Teaching

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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No Magic Bullets - Discovery Learning

The most recent NYC CSTA chapter meeting was "How do I assess CS?" I wanted to go but it's been such a crazy month I was just too wiped out. Fortunately, the meetup was recorded. I was able to watch the first half this morning while working out on my stationary trainer which leads me to today's rare Saturday morning blog post. The meetup consisted of two panels. The first was made up of K12 teachers who taught CS.
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Why Strong K12 Teacher Certification is Important

About a week ago New York State's new regulation creating a K12 CS teacher certification went live. Just the other day I was honored to be interviewed by Matt Flamm of Crain's New York in a follow up piece about it. Having K12 CS teacher certification is big and having quality programs that lead to certification is HUGE. In my view, it's a game changer. Let's Focus on high school, my wheelhouse.
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Refactoring

One of my laments on teaching computer science is that students are rarely taught and given the chance to develop good programming practices. There's usually not enough time. Beginners work on small "toys" which don't lend themselves to good software development practices and later on, there's so much other material like algorithms, data structures etc. to teach and learn that programming practices usually amount to lines like: "Make sure to comment your code.
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Sigcse2018 Bootstrapworld on Creativity in CS classes

I really didn't know what to expect at the Creativity, Customization, and Ownership: Game Design in Bootstrap: Algebra session. I've been a big fan of Bootstrep for years and looking at the authors, Emmanuel Schanzer's been a freind forever. I've never met Shriram Krishnamurthi in person but am looking forward to it. We've traded emails and blog comments. I'd like to consider him a friend and I certainly respect him and his work even though we frequently disagree around the edges.
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Tools can shape how we think

I've been having fun with this years Advent of Code competition. So far, I've been able to keep up but with I expect that to change in another couple of days since I'll be traveling for the weekend. After solving a problem, I like looking over some of the other solutions on the Advent of Code subreddit. Even with similar agorithmic solutions there's a decent amount of variation in the actual code and solutions in different languages can look radically different.
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Thoughts On A Hackathon

Yesterday I was one of the judges at StuyHacks. A one day hackathon at Stuyvesant run by and organized by the students. I don't have attendee stats but there were kids from all over the city and at least one team from New Jersey. The youngest student that I met was in sixth grade and the oldest were high school seniors. The judging was at the end but I decided to stop by earlier to see how the hackers were doing.
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