CS Educator Interview: Laura Blankenship [FORWARD]

http://blog.acthompson.net/2013/07/cs-educator-interview-laura-blankenship.html

I just read this interview with Alfred Thompson and Laura Blankenship and you should too if you’re interested in starting a Computer Science curriculum as I aspire to do. I comment on some of the questions that were asked in this interview in an attempt to analyze my current state of teaching and where I need to go. Additionally, I included a few resources I have picked up that will be useful when creating this Computer Science curriculum.

#1-HOW DID YOU GET STARTED TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE? [COMMENT]
It is interesting to see how someone started teaching CS. Nowadays we all dabble in technology in some way. Why not dabble in a course dedicated to teaching computer science? I can see that this is the next direction I should follow because I am itching to challenge these creative-minded students I come across and my current content, while challenging with my administered course-load, will not allow the students to reach their maximum potential if action isn’t taken soon.

Not to be forgotten, teaching yourself other languages and information in an attempt to re-teach them is a learning process in its own. Furthermore, this keeps you close to what a student may feel when learning the subject content. Remember when you learned this topic? What was the difficulty level? Why? What did you do to overcome the challenge? Share these sentiments with the students when they have difficulty.

#3-WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? PROJECT BASED LEARNING? FLIPPED CLASSROOM? IN SHORT, WHAT MAKES YOUR CS PROGRAM “YOUR CS PROGRAM?” [COMMENT]
I am the same type of teacher that Laura is, project-based with flipped learning at times. I am this way because I believe students learn by doing via projects. Additionally, flipping your classroom inspires creativity, student led learning, and an opportunity for the entire class to learn from each other.

#5-WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPORT (OR LACK OF SUPPORT) LIKE AT YOUR SCHOOL? [COMMENT]
It’s important to have support from your administration for any move, especially curriculum-based. Laura said she has “great support” and I wish for the same at my school. I expect to get it because having a CS program is a win-win for all parties. I will also face scheduling challenges but with passion comes results.

#6-HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS FOR YOUR PROGRAM? FOR YOUR STUDENTS? [COMMENT]
Laura said the quantity of students in her classes are one of the ways she would measure success. I can see that, especially if students are in her interested in CS beyond any mandatory classes. Like Laura, I also plan to act as a “cheerleader” for students in their interest of CS and other computer-related fields. I think I would measure success for my program by the amount of students wanting to go into the field of CS.

Resources:
http://www.exploringcs.org/

http://www.exploringcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ExploringComputerScience-v5.0.pdf

http://www.collegeboard.com/html/computerscience/index.html#pcframework

http://www.csprinciples.org/

http://www.pygame.org/news.html

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