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  • Blog Post: Don’t Panic

    The other day I was looking through the analytics for this blog to see what sort of searches people were doing that let them here. Mostly I was seeing things I expected to see but one stuck out. Someone had searched for the string “ i am scared of programming .” I suspect that the searcher was not afraid...
  • Blog Post: Recursion First

    I’ve long had mixed feelings about recursion . (I’ve written about recursion several times in this blog.) In one post, Recursion Early, Recursion Late , I wrote about the suggestion that recursion be dropped from a first programming or computer science course. In another post I asked if it...
  • Blog Post: So you want to teach computer science?

    A number of years ago after being laid off from a job developing software I went into teaching. I taught a year in a pair of elementary schools and then spent 8 years teaching high school computer science. It was awesome. One day I want to get back into the classroom full-time. Over the years I have...
  • Blog Post: Learning Should Be Fun

    Years ago I was sitting the the front of church and via a fluke of acoustics I heard a little girl in the back of the church tell someone “Stop laughing! It’s Sunday!” Apparently she thought that because Sunday, especially at church, was serious business it should not be fun or happy. Not quite my view...
  • Blog Post: Fun is to Entertainment as Education is to Training

    How often have you heard a teacher say something to the effect that their job is not to entertain? My guess is pretty often. I know I have heard it a lot. Teachers jobs are to educate. What bothers me though is that learning should be fun! I just love to learn. That is why I read, why I attend conferences...
  • Blog Post: Round 1 Finalists for 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum

    The big news for me yesterday was at Finalists Announced for Round 1 of the Microsoft Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum . I attended this event as a judge last year and learned an incredible amount from these amazing teachers. This first round announced 44 teachers representing 32 projects from across...
  • Blog Post: Better Learning Through Movement

    And fun as well. Recently a co-worker sent me a link to some videos that were done by the Houston Independent School District about the pilot program they are running in several elementary schools. These schools are using video games involving the Kinect Sensor to help teach. And not just physical education...
  • Blog Post: Plagiarism v. Learning

    The SIGCSE mailing list has been having a very active discussion of plagiarism in computer science classes of late. These discussions seem to recur with disappointing regularity. If not in the SIGCSE list they show up on the APCS mailing list. These discussions tend to follow some very predictable paths...
  • Blog Post: How Young Can/Should You Start Teaching Programming?

    Or perhaps how young should you try? And to top if off, why do you want to start them so young in the first place? I received the following from a teacher friend of mine the other day and it has had me thinking ever since. Can you please tell me why anyone thinks it is a good idea for 6th grades...
  • Blog Post: Textbooks–The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

    I was reading through a couple of blog posts by Garth Flint earlier today. I’ve been using some of my vacation time to catch up on blog reading and had put off reading some of Garth’s posts until I had time to do it right. Garth is one of those people who uses his blog for self examination and the working...
  • Blog Post: Always Mount A Scratch Monkey

    Do today’s students know what a scratch disk or a scratch tape it? Most of them probably do not. Back in the early days of computers when magnetic tape was in wide use and hard drives had removable disks people used to actually try to fix computers rather than replace them. One tool that was used was...
  • Blog Post: Teaching, Learning and the Job Interview

    I was reading a blog post by a college professor the other day ( Preparing CS students for programming interviews from day one ) that starts off talking about how interviews for programming jobs are run. Typically one is asked to write some code on a white board to do something like add or remove items...
  • Blog Post: High School Computing Is Boring

    Periodically I check the list of searches that lead people to this blog. And there are a lot of different items. I’m always surprised at how many people are searching on my name for example. But most of the searches are what you might expect – looking for resources on the topics I blog about...
  • Blog Post: How not to teach programming

    Through the wonders of DZone I came across a blog post called Don't teach like you code . The target audience seems to be professional coders who are teaching beginners. It’s always interesting to read articles like this and part of that is to understand the perceptions that people have about teaching...
  • Blog Post: Computer Science Teacher Education

    Mark Guzdial makes a strong case that the Best hope for CS Teacher Education is in-service, not pre-service . Basically there is not enough demand for strong pre-service CS teacher education because there are not enough people in education programs who have as a goal teaching CS as their main topic....
  • Blog Post: Does learning have to stop when the last bell rings?

    We have this tendency to think that learning at school takes place only between the opening and closing bells of the “regular school day.” Oh we know about after school programs but there is a tendency to think of them as babysitting at worst and remediation at best. Occasionally we have the good sense...
  • Blog Post: TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools)

    Today’s post is a guest post by Kevin Wang who has started a program at Microsoft to put engineers and software professionals in the classroom on a part time teachers in a team teaching model in some Seattle area high schools. I think has great potential for helping schools around the country....
  • Blog Post: Characteristics of a Good Programming Project

    Hélène Martin had a pair of great posts last week  (links below) about what makes a good programming project which I linked to from my links post. Hélène asked in the comments what my idea of a good programing project was. It’s a fair question. Developing projects is one of the hardest things teachers...
  • Blog Post: Do We Need A New Teaching Programming Language

    I saw some discussions lately about the need or lack of need for new programming languages. In once case especially for teaching programming. In general I think that new programming languages are a good idea. From time to time it is good to start fresh and incorporate the latest ideas in a language that...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links 8 November 2010

    Well we are really and truly into November now. Over the weekend we went back to Eastern Standard time in New Hampshire. The best thing about that is that for a little while it is easier for me to get up earlier. Does the same effect work with students? Not sure. I have a bunch of links for teachers...
  • Blog Post: Teaching real-world programming

    The title of this post is borrowed from an article at the MIT (original article at Teaching real-world programming ) about a programming course at MIT that uses professional software developers to help mentor students. The professionals perform what amounts to a code review of student code. The review...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Free Tools for Teachers

    Every so often I do a talk on various free software tools that Microsoft has available for teachers. The other day I did one such talk at the Mass CUE conference. In preparation I made a handout that listed the resources I talked about and then a bunch more. I thought that this might be a good time to...
  • Blog Post: What are you using?

    I blog about a lot of resources here and I’m curious about what sorts of things teachers are finding useful. In some ways I am shooting arrows in the air with no idea where they come down. In other words, what things are people finding useful? What courses and age groups are people using the things...
  • Blog Post: Small Basic Curriculum

    Small Basic is, in my opinion, one of the really cool platforms for introducing programming to younger students. A simple IDE, a simple subset of BASIC, and built in turtle graphics all resonate with me. And a number of teachers around the world seem to agree. One thing we have been lacking though was...
  • Blog Post: Pex for Fun

    Can you read code in C#, F# or Visual Basic? Do you like programming puzzles we (well the Pex Team , part of the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research ) has a site for you. Pex  for Fun is  a web site with programming puzzles in those three languages. The idea...
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