Teaching

Teachers Pay Teachers - part 2 - the report

Continuing from yesterday, what about the article and report on pay and free teacher resources. The report looked at three sources - one pay and two free. They came up with a number of results but I think they largely missed the point. Their bottom line conclusion was that 'Overall, reviewers rate most of the materials as “mediocre” or “probably not worth using”.' They also didn't seem to find that neither the for profit or free sources were universally better.
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Teachers Pay Teachers - part 1 - should they

There was a bit of buzz a couple of months ago when Amazon announced an online marketplace for educational resources. It wasn't a new concept - on the pay side, Teachers Pay Teachers has been around for a while and in terms of free, there are many online resources but they're not necessarily well organized or curated. What was the buzz? Should teachers be charging their peers for class materials or should they be providing them for free.
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Teacher Centric Teaching

Every few years the experts give us some new magic bullet, some new teaching fad research based pedagogical technique. Teachers are trained in it, forced to use it - frequently as a one size fits all. If we do, we're good teachers, if we don't we get the dreaded ineffective on our annual ratings. I was reminded of this when reading Mark Guzdial's recent blog post on things he got wrong in Computing Education.
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Using GitHub issues for class communicatoin

Last week I talked about using GitHub issues as a mechanism for class communication. I thought it might be helpful to follow up on it and also felt that a video would be better than text. So, here it is, 16 minutes on how you can use GitHub issues for class communication. I don't show examples of everything like @ tagging but I think it shows some of the power of using GitHub and GitHub classroom beyond just a software repo and versioning.
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What Is Good Teaching

I had a conversation with my principal during my last year at Stuy. She said "whenever the superintendent or high level education people come and ask to see our best teachers I can never bring them to Jim's class." Everyone knows that Jim is the best. I describe him as "the teacher I aspire to be." What's the problem? The problem is that Jim didn't teach the way the powers that be wanted him to teach.
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From Scripts To Freestyle

I just read this post by Bethany Crystal - Going off script. Bethany writes that while she normally essentially scripts important presentations, this time she went more off the cuff. It made me think about how I teach and a disturbing trend I've seen in CS education and education in general. I've never strictly used a script for teaching. When I started I did use very detailed lesson plans. Back then I was teaching math.
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Globals Breaks And Returns, oh my

Never use global variables Never break out of a loop These are two "best practices" that are frequently touted in early CS classes both at the high school and college level. They came up a couple of times yesterday. Once in the Facebook APCS-A teachers group and once on Alfred Thompson's blog. Alfred post was topically on global variables. Actually it was deeper than just global variables. It's also about how students progress - what they can figure out at various stages of progress and how what seems like a good idea early on the path to computer science doesn't seem so great later on.
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Not every lesson has to be magic

If you check out Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other blog sites you might get the idea that you're the worst teacher in the world. The internet abounds with people sharing tweets and posts about wonderful lessons they've just taught, witnessed or learned about in professional development. Sure, the teacher forums rife with requests for lesson ideas and resources but the shared material is always aces. It makes sense, people in the community want to share things that worked for them or things they think will work.
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PD for people who know CS

I saw a couple of tweets from Sarah Judd this morning: A lot of CS Ed PD assumes you are new to CS. I really want CS Ed PD for people like us that came from a CS background and want to understand the pedagogy for CS in particular better. Do you know of some? — Sarah Judd (@SarahEJudd) June 27, 2018 Yes! I love SIGCSE and CSTA. I just feel like.
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The Tech or the Teacher

Every morning one of the first things I do is quickly glance at my emails and other notifications. I really should wait until I'm more awake but old habits die hard. As some of you know over the past couple of years I've been making a series of videos and related post on using my editor of choice, Emacs. I've done 48 videos, have over 2500 subscribers on YouTube and people seem to find some value from the series.
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