Monday, May 11, 2015

Interesting Links 11 May 2015

Last week was special. Teacher Appreciation week at many schools. International Star Wars Day (May the Fourth). And of course the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam was taken by thousands of students around the US. I hear it was a hard one. Even having taught APCS in the past and been programming for decades I’m glad I don’t have to take it myself. Tests are scary.

Other than that I picked up some links and even backed a couple of Kickstarters.

I backed CHIP - The World's First Nine Dollar Computer for example. It has plenty of funding so it will happen. I’m not sure just how useful it will really be and I feel like I am jumping on a bandwagon of hype to some extent. But I want to see what it can do so I’m in.

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I also backed Linkitz: Wearable, Code-able Toys for Girls This one is in the early stages and still needs a lot of money but I really like the ideas behind it. This one may be more useful in the long run than the $9 computer.

Linkitz is a new way for girls to explore technology and coding. It's a set of electronic components, or links, that snap together in different combinations to make unique, fun, wearable toys. With a set of links, girls can create and customize their own wearables!

Learning takes time, hype doesn't is a critical (and fair) look at summer and after school programs in in computing written by Mike @Zamansky Some of them are more hype than learning.

High school students don’t use email like adults to. In fact they seldom use it at all. Once they get into the world of business that will change for many of them. Jeff Utecht asks Where do we teach email? I think that is a good question and we have to have an answer.

Computer industry companies are interested in doing more to support CS education. Microsoft started the TEALS program to put engineers in classrooms. Google is going a step in this direction as Google embeds engineers as professors  This article suggests educators ask themselves questions about what and how they teach. I’m still thinking about this one.

A new product I read about this week was Bitsbox - Monthly Code Projects for Kids. It looks like they send, via subscription, information about various coding projects that students can then create online. Probably not a thing for in-school but maybe for home schoolers? Anyone out there have any experience with Bitsbox?

I continue to enjoy and learn from CS Teaching Tips. I follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also see tips in a box on the right side of my blog if you are reading it on a web browser.

One recent tip was “Teach while loops before for loops so that for loops can be explained as a specific case of a while loop.“ I actually changed how I do things after reading this one a while back. 

The Invent To Learn Guide to Block Programming is a good review by @garystager. He talks about many, though not all, of the examples at my post on Programming With Blocks

On the CSTA Blog recently -- Public-Private Partnerships in Computer Science Education A guest post by Lorilyn Owens, Director, Oracle Academy North America 

Lastly an interesting quote from the late Steve Jobs.

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