Hacktoberfest 2017

IMG_20171101_134454I had my IB students sign up for Hacktoberfest which is open to everyone in the global community!

The learning target was to learn how to participate in the global open source software development community.

  • Seen here, the first student with a shirt awarded for making four pull requests between October 1–31 in any timezone. Pull requests can be to any public repo on GitHub. Pull requests reported by maintainers as spam or that are automated will be marked as invalid and won’t count towards the shirt.

A powerful statement about the kind of learner who can be successful in software engineering!


Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More

I saw this article today and wondered why?  Why is the conclusion that students should share their expertise?  Students who perform at the top, whether because of higher self efficacy or practice are not utilized for this in every other area.  Why not stand the model on its head and PAY for an educator with both salary and time.  Research in Math shows that students who do well, continue to work hard, they do not have the time to “share”.  This is an A/V model, not CS.

Why not provide time for a CS teacher and appropriate pay?  Why not admit this isn’t the same as all other teaching?  Other educators do not have to spend the same time every week to keep up with and work on projects with this kind of depth.  When was the last time these teachers didn’t just get training, but time to do an app or a project.  Why would the kids listen to someone who doesn’t.

 

 

i-programmer.info

A survey of UK schools carried out by Microsoft and Computing at School reveals some worrying statistics that are probably more widely applicable.

The UK is working hard to introduce a new emphasis on computer science at school but, as always, the problem is getting the teachers up to speed. With computing there is the added difficulty that if a teacher is a good programmer or just a good sys admin then they can probably earn a lot more elsewhere.

quickstart

The survey revealed that (68%) of primary and secondary teachers are concerned that their pupils have a better understanding of computing than they do. Moreover the pupils reinforced this finding with 47% claiming that their teachers need more training. Again to push the point home, 41% of pupils admitted to regularly helping their teachers with technology.

On the plus side, 69% of the teachers said that they enjoyed teaching the new computing curriculum and 73% felt confident in delivering it. However, 81% still thought that they needed more training, development and learning materials.

Interestingly, only 41% of the pupils wanted to learn more computing than was already being taught in schools, and only 40% thought that their teachers knew more than they did about advanced things like coding and building websites.

This isn’t all due to the teachers being new at the task – 76% had taught computing before the new curriculum was introduced. It seems that switching from an approach that emphasised computer literacy to one that actually wants students to do more difficult things is the reason for the problem.

To try to help, Computing At School with some funding from Microsoft has created QuickStart computing a training toolkit.

quickstart2

Last week pupils and teachers were invited to the Microsoft Showcase Classroom in London for a Computing At School workshop ahead of the launch of QuickStart Computing

The real problem is that people who know about computing aren’t generally lured into teaching. This contrasts with other subjects where graduates find it more difficult to get jobs that pay as well. Getting teachers who know more about computers than their pupils seems to be a tough thing to do. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that pupils do know more and find ways of enabling and encouraging them to share their expertise.

Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

From Slashdot
AP Computer Science is taught in just 10% of our high schools,” lamented The White House last December as President Obama kicked off CSEdWeek. “China teaches all of its students one year of computer science.” And the U.S. Dept. of Education has made the AP CS exam its Poster Child for inequity in education (citing a viral-but-misinterpreted study). But ignored in all the hand-wringing over low AP CS enrollment is one huge barrier to the goal of AP-CS-for-all: College Board materials indicate that the average 11th grader’s combined PSAT/NMSQT score of 96 in reading and math gives him/her only a 20%-30% probability of getting a score of ‘3’ on the AP CS exam (a score ‘4’ or ‘5’ may be required for college credit). The College Board suggests schools tap a pool of students with a “60-100% likelihood of scoring 3 or higher”, so it’s probably no surprise that CS teachers are advised to turn to the College Board’s AP Potential tool to identify students who are likely to succeed (sample Student Detail for an “average” kid) and send their parents recruitment letters — Georgia Tech even offers some gender-specific examples — to help fill class rosters.

Building a More Modern Course

I came across this article Building An App In 45 Minutes With Meteor By Sacha Greif and I can’t help but wonder about using it in a class this year.  Why not?  Indeed. 

Please read the original post, much better conversation, links, serendipitous continuity.  I have captured the article below as I want to use it in class and you know how things tend to disappear just when you want them online.  Silly editors, school takes place on a longer timeline.

Continue reading “Building a More Modern Course” »