Category Archives: education

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Creating Passionate Users: Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers

Kathy Sierra does it again! In Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers on her blog about Creating Passionate Users, Kathy lists 11 things every teacher should know and 10 tips every teacher should follow.

There’s a reason why she’s one of my idols. Fangirl, fangirl, fangirl…

Even if you’re not officially teaching or training someone, you’re going to find it useful. READ IT! NOW!

そのコンピューターはかなり時代遅れだったので役に立たなかった。 The computer was so outdated that it was good for nothing.

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On teaching programming

why do I have to write all this syntactic sugar to just do the canonical “Hello, world”?

I firmly believe that the canonical “Hello, world” program is one of
the worst ways to introduce Java, or even programming in general.

I like BlueJ. It’s a nice, clean, object-oriented environment that
immediately visualizes the difference between objects and classes and
allows students to interact with objects before they even see Java
code. I like the way BlueJ lets you interact with complex systems,
learning about control structures and logic along the way.

A popular Python tutorial starts with using Python as a calculator
instead of just getting it to print strings. Isn’t that a great way
for people to see how immediately useful a programming language can
be?

I wouldn’t start an Emacs Lisp tutorial with (print “Hello, world!”).
I would start it by taking a look at an existing function and
modifying it.

Languages should not all be taught the same way. Just because we might
have learned with “Hello, world” doesn’t mean that “Hello, world” is
the best way to learn how to program. I think there are better ways to
teach computer science, and I want to spend a fairly significant chunk
of my life looking for them.

You can, too. Just remember that you can improve on the way things
have always been done.

E-Mail to True Computer Science Mailing List

彼女は娘のためにパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

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On computer science education

In response to Neil Santos’ rant about computer science education:

What a pity it is that you’ve never had a good teacher. A good teacher can help you grow immensely. I’ve had great teachers, and they really changed my life. Let me share with you some things I’ve learned from them and why I’m crazy about computer science.

When you meet a lot of brilliant people, you’ll quickly realize that technical skills do not guarantee people skills and vice versa. One of the best ways to meet brilliant people is through open source. Look at Richard Stallman: undoubtedly a genius, but his personality rubs a lot of people the wrong way. (He’s really cool, though.) On the other hand, there are people who combine both technical know-how with passion and great communication skills; these are the teachers who can change your life.

I owe so much to the teachers I’ve learned from inside and outside the classroom. The best teachers I’ve had taught me that I’m not limited to the classroom. They helped me gain the confidence to try things on my own. They showed me things I didn’t know about and might not have discovered on my own. They questioned my assumptions and challenged me to do better. I remember when I was in first year college and I was slacking off in subjects like English; it was my computer science
teacher who told me that I should pay attention to details!

My teachers really helped me deal with my insecurities about our curriculum. I always kept my eye on schools abroad, and because I was already working on open source in college, I could see how people my age were doing really fantastic things like maintaining the Linux kernel or writing their own operating systems. My teachers helped me take advanced classes and get into extracurricular projects and
competitions. When I started working on things on my own, they gave me encouragement and great recommendations.

I’ve heard many, many stories about teachers who aren’t as good as the ones I had, though. Most teachers don’t seem to care about their students or their subjects. I want to help change that.

Computer science changes every day. The accelerating pace may make you think that it’s impossible to keep up. The truth is, as things get faster and faster, a strong foundation becomes more and more important.

That’s what I’d like to think I teach. I do not teach how to program in Java or C++ or Perl. I teach people how to _think_, how to break a problem down into solvable parts, how to learn more and more and more. My job is not to pour information into passive students, but rather I am here to show them the basics and then challenge them, make them hungry for more, guide them through questions and hints. I don’t know everything, but I love sharing whatever I know, and I love learning new things from students and the world.

I messed up a lot as a beginning teacher, too. There were days when the explanations I prepared the night before didn’t work and everyone was just confused. There were days when I’d just get so frustrated with my inability to express something or to convince people that copying isn’t going to teach them as much as actually sticking it out and solving the problem. But still, there were days when I’d see students get that Aha! moment, and that made things worthwhile.

I enjoy computer science so much that I cannot think of _not_ teaching it. I want to get other people hooked. I want people to fall in love with learning and problem-solving. I want people to discover that they too are capable of mental wizardry; that they too can make the computer dance to their tune. I want to be a fantastic teacher. In order to do that, I’m working on not only getting the theoretical and practical background to share with my students, but also learning how to teach and teach well.

Let me tell you that computer science education doesn’t have to be like what you’re suffering. I know it can be good, and I want to make it even better.

What does this mean for you, now, while you’re taking up your degree at Adamson University?

Well, if you can’t do anything about your teachers right now, you have many ways of coping. Open source gives you an opportunity to test your knowledge and make a difference world-wide. Even as a student, you can work on really cool things! Come hang out with us, too. We can challenge you. We can help you stay enthusiastic and passionate about computers. When are you usually free?

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National Strategic Planning for ICTs in Basic Education Initiative: A Round Table Discussions

  • Broadening Access to Education (April 18, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Improving Planning and Management (April 19, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Enhancing Quality of Learning (April 20, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Enhancing Quality of Teaching (April 21, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Sustainability (April 29, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)

The said round table discussions will be held at the Seminar Room,
National Computer Center, C.P. Garcia Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

(from Marvin Pascual):
By the way, this event is not exclusively for people who are into
academe only as what I was expecting before. Everyone is encourage to
join us to fight and promote Linux and Open Source for the ICTs in
DepEd. Please send your name, e-mail and contact numbers to me
privately if you are willing to support and help DepEd in their ICTs and
quality education to students.

Darn! Wish I could go. Anyway, it’s for basic education; I can wait to get into that.

犬が1匹、猫が1匹、カナリヤが3羽います。 We have a dog, a cat and three canaries.

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Learning Links

“Learning Links Center for Alternative Education, an NGO with SEC Reg.
No. A20000-8543 housed at Stalls 7 and 8 Sanvil Center, Katipunan
Avenue, was founded by Ateneo alumni in the year 2000. Its mission is
to help 7 to 14 year old Katipunan street kids and at-risk children
get access to supplementary educational activities so they can achieve
their fullest potentials and integrate more easily into mainstream
society.

Currently, Learning Links is in need of volunteers who can join their
twice-a-month Saturday afternoon Ate-Kuya program. Volunteers will
have the opportunity to share around two to three hours of their time
per session with a group of kids – swapping stories, playing games,
engaging in creative tasks or taking a stroll in the Ateneo campus
-and act as buddies or even role models to these little ones.

Interested parties may call or text 0917-8269108 (Kuya Froy) or
0917-6939831 (Ate Julie).

Together, let’s bring learning back to the kids.”

E-Mail from Ateneo Alumni Affairs Office

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Interesting notes from the best practices

2http://northonline.sccd.ctc.edu/eceprog/bstprac.htm603

Guided Lecture: Students listen to 15-20 minutes of lecture without taking notes. At the end, they spend five minutes recording all they can recall. The next step involves learners in small discussion groups reconstructing the lecture conceptually with supporting data, preparing complete lecture notes, using the instructor to resolve questions that arise.

Immediate Mastery Quiz: When a regular immediate mastery test is included in the last few minutes of the period, learners retain almost twice as much material, both factual and conceptual.

Individual Task With Review: Problems to solve that apply the concepts presented. Students complete a worksheet or other task and compare the results with their neighbors before the whole class discusses the answers.

Intrinsically-Phrased Reward Statements: Positive expressions about emerging learner performance and achievement highlight internal feelings of self-worth and self-satisfaction (without praise, which is an extrinsic judgment). Enjoyment “That was fun!” “I get pleasure from that, too.” Competence “You did it!” “That is mastered!” Cleverness “That was tricky.” “Creative.” Growth “You’ve taken a step forward.” “Change has occurred!”

Construction Spiral: Ask a sequence of questions, beginning at a reflex level, in a three-step learning cycle—(1) individual writing for 3-5 minutes, (2) small group sharing in trios or pairs, and (3) whole class, non-evaluative compilation. Used to construct understandings and concepts.

Peer Teaching: By explaining conceptual relationships to others, tutors define their own understanding.

- Question Pairs—learners prepare for class by reading an assignment and generating questions focused on the major points or issues raised. At the next class meeting pairs are randomly assigned. Partners alternately ask questions of each other and provide corrective feedback as necessary.

- Learning Cells—Each learner reads different selections and then teaches the essence of the material to his or her randomly assigned partner.

CS21A.Teaching604