Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Join the Online #CSed Conversations

At it’s best, social computing is a conversation that moves in a positive direction. The more people who participate the better the conversation and the more benefit for everyone involved. For computer science teachers, who are often alone in their school. opening and participating in online conversation can be a real benefit. These conversations can cross boundaries of time, space, and even online environments.

A recent example. Garth Flint wrote an end of year post (Last Day of School And Done with Java) that I lead to a post of my own. (How Well Can You Code the Projects You Assign Students?) Mike Zamansky wrote a follow up post of his own. (Do It First ) All of these posts were also discussed in Facebook and Twitter. And of course there are comments left on the various posts. So there are multiple ways to participate in the conversation.

No one has to participate in all the conversations or all online tools/communities to benefit though. Things, especially good ideas, tend to propagate across paths. That’s how networks work after all. There are enough people who act as transmission nodes that the best knowledge and the best ideas tend to move around pretty widely. Everyone benefits from this. People who lurk (read and don’t respond) learn a lot which is an almost invisible benefit. At least it is usually invisible to the people who are writing but it is probably pretty visible to the students whose teachers take what they learn and use it to better their own practice.

Still I wish more people took an active part in the conversation. Be it a comment on a blog or Facebooks post. A tweet with a link and a comments.Tweets in a Twitter chat.  Or an original blog post of their own. (I REALLY wish more CS teachers blogged about what they are doing.) How ever people participate we all benefit.

Computer science educators tend to be a very supportive community. Jump in with both feet.


Garth said...

Another big one for me is the Microsoft Computer Science Teachers Network that you and I are both part of. (https://www.yammer.com/microsoftteachers/#/threads/company?type=general&view=all) To be actually able to talk to the developers of some of the software I teach with is huge. I am totally amazed at how small the community is that uses this site. It should be one of the biggest in the nation. To actually chat with Microsoft education folks seems like an unreal opportunity.

Mike Zamansky said...

Hate the fact that some of the communities are closed or semi-closed. I had no idea about the MS CS Teachers Network and wouldn't be eligible anyway, Facebook is a silo and so are the few mailing lists I'm aware.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for all of these communities but really prefer the openness and discoverability of things like blogs and public repos.

Garth said...

Mike, not sure there is an eligibility. More a case of interest. The new Visual Studio Code is worth looking at and these are the people at the ground level. What they want to develop could have a big effect on 5-12 CS.