Monday, January 26, 2015

Interesting Links 26 January 2015

A new semester starts for me today. Since I only teach semester courses that means a whole new group of students to meet and teach. I have spent much of the weekend retooling my plan for the semester based on what I learned last semester. My goal is always to teach each new group of students better than I taught the last group. Wish me luck!

Guest speakers are often hard to arrange but can add a lot to student experience and learning. Over the weekend I learn about a program to provide Guest Speakers in Computer Science via Skype. This looks pretty interesting to me.

Ontario CS and Computer Tech teachers, don't forget to register for the ACSE Conference on Feb 28! Looks like a great conference. If it were just a little bit closer I think I would try to attend myself.

I thought this was interesting. Retiring Python as a Teaching Language a number of teachers have pointed out that there are tools for solving all the “problems” with Python that this brings up. I link to it manly to show the thinking that goes behind decisions on languages. And as a suggestion to look more than superficially for answers.

I always talk about what makes a good password with students. Having an updated list of really bad and yet still common passwords hanging on my bulletin board starts a lot of conversations. SO this article “123456” Maintains the Top Spot on SplashData’s Annual “Worst Passwords” List means my board gets updated today.

My big post last week was: Robots For Teaching Programming What am I missing? Are you using something not on my list? Please let me know.


Mike Zamansky said...

On the "Retiring Python" piece I think the bigger issue is non teachers all think they know how to teach (and it seems to me that the author isn't an educator).

This is a problem in CS education but also a HUGE problem w/r to education policy.

Garth said...

The "Retiring Python" can really get the "best teaching language" discussion going. I have to agree with all the observations made by the author. But I do not think the goal of teaching with Python was to cover all the uses of every programming language ever invented. It is a nice simple language for teaching the basics. Want a button interface program? Use VB. Want to write an Android or iPhone/iPad game? Use Corona or Codea. Want a simple turtle graphics language? Small Basic is great. Focusing a programming course on one language almost guarantees it will be the wrong language for what some kid wants to do. A teacher that is really good at a particular language can usually force it to do almost anything. Trying to do this however take expertise most teachers will not have. I have kids coming in all the time with ideas about a program they want to write. I do not say "here is the language I know, we have to write it in that". I say "let’s look at the program and find a language we can learn quickly enough that is best suited for this kind of task". A teacher that is familiar with only one language has put themselves in a corner.

Mr. M said...

Yeah, that article definitely 'spices things up', but, I have to say that I disagree with its conclusions. Yes, there is something to be said for Javascript. I have tried lots of ways to introduce kids to hand coding (javascript, Java, Flash, Python), and Python has been the most successful for keeping kids interested.