Category Archives: DirectorsDesk

I feel like I can do anything with this pin on! – CS Honor Society

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I am so proud to have inducted 17 students into the Powhatan High School Computer Science Honor Society!  These students have exceeded the academic requirements and have committed to serve their community by promoting computer science education!

Buffie Holley from Albemarle High School in Charlottesville Virginia is the project lead for this CodeVA founded honor society. Buffie and CodeVA have made this process easy and seamless. For more information, go to the CodeVA  honor society page. On this page, you will find the VA CS Honor Society Constitution, a template for the charter by laws, and the charter application.

I am so excited to honor my students that have worked hard supporting computer science education in our county. This has proved to be a great way to celebrate their accomplishments and passion.

After I handed out the initiation pins to my students, one of my female students said “I feel like I can do anything with this pin on!”.

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Why Codecademy is Awesome

We have been using Codecademy in the CS Principles course to cover HTML and CSS (the abstraction part of the Big Ideas). IT is a great tool – lets the kids self pace, give instant feedback. They have made some pretty amazing things.

Plus the site uses badges to track progress. You know how I love badges.

I just got this e-mail from them – such a great summary of why Computer Science is important:

You’ve been a Codecademy student for a month now. Well done!

Here’s why that’s great news for you:

We believe that learning how to program is the best job security you can have because it’s more important than ever before to understand the systems we depend on every day.

The need for computer literacy has never been greater. As a Codecademy user, you’re getting a head start in many ways:

  • You’re learning how programs function, and how to control them
  • Programming is a skill that’s virtually guaranteed to help you get a job
  • By learning to code, you’re becoming a creator: someone who makes things happen
  • You can create programs, games, web pages and animations
  • As your coding skills grow, you can share knowledge and even teach your skills to others
  • In a world of tech consumers, you’re becoming an empowered builder…

Nice work!
So don’t stop here. Why not master a topic right now?

Exactly.
Created by Rebecca Dovi
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

What is Missing from the Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards were published on May 11th, 2012.

This week the CSEd Week Blog a great post about why computer science should be included in these standards.

From the post:

While the math standards are well on their way to being implemented and assessed, Achieve’s new effort on the science standards is still in development, and they need to hear from you about the importance of having real, engaging computer science in these standards.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

What Holds Girls Back from Computer Science – an update

A few weeks back I blogged about an infographic that was making the rounds.

I am so happy to say that the infographic has been updated:

Better, no?

I am so glad to see the update. Gone is the one of blame and the factual errors about the APCS exam. The whole tone reflects their stated purpose of “Teach Girls To Program Before People Tell Them They Can’t Do It”. Great approach.

I really love that they now include information on stereotype threat. Joanne Cohoon at UVA has done a lot of great work on this as it relates to females in computer science. It is her research at NCWIT the reference at the bottom. And while we are at it, have you been to a Tapestry Workshop? If not put it on your list for next summer, absolutely will change your teaching. Resources from past workshops are posted on the site, so you can read ahead,

Well done!

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Weekly Roundup

For the Computer Science Principles classes last week I had them define Computer Science . The Wordle below is from their definitions after Unit 1. I am planning on having them do this each unit and see how our collective definition shifts as we layer on more material. I think this might make a good writing prompt later int he year.

Other things I’ve been looking at:

  • Been using this site with my Algebra I kids: http://learnscratch.org/ I am hoping to incorporate Scratch and Graphing
  • Curious to Try this: http://www.learnstreet.com/teacher_signup as the AP Computer Science Principles classes start on the Internet and HTML
  • Rereading As We May Think by Vannevar Bush – this document, from 1945,  first suggests hypertext. Beyond the reading level of most of my high school kids, but some good nuggets
  • As the computer club keeps working on their 3-D printer I am looking forward to trying Blockify
  • Interesting Video recruiting for AP Studio Art: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwyeKseCShY
  • And, we just found out our CSTA chapter will get 100 Finches to play with next fall! Cannot wait.
  • And lastly made my hotel reservation for SIGCSE. The one thing I learned coaching debate – make the hotel reservation early!

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Top Five Industries Go Mobile

This is from Mashable’s Business Section. It lists the top five businesses that have embraced mobile technologies.

For high school students it raises some interesting questions about where they might be working in the future. Many of the kids I teach do not end up working in fields strictly defined as computer science, yet no matter where they go they will be using computing devices.
So what does that mean for our students? To be part of the group of people that have influence…the deciders if you will, means you need to have a specific set of skills. Last century it was literacy. To have a chance at being a person of influence meant you had to read and communicate well.

Clearly those skills are still crucial, but in the past few decades a parallel set of skill has emerged. Computing.

I don’t mean typing and application literacy. Beyond that students need to understand computing at a deeper level to be able to decide what problems computers can, and cannot, be used to solve.

That is why this graphic is so interesting to me. Think about your student planning on going into the restaurant/food industry. While mastery of a particular programming language may not be something they need I would argue that the underlying ideas and concepts of computer science will serve them well. That skill sets them apart in an industry that is becoming more and more reliant on computing devices.

It’s an advantage more of our students should be getting.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Top 20 Ways to Learn Computer Science Online

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of the new ways to learn to code online – the first list is here. The new APCS Principles course has a lot of elements that move beyond teaching computer science as a coding class, including teaching about the Internet and using data. It is getting hard to keep up.

Modest Maps

A few top 20 lists:

And for a little numerical diversity:
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Top 20 Programming Languages

This is pretty interesting, this site lists the top 20 programming languages, and tracks their popularity over time.

Pascal is up 0.991% in the past year. Who knew?

This could be a fun way to look at the idea of “Big Data” as a part of the CS Principles course.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

ToDo List

OK, this is one of those weeks where I am lucky to eat lunch, never mind sitting down to eat. Lots of good stuff, but busy!

So here are some of the things I plan on catching up on:

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

There’s an app for that

Today the first-year students worked an art project after finishing a test on while-loops.

The groups were asked to describe a problem that students face in school that could be solved with a computer program. They described what the app does, gave it a title, and designed a button for the app. These are the buttons hanging in the hall outside my room.
We had the i-genda, a student planner. Several apps to allow students to check their balances on their lunch accounts in the cafeteria – must be a real need there. My favorite so far is a marauder’s map inspired one that lets teachers and students know where administrators are. Maybe not so appropriate, but certainly out of the box thinking on that one.
Created by Rebecca Dovi
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.