It’s no secret that one of the things I think is most valuable about teachers blogging is that they can share ideas for what works in the classroom. Good teachers are always either looking for or struggling to come up with projects that teach important concepts in interesting and engaging ways. Sometimes it is the little thing and sometimes the big things. Today I came up with two prime examples in my RSS reader.
Ben Chun takes on a simple but important concept in languages like Java and C# where strings are immutable and where the way we compare strings is not always obvious to students. The post is called Java’s == versus .equals() and it shows some code that can be used to discover how some compilers optimize constants and why you really need to use .equals rather than == to compare strings. Good stuff.
Leigh Ann Sudol takes on a couple of big thoughts in her post titled Why programming CAN be an Introduction to Computer Science. Step one is that she explains that in computer science we can and should take some lessons from other subjects about what a first course actually should be. In specific it should be more than programming and offer students a view into the wider areas of computer science. She follows up with a project she is using that uses loops and the familiar game of Blackjack to introduce machine learning and artificial intelligence. She has a link to a full description of the project as well as a sample coded solution. She promises that it will be in the CSTA curriculum repository soon as well.
Kudos to these fine teachers. I hope over time more and more teachers in many areas find the time to share likewise.
Thanks for the mention... when I was teaching math, I found that blogging about the topics I was trying to teach and the challenges we faced was a great way to reflect on what I was doing every day. And that reflection turned into a conversation, which is what I hope to find now that I teach computer science. This subject in particular can be a lonely one in high schools, where there's rarely more than one computer science teacher at a given school site.