NEW: For a prettier blog interface, see the Wordpress version!



16:30 18:00 ISEW, TFI Follow-up, Function Room A, 2nd Floor, Gonzaga
16:30 18:00 Electives talk for CS juniors, CTC 105
18:00 20:00 BPI Science Award reunion at Oakwood


5. Reflections

Categories: None -- Permalink
I never really knew my eldest sister, even when she lived in our house. I quickly learned that as the uncool sister some 7 years younger than she, I was unwelcome at her parties and excluded from her interests. Although we were both into computers, she rarely talked to me about it. Instead, I taught myself from whatever books she left lying around. Even in our shared interest, we never talked. One time she conducted a small role-playing game for my middle sister and I, but she lost interest after a while. I felt she always somewhat looked down on me - which was understandable, as I was much younger than she was and retracing many of her steps.

Now I am a college teacher and the gap is narrower than it was before. She has moved out of the house; no difference, really, as I'd never quite felt we were in the same house before. When I come home from the dormitory near school, I stay in her room. This room was off-limits when I was younger. Still, I couldn't resist the lure of all the books on her well-stocked shelves, so sometimes I'd sneak into her room and flip through her books quickly. If I was ever caught inside, my sister would no doubt have given me a really evil glare.

Her clothes are still in the closet and her books still line the shelves. There are bridal magazines scattered here and there, remnants of her preparation for the wedding last October. Despite these little traces, this room doesn't feel like my sister's living here any more.

Why do I sleep here now? Remember that my parents gleefully converted my old room into a mini-library when I moved into the dorm during college. I came home for the weekends, but as my old room didn't have a bed, I used to sleep on a small sofa-bed in my parents' room. After a while, they returned the bed to my room and I moved back there. Then my mom and dad went to the United States. As I was still at the dorm and my middle sister was alone in the house, my aunt moved into my old room. On my return, then, I stayed in my eldest sister's room.

After my parents' return, I moved back into my old room. Our pets regularly soiled the area, though, so I ended up moving back into my sister's room, as her room shared a door with the bathroom. Leaving this door open allowed my cat free access to the litter box we left in the bathroom.

It is still my sister's room, but I am comfortable staying in it. I browse through her books and leave my things on her desk. Sometimes I find snatches of a long-forgotten life - still-white notebooks with hand-written scribbles of school lessons and friendly banter making my sister seem suddenly oh so human. It's hard to think of my sister as a high school freshman, but I suppose that she once was. Strange that as my sister moves into a new life - a new name, a new family - I begin to discover her old one.


My cat can barely keep her eyes open. Her ears still perk up at the rapid clacking of my keyboard and the noises outside draw the occasional bemused stare, but most of the time, my cat's eyes narrow to tired slits. It is late, she tells me, and I should be in bed.

4. BPI Science Award reunion

Categories: None -- Permalink
- video about BPI Science Award 2004 - speech including Road Not Taken - short video about the BPI foundation

Ryan, BS Computer Engineering. How did it feel when you first found out that you were going to be a BPI Science Awardee? Siyempre, excited. Publicity. Most of the awardees came from EE, so pressured. What's life like after the BPI Science Award? Lots of opportunities. Working for BPI.

Cattleya Catahan, UP Diliman. Computer science, 1997! Life after BPI - BPI, romantic (met husband at BPI). What has kept you busy? Little girl. Working for BPI, corporate planning. Related to field. Able to pursue interest in science.

Lilibeth, graduated from Xavier. BS Biology. Also with BPI. Dagupan Loans Administration Unit. Name one technological advancement that you wished you discovered. "I always wanted to come up with something so that scuba divers don't have to wear the tanks when they dive. That was one of my illusions." "It's never too late. Who knows?"

Then me.

Jonathan, BS Computer Engineering in 1995 from Ateneo, but also Chem. Also from BPI. Chat about kids. Wants to be a mission scientist at NASA.

Abelyn, UST. BS Computer Science, 2003. NEC Telecom Software. Software Design Engineer. Name one technological advancement you wished you'd discovered. "I wish I had discovered the Internet."

(Interestingly high incidence of computer people... =) )

Distinguished guest. Introduction by VP of BPI. "Tonight, we're privileged to have our guest speaker who has been always with us as a partner of BPI foundation. She is also one of the most active allies ... Department of Science and Technology, first woman with DOST portfolio, grad of UP Diliman. MS PhD Chemical Engineering Rice University. DOST undersec for R and D. Food-related publications and researches. Guest speaker: DOST Secretary Dr. Estrella Alabastro"

Good evening. Let me first greet the BPI Foundation officials, my former colleagues from UP, my friends from the other universities, the awardees from past and present, guests... Commend and express appreciation for the BPI Foundation programs in the other areas explained by the video - education, microenterprise development, basic services and others. worthwhile projects and activities with far-reaching consequences. annual bpi science awards is one such project as it draws attention to importance of human resources in s&t. knowledge-based economy. every year, the bpi science awards recognizes 30 students in 10 universities around the country... over 400 students. doors of opportunities opened up to them by the science awards. delighted to be in the company of country's most promising minds. math, physics, engg, chem, bio, cs. give generously of time and expertise in prepping nation for uncertainties of knowledge-driven global economy. we need more people like you, frontlines of research and scholarship. imaginatively and logically. working with one another. harness technology. closing, thank partners for successful implementation of this project for the past fifteen years. rewarding those who have displayed aptitude... according due recognition to the fundamental role of human resources in propelling the nation forward. to our awardees, may... inspired to put s and t to work ... brighter tomorrow.

bpi senior vp presents token of appreciation to guest speaker

bpi card edge advertisement on video screen. a bit slow-paced.

Ran into Ryan who competed in the Trend Micro Internet Software Contest 2001. Said we had fantastic marketing.

Academe. Ateneo de Manila University. Dr. Jumela Sarmiento. Good evening everyone. I'm going to read a message from Dr. Fabian Dayrit. He is now in Osaka, Japan, attending a winter school. On behalf of SOSE, I wish to extend my warmest greetings and congrats to BPI on anniv. Mark of success when award becomes tradition. BPI Science Award has become tradition and benchmark. The BPI Science Award has become one of the indicators of success among our students. Must not lose sight of our ultimate goal, advancement of society through s and t. There is still so much that has to be done as we struggle to keep up with our neighbors. Exponential growth. A simple linear growth means that we will likely fall behind. Hope that BPI will continue to expand its efforts to encourage our science and engineering students. thanks and more power.

DLSU. Agnes Yuhico. (Any relation to Pisay teacher?) Fruits of our labor. Reassured that we did the right thing. Great minds, young minds, full of hope and promise for our country. On behalf of DLSU, thank BPI for 15 wonderful years of partnership. honor to partner with you for the next decades to come.

St. Louis University. Dr. Gaudelia Reyes. honor for our uni to be chosen as one of the leading universities for training our students in science and engineering. three awardees every year for this BPI Science Awards. We believe that this is an affirmation of the role of educational institutions in training the youth for nation-building. trust and confidence of bpi in these edu inst and the youth as the hope of our fatherland. our students look forward to these awards every year. the past awardees are now participating in nation-building as (list of fields) and higher education. we therefore take this opportunity to thank BPI for its smartest investment yet.

UPD. Dr. Azanza. The BPI Science Awards being handled by the BPI Foundation has one thing in common with the college of science in Diliman - the tradition of excellence. partners of 15 years now. promoting excellence in science and technology, education, research and public service. like to express congratulations and appreciation. we hope that the bpi science awards will continue for more years and we can come up with more R&D projects beyond these.

UPLB. Dr. Ernesto Carpio. Secretary Alabastro, executives of BPI Science Awards, 2004 awardees, and alumni. una, nais kong pasalamatan ang BPI for its continuing commitment to support and encourage outstanding academic achievement in the fields of science and tech. established mechanism of awarding its students. awarded already before BPI science award. But I believe the BPI science award has a deeper meaning - way of the society itself recognizing the achievements of these very young minds. reminding you (all the current awardees and alumni). wherever you go, please do not forget our Philippines.

UST. Dr. Fortunato Sevilla III. greatly appreciate the generosity and kindness of the bpi for giving us this opportunity to ... motivate our good students to do better. incentive also for us in the university to develop our students better. importance given to the research work they had done, not merely recognizing academic performance, but also the research activities. very helpful in inspiring them to do more. excellence. the development of excellence. money.

band: silk and steel


3. Tales from under my desk

I'm hiding under my desk with a large box of assorted candies and a laptop. It had been a particularly tiring CS21A session, with my carefully prepared string exercises mysteriously unreachable - proxy problems? host problems? - and... well... a student with a surprisingly poor grasp of the subject matter, which made me feel bad as a teacher - which is, once again, why I'm hiding under my desk. It feels nice here.

I must remember that the discipline of problem-solving and the structured logic of computer science do not come easily to other people. I hear the frustration and shame in my students' voices as they try to write the programs I ask them to do far more often than I hear their exultation. With a sequence of exercises I strive to lead him to the realization that loops are simply a way to repeat code conveniently, to help them make it a part of they vocabulary. Sometimes I feel like Anne Sullivan to stubborn Helen Kellers, patiently repeating ignored hand-gestures while waiting for that one spark of genius that will help them unlock their world.

I arranged my exercises in terms of difficulty, but I need even simpler exercises to help them build confidence. I want so much to make them see, to make them understand - but I must guide them slowly and with questions so that this logic becomes an inseparable part of them, not just something given to them to study now and forget later. I want them to have a sense of control and accomplishment.

I want to unfold them, find the core of the problems that prevent them from learning, stretch them, challenge them, transform them - but oh, how difficult it is to even find a sequence that will be challenging and yet at the same time encouraging! How much easier it would be to not care, perhaps, or at least not bend to each person's needs - to let people sink or swim according to their own efforts. How easy it would be to just say that oh, perhaps a student is not meant for a certain course. I would perhaps be doing a greater service to that person's potential classmates and coworkers if I failed a student who did not show potential. Yet such reflects on me, too. Perhaps it is a conceit to think that I can reach even those whom most think are unreachable...

I lack so much as a teacher. I love crafting exercises to guide people along a path. I love finding out where a person is and trying to form a personal study plan to help. I tutor, I mentor, I question, I challenge. Do I teach? Rarely. I think of this as trying to help people learn. Perhaps I'm meant to be more of a guide, more of a tutor.

I love spending time with people and helping them understand something. My CS21B class is incredible to watch - the people who had such a hard time during the first semester seem to have caught up and are doing quite well, and that helps me believe that it's worth it. It must be worth it, must be worth times like this...

2. Cool keyboards and mice

Categories: None -- Permalink

Comments say that the article wasn't very useful, though.

1. Cute Slashdot comment!

Categories: None -- Permalink <blockquote>

Re:Assembly. (Score:4, Interesting) by laird (2705) <> on Thursday January 22, @03:03AM (#8052679) (Last Journal: Monday April 07, @07:39AM) I used to teach kids programming (at the Computer Ed summer camps in Boston) and I had kids programming in all sorts of crazy languages. I think that it's wonderful what kids can achieve when they're excited about learning.

A few random pleasant memories: - I was teaching a little girl to program in C. She was pretty good, given that we were using pretty primal tools (I think it was Turbo C on my Osborne Executive). The best part was that she was so tiny that she had to reach _way_ up to hold my hand when we crossed the street that ran through the camp. That just blew my mind — one minute this brilliant kid was coding a sort routine in C, and the next she was a timid little girl holding my hand crossing the street. - I had a whole gang of kids using the Lisp built into the BBC Micro (Acorn?). We had great fun writing an adventure game with a simple parser, so that kids could move around a simple network of rooms, pick stuff up and move it around and drop it. Some of the older kids implemented locking and unlocking doors. Pretty good for a two week, one hour a day course. - A bunch of the older kids learned 6502 assembler on the Apple ][, using a simple assembler and the ROM debugger. Unlike the x86's, the 6502 is so simple to program (very clean design) that by the end of the class some of the kids were reading the binary straight rather than disassembling it. We wrote killer video games — they had snakes running around the screen, gobbling "apples" and growing longer, until you hit a wall and the game ended. That was two weeks at 2 hours a day, so it was only for the most dedicated little geeks. - Programming Robot Wars — that was a very simple assembly language that controlled simulated robots. They loved coding their robots and seeing whose robot won. The modern robot simulators are superior in every way (e.g. alphaworks' Robocode [], but Robot Wars was nice and simple and fun. - Logo, of course. It's an amazing language. People usually think of it as a simple language for teaching, and it's great for that, but it's actually nearly identical to Lisp, so you can do all of the cool recursion, etc., in Logo. The usual stages of the day were Logo for little kids, then BASIC, then Pascal for the advanced students. I found that kids that went straight from Logo to Pascal did 100% better than the kids who were taught BASIC — the BASIC kids had so many stupid ideals drilled into them that they were almost incapable of programming. But straight from Logo to Pascal was easy — though the kids did complain about having to wait for things to compile. :-) - Logo turtles — the ones that were little robots that ran around on the floor, with a pen and an optical sensor. Those were fun...

Man, that was fun. I've got to get back into teaching. </blockquote>

Man, I _really_ have to get into teaching kids how to program...

Previous day | Next day

I'd love to hear about any questions, comments, suggestions or links that you might have. Your comments will not be posted on this website immediately, but will be e-mailed to me first. You can use this form to get in touch with me, or e-mail me at [email protected] .

Page: 2004.01.23
Updated: 2004-11-2119:44:1419:44:14+0800
NOTE: ANTI-SPAM MEASURE NOW IN PLACE. Please answer the following question with the right number in order to send me your comment.
What is two minus one? (hint: one ;) )