Wednesday, May 31, 2017

On Becoming a Better Computer Science Teacher

Andy Ko, Associate Professor at the University of Washington iSchool and Chief Scientist & Co-Founder @answerdash has posted a blog and slide presentation from a talk he gave called How to be a great (CS) teacher. It’s the best thing I have read on the topic is quite a while. If ever. The article is very good but I recommend you read and save to re-read the slide presentation.

I wouldn’t say that all or even most of the ideas in it are new to me but they are explained very clearly and backed up with references. That is especially cool in that we often adopt ideas without real research behind them. Research is good.

Over the years I have learned a lot from great teachers. Many years ago Carnegie Mellon ran summer workshops for CS teachers where one of the goals was to help us learn how to teach to a more diverse (i.e.. female students and other non traditional) student body. The 6APT program was a game changer for me.

When I was at Microsoft I was able to travel and visit a lot of teachers around the US. And attend a lot of great conferences (SIGCSE, CSTA, and more) Since I returned to the classroom I have tried to adapt many of the things I learned in those years to my teaching practice.

This summer as I put my plans together for next year the ideas in Andy Ko’s work will be a regular reference as I look to how I can improve next year. Always be learning.

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