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C'est la Z

Tag: pedagogy

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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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.
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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.
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Tools matter when teaching (and learning)

One of our teacher certification cohort members asked for some help on our Slack the other day. It was about a side project - he was learning him so Javascript. It's always very cool to see teachers exploring things that can help with their craft on their own. The whole situation reminded me about how important good tooling is and why, in spite of its popularity, javascript has some severe issues as a learning language and I'm a guy that actually likes javascript.
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Merge Over Zoom - A Hunter CS Certification Program Update

We've been talking sorting and searching in our teacher certification program and today was all about the merge sort. One of the strategies we use when teaching it in person involves sorting a deck of cards by Tom Sawyering it with the class. It's fun and it's effective but you can't do it over Zoom. What to do? We didn't want to just jump into the nuts and bolts of merge sort.
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Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program Week 2

Time for some thoughts after week 2. Since this is the inaugural edition of our program and there was no way to really know what the cohort would be like we've been adjusting on the fly. This was expected but we're finally starting to settle in. We're still finding more zoom heavy days but as we move towards the end of our data structures segment there should be fewer of those.
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