revolving around CS For All concerns where will the money come from and how will we fit in the new classes.
One suggested solution is to integrate CS into other subjects. I thought I'd write today about why I don't think the fear is valid and while integrating CS into other classes can have value, it probably isn't a long term solution for CS education.
Let's start with the integration solution.# COMMENTS
This morning, Mark Guzdial wrote about unfunded mandates and CS for All. Unfunded mandates frequently wreak havoc on schools in a number of ways but in the long run, I don't think it should have a severe effect on CS for All. Rather, it could have a big impact on the number of CS courses we offer beyond that.
Mark relay's a story from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School where at the time many students wanted more CS classes but the school wasn't planning on hiring a new CS teacher.# COMMENTS