Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

September, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Florida Girls Get IT

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    The latest edition of the CSTA Voice (Yes, I read it cover to cover every time it comes in and so should you if you are a high school computer science teacher - or teach CS to younger grades) included a link to a program called Girls Get Information Technology that is being run in Florida.

    Their vision:

    To create a network in Florida that offers girls and young women exciting opportunities to connect and explore the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math that lead to rewarding careers and better their lives.

    For teachers they  have games and activities (broken down by grades 6-8 and 9-12) They have a set of resources for parents. There is a really long list of resources for girls as well. And of course as you would expect there are games and activities for girls. But you know, some boys may benefit from all this as well. Just don't tell anyone. :-)

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Everything you ever wanted to know about pairs programming for the classroom

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    I'm not a pairs programming expert but it is something that looks very interesting. I found a list of actual research papers done by actual researchers though and I'm starting to dig in. There is also a video about pairs programming at this site. All of these papers are about using pairs programming to teach. Some are at the college level but some are at the middle school level. Middle school is an age group I am very interested in.

    High schools are running out of room for electives these days. Pressure to teach to high stakes exit exams, to say nothing of high stakes entrance exams for college (SAT & ACT plus AP exams), are squeezing out anything that doesn't fit the preconceived idea of what college prep should be mean that CS as well as art and music are not fitting into schedules. Plus of course students are deciding much younger whether or not they are going to go onto college. So middle school is looking like an area where we need to start teaching the real problem solving skills that computer science can help with. Pairs programming looks like a way that might work. It has the added benefit of teaching students how to work together. That is an important life skill not matter what field one goes into.

    Are you teaching computer science or related subjects at a middle school (or earlier)? If so I'd love to hear from you. What is working? What is not working? And is there any way I can help you?

    [BTW the pointer to this pairs programming information (research by Linda Werner, PhD and Jill Denner, PhD) was something I found in the latest edition of the CSTA Voice - the newsletter of the Computer Science Teacher's Association. If you are a Computer Science teacher and didn't get a copy of your own jump to the CSTA web site and join up. Do it today!]

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Computer Science Unplugged Road Show

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    Tim Bell who is part of the Computer Science Unplugged program (books and materials) is currently in the US on a speaking tour. I wish I'd found out soon enough that I could have caught up with him in near by Brunswick Maine or Boston Massachusetts. But there are more stops coming on his tour so you may find that he'll be somewhere near where you can go. I really like this idea of teaching computer science concepts without using a computer. It really helps to expan the view of computer science beyond just computer programming.

    [BTW the pointer to Tim Bell's tour was something I found in the latest edition of the CSTA Voice - the newsletter of the Computer Science Teacher's Association. If you are a Computer Science teacher and didn't get a copy of your own jump to the CSTA web site and join up. Do it today!]

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