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C'est la Z

Tag: teaching

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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Deadlines And Commitments

A few days ago I was part of a Twitter discussion on assignment deadlines. I noticed a tweet: Not sure who needs to hear this, but stop taking off points for late assignments. It’s not helping students learn responsibility, and it’s not making your job easier. It’s only making your class inequitable. 💯 — Sydney Jensen (@sydneycjensen) September 26, 2020 I disagreed. I wasn't necessarily against floating or open deadlines without deductions but rather, they made my life more difficult and weren't in the best interest of my students.
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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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Multiple Cameras For Remote Teaching

We used Zoom for remote classes over the summer but at this point, I've also used Coding Rooms, Big Blue Button, and Google meet as well. They each have their own strong points and failings but all are limited in terms of sharing multiple cameras and screen components. All will let you share your camera or share your screen and when you share you screen you can either share it all or a single window.
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Starting the new semester

Thursday was the first day of the new semester. The big change was that my classes were done remotely but there were also some other differences. Other changes were that I only met one of my two CS classes on Thursday. That's my CS0. I'm also teaching a recitation for CS1 which only meets once a week. I'll see those students as well as my CS0 students for a second time on Monday.
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Preparing CS Teachers - index post

Since we ended up with an eight post postmortem on our CS Teaching Certificate summer intensive I thought I'd add add an index page. Here are links to each post: Introduction - program overview On pedagogy - CS teaching methods Topics in Computer Science Deciding on which methods to teach Commentary on selected CS topics Tools for remote instruction Building a community of CS teachers The good, the bad, and what's next I also wrote a few posts as the summer intensive was running: Week 1 Week 2 An unplugged activity We start up again in a couple of weeks so look for more updates on the program then.
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Preparing CS Teachers - the good, the bad, and what's next.

Looking back, what worked and what didn't? Overall, things went very well. We were extremely happy with the cohort's growth and performance and based on feedback received they were happy with the program so far. I'll also say that while they're not finished yet, I can honestly say that every one of them would be a boon to any school in the city in need of a CS teacher (but they're not available since they're all already teaching CS at their respective schools :-)).
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Preparing CS Teachers - building a community

What so many non-teachers just don't get is culture and community can be so much more powerful than curriculum. The problem is, culture and community are harder to create, curate, and maintain and the results don't always show up on standardized tests. You can't force community or culture in a classroom but you can try your best to foster it. It's ultimately up to the class as a whole.
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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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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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