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C'est la Z

Tag: pedagogy

Yes, deadlines do matter

I've been seeing a few threads lately talking about the virtues of allowing students to hand in assignments late. Not just late but pretty much whenever they want. This attitude seems to be related with things like mastery or specification grading, which I believe in but it's not the same thing. The threads start with someone saying that assignments shouldn't have deadlines or some variant and the thread proceeds with a bunch of people chiming in as to why a teacher who actually enforces deadlines is an inhuman monster.
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A Memorable Lesson (at least for one student)

Back to calling an audible. Around seven years ago I was visiting with some former students at Google in Mountain View. One of them from way back in the late 90s, Pawel, out of the blue said there was one lesson I taught that was particularly memorable. Not memorable in the "that was fun" way like maybe my Halloween adventures but memorable in that he felt he got a lot more out of it than a normal lesson.
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Should every assignment be open ended?

This post by my friend Alfred caught my eye yesterday. It's a good post - some good examples of inserting student creativity even into small intro level assignments. While I like the post and agree with the sentiment of open ended, student driven projects, I had to take issue with the lead quote Alfred used: “If you assign a project and get back 30 of the same thing, that’s not a project, that is a recipe.
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Why it takes so long to become a better teacher

I've written about how long it takes to become a master teacher and that even after 9 or 10 years most teachers are really just advanced beginners. A big reason for that is our long feedback loop. You do something and you can't do it again for a year. I was listening to a podcast on my morning run by the Hudson River and something came up about differences between quantities of items.
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Hunter College CS Teacher Certification Summer 2021

Last Friday concluded the summer portion of Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program. It was an intense month. All day every day from June 28th through July 30. On the one hand between burnout and covid fatigue it was a tough month and I'm dealing with some much needed recovery this week. On the other hand, working with JonAlf, Topher, new team member Genady along with around 25 amazing teachers and teacher candidates made it a highlight of the year.
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Designated Slacker

Our teacher certification program is in full swing. All day every day through the end of the month. We finished off the first course about a week ago and are currently covering data structures and methods - teaching methods that is. All day every day is pretty intense and doing it on Zoom doesn't help so we try to change things up. As with many Zoom based classes, we make use of breakout rooms for small group work.
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Teaching Styles

My friend Emmanuel lamented over on Facebook on "Learning Styles," or more specifically on how it's still given credence. We all chimed in in agreement but not an hour later I saw a Twitter thread where education thought leaders extolled the virtues of Learning Styles all over again. I pointed out that it's a great example as to why so many teachers scoff at "the research" and "research backed practices.
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Quick Sort over Zoom

I haven't been blogging much this year. Not sure why - probably pandemic fatigue. It's also affected my blog reading - more scanning, less deep reading. I've also been trying to spend mode time off screen learning how to paint (with,let's say mixed results :-) ) leaving less time and energy to blog. Hopefully I'll pick up on both ends as more people get vaccinated and we can get to a more normal life.
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Less Engagement For More

I think many of us are finding student engagement to be one of the more challenging aspects of remote teaching. I sure am. In person it's much easier to have in class discussions. You can read faces and body language, move around the room, encourage cross discussion and, well, you know, teach in the usual sense. Much harder on Zoom. The default behavior isn't a room of people all together but rather a bunch of individual teacher student connections.
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Quarter Century Courses

I was talking in our Curriculum Development class last week about the courses I've created over the years. From the first computer graphics course to the current teacher education courses. JonAlf pointed out that we missed an "important" occasion last spring - the twenty fifth offering of my computer graphics class at Stuy. I haven't taught it in almost 10 years but it's been running continuously for a quarter century since it first ran back in the mid 90s.
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