Education

Sloan awards for excellence in teaching science and mathematics

I spent yesterday evening at the Cooper Union in their Great Hall, a place famous for Abraham Lincoln's speech that some say propelled him to the presidency. I was there in the audience watching as the Sloan Foundation and the Fund for the City of New York awarded seven public school teachers with an ward for "Excellence in the Teaching of Science and Mathematics." I was their to see my friend Dave Deutsch, a long time public school physics teacher receive the honor.
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Email Policy

I saw this tweet the day along with the ensuing thread: Seriously, who emails a professor with words like "u" and "plz hlp"? Am I allowed to put language in my syllabus that penalizes students for obnoxious, intentional misspellings? Maybe: -1% to your course grade multiplied by the edit distance of the word with its correction? — Austin Cory Bart (@AustinCorgiBart) November 30, 2018 I wanted to reply but as usual, I decided to reply in a blog post so that it doesn't get lost in the Twitterverse.
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PD in NYC

I spent this past Saturday morning up at the Microsoft building in Times Square. What was I doing there? Aankit Patel invited me to check out the professional development that he and his team organized for the teachers involved in the assorted CSforAllNYC programs that his office runs. Wow. Lots of great things going on. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours but I spent some time in two rooms run by TEALS, a room of BJC teachers, a group working with p5.
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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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Talking about CS teacher certification at CSTA 2018

As I mentioned in my last post, this coming weekend is the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) conference. I've been a member of CSTA since the beginning but this will be only the second time I've made it to the annual conference. The CSTA conference might be the largest conference specifically for k12 computer science teachers and that makes it different from conferences like SIGCSE which is for CS education and education research at all levels or ISTE which seems to be more of an Ed Tech conference.
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Giving control of NYC's specialized schools to a political appointee

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on Bill de Blasio's plans to "fix" the selection criteria for New York City's specialized high schools. If you haven't read the post, you can find it here. I was going to get back to CS and CS Ed related blogging today but there's more to the story. In spite of what BdB stated, it's not enough for him to switch to another measure - the middle school state exam along with some modifiers.
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Changing Admissions to the NYC Specialized High Schools

Yesterday, Bill de Blasio, the current Mayor of New York City outlined how he would "fix" our specialized schools. The schools he was referring to were the "big three" of Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech and then five additional schools - The High School for Math Science and Engineering at CCNY, The High School for American Studies at Lehman, Brooklyn Latin, The Queens Arts and Science High School at York College, and Staten Island Tech.
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Do the students finish the tests or does the test finish the students

I tweeted this the other day: Why don't so many teachers and professors understand that the test or assignment you can do in 15 minutes will take your beginning students at least an hour and probably a lot more to complete. — Mike Zamansky (@zamansky) April 18, 2018 What led to the tweet was a discussion I was having with some students about not having enough time on tests which led to a discussion of having to drop everything to spend every waking hour on a project.
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Tools and Complexity

Alfred Thompson wrote about CS education tools earlier today. I've also been meaning to write on the topic but from a different point of view. I do my best to keep up with the latest and greatest in the CS world both on the academic side as well as the professional one. That's not really possible, but I do my best. When I have a small project to work on I'll some times use it as an excuse to play with some recent technology.
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Ethics In CS Education

I've been meaning to write about ethics in CS education for a while. Probably since I saw this article in the NY Times but got sidetracked. I was reminded when I saw this tweet by Hadi the other day: This message is bigger than Facebook. Computer science faces an ethics crisis. That’s why @codeorg covers ethics and digital citizenship in our computer science courses. (And we’re thankful that most of the largest tech companies support us) https://t.
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