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  • Blog Post: My IT Department Will Not Let Me

    Today on Facebook Gary Stager posted a rant of a status update: Here's a novel idea. Don't send teachers to computing PD with laptops on which they are banned from installing software. Teachers are neither imbeciles or felons and they do not work for the IT staff. The IT staff works for the...
  • Blog Post: There Is More To Computing Than Computer Science

    Last week Doug Peterson pointed me to an article called “ Let’s not call it computer science if we really mean computer programming .” My initial reaction was “ Let’s not call it computer programming if we really mean software engineering .”  Really the author was talking more about the difference...
  • Blog Post: Please Don’t Learn To Code

    I am a late convert to the idea of computer science education for everyone. Or pretty close to everyone. A lot of people still don’t see it as valuable for more than a few people with some sort of natural predisposition for programming. I think there are many reasons for this. One is that they equate...
  • Blog Post: Computer Science Across the Curriculum

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Seung Yu, the principal of the new Academy for Software Engineering , a new software/computer science focused school opening in New York City this fall. We had a great discussion about the school, its goals and how Microsoft might work with them. It’s...
  • Blog Post: Why College?

    Yesterday Edwin Guarin and I represented Microsoft at the formal opening of a computer lab at the Clark Elementary and Middle school in Hartford CT. The lab was donated by Ray Allen (UConn and Boston Celtics basketball star) and his Ray of Hope Foundation . Microsoft was pleased to donate software to...
  • Blog Post: No Room in the Inn–I Mean Schedule

    I spent yesterday at Stevens Institute of Technology, an outstanding university across the river from New York City. The occasion was a high school computer science workshop for  faculty and students. While the students were getting demonstrations on some of the cool technology that Stevens faculty...
  • Blog Post: Pick The Software First

    Last week an email passed though my inbox that said something like “ my district is buying the latest shiny new computing gadget. What software should I get to teach computer science on it?” OK now I am a software guy and biased towards software but this question seems all wrong to me. I’ve...
  • Blog Post: Preaching to the STEM Choir

    This week I received an announcement about yet another “STEM Summit.” My first reaction was - are these STEM Summits just “preaching to the choir?” Now as a preacher’s kid the term “preaching to the choir” has real meaning to me. On one hand it means talking to the already converted – those who already...
  • Blog Post: How Many Jobs Are There For Poets

    I was listening to an Internet stream of Gary Stager presenting a keynote at an education conference in Iowa the other day. The technology for this amazes me but the opportunity it provides is even more impressive. In any case, during his talk he presented a conversation that went something like this...
  • Blog Post: Computer Crackers are Evil

    Recently a friend of mine, Vicki Davis, received a pre-publication copy of the new book by Kevin Mitnick the famous cracker. Vicki wrote here review of the book at Ghost in the Wires: Kevin Mitnick's memoir . She found the book disturbing.  BTW I refuse to call him a hacker because that is in many...
  • Blog Post: Problem Solving For All Times

    I am not a carpenter. I know carpenters. One of my friends and co-workers is a well-trained restoration carpenter. The work he has done in his own house is to drool over. That’s not me. I am a bit of a do it yourself sort of person who is not afraid to try things. Or to read the instructions! So I take...
  • Blog Post: The Internet is the Answer for School Reform–Or Not

    A friend of mine sent me links (via Slashdot which I occasionally read for the articles myself) that he thought were an interesting contrast. The Internet Generation Prefers the Real World - Which explains that today’s students are not the Digital natives that many seem to think they are. Bill Gates...
  • Blog Post: Be Careful What You Wish For

    Mark Guzdial had a guest post by Eric Roberts of Stanford today titled - Guest Post: Eric Roberts on the Dangers of Escalating Enrollments which really got me thinking. While the focus of the post was increasing CS enrollment at Stanford and some other universities it got me thinking about high school...
  • Blog Post: Could Taking A Computer Science Course Change Your Life?

    Well it did mine. And Mark Guzdial ha a post last week in which he told two stories of young women taking his Media Computation course at Georgia Tech and how it changed the direction of their careers. (Read Impact of CS on female non-majors: Beyond a pipeline model ) While in my case,a poor confused...
  • Blog Post: Computing Education and Education Reform

    One of my frustrations these days is that with all the talk of education reform there is not much talk about computing education in that mix. It is as if people are willing to sacrifice computing for other changes. Of course we see people talking about dropping the arts and music from the curriculum...
  • Blog Post: Are Programming Languages Really Languages

    Every so often someone suggests, sometimes in jest and some times in all seriousness, that programming languages “count” as a language for meeting graduation or degree requirements. According to Ian Bogost, who is not happy about it, some schools are actually doing this and others are close...
  • Blog Post: Making the Case for Becoming a Computer Science Teacher

    Mark Guzdial asks the question What’s the argument for becoming a computer science teacher? on his blog. It’s a good question. While as a former computer science teacher I may appear to be a strange one to make the case but I’m going to try. Being a computer science teacher is a great job. Really being...
  • Blog Post: Kindergarten Computer Science

    Well actually Karen North , an energetic elementary school computer science teacher and a friend of mine, has twice testified before the Texas State Board of Education about the need for more real computer science in grades K-5 (Links to her testimony from her blog at Programming in Elementary School...
  • Blog Post: Why Experience Matters

    A recent Dilbert cartoon had a man saying “ I know what I am talking about. I have thirty years in this industry.” Asok the intern asks “ How does that help you understand technology that is six months old in a youth-oriented culture?” OK everyone chuckle now – I’ll wait. OK now we know why Asok is still...
  • Blog Post: Not being able to program a computer is like …

    I confess to an almost addictive love for a good analogy to explain various ideas. One analogy people use is that they can use a car without understanding how it really works do they can use a computer without understanding how it really works let alone how to program. I think that is wrong. It’s a false...
  • Blog Post: Make Haste Slowly

    On Monday I posted a link to An idiots guide to really bad programming . It is an interesting list but as I read though it I realized that most of what is lists are ways people take shortcuts. They are trying to do things quickly to save time. Most of these things do not save time in the long run. This...
  • Blog Post: Ready, Fire, Aim is not the way to buy computers

    I have to admit that from time to time I like to toss an observation or a question out on Twitter and see what sort of response I get. last night I noticed that a teacher was looking for software to teach computer science on Macs. This struck me as odd. After all for most of my 35 years in the computer...
  • Blog Post: In the land of the blind …

    My wife and I were talking about students and technology today. There is this common perception that kids today are great with technology. “Digital Natives” they are called. We hear things like “ There's no doubt that the latest generation of students has grown up with technology, understands it, and...
  • Blog Post: Have To Vs. Get To

    Some years ago my father, a Methodist minister, was talking to a Catholic priest friend of his. My Dad said “You have to say Mass every day?” The priest replied “No, I get to say Mass every day.” For the priest, quite reasonably, saying Mass was an honor, a privilege, something he felt lucky to be able...
  • Blog Post: Are We Doing It Right?

    I’ve spent the last week on vacation. A vacation from the Internet as much as from work. As I write this it is 6 days since I have checked email, opened a web browser, Twittered a message to Twitter or had any other sort of Internet activity*. It’s been a bit of a relief. Oh sure I am somewhat dreading...
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