Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Looking Back on Computer Science Education in 2020

What a year it has been. I was reading my start of the year post from January. The closing was “2019 has some serious potential.” I had no idea what was to come in 2020. By the middle of March I was teaching online to students who were doing their best to learn from home. It really changes a lot for teachers and students.

So what changed? Well, there was some serious growth in online development tools. Teachers moved to or increased their usage of tools like GitHub,, and other online IDEs.  I still like the solution my school used (and continues to use now that they are mostly in-person) of a cloud based virtual machine. That the big cloud companies (I’m looking at you Microsoft and AWS)  haven’t jumped on this means they have missed a huge opportunity in my opinion.

Plans for a lot of physical computing went by the wayside as schools either didn’t have equipment to send home with students or didn’t want students sharing devices that could not be easily sterilized. I suspect emulators got a lot of use.

Along with school, conferences went virtual in 2020. It looks like that will continue into 2021 as SIGCSE will be virtual. It’s still uncertain if CSTA 2021 will be virtual or in-person.  CSTA 2020 went pretty well online. I enjoyed presenting virtually. Though to be honest it wasn’t quite as much fun as presenting in-person. I couldn’t hear people laugh at my jokes for one thing.

For myself, the biggest change of the year was retiring from the classroom at the end of June.  So I have missed most of the crazy on the fall of 2020 school year. I have been watching what my friends have been going through though. I guess I picked a good time to retire. I do miss the kids though.

1 comment:

Garth said...

I have learned what I can and cannot expect for home bound students. The level of expectation is very different than face-to-face. There also seems to be a greater variability across students. Some of students just quit without the constant motivation supplied by teachers and fellow students. A few, very few, flourish in the remote world. It is a lot to expect the needed level of self motivation from 14-18 year old's.