Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cs50x Cedarville week 1

In week 1 we explored more about what a computer is and what it does.  We cleared up some misconceptions that although the computer speaks in ones and zeros when we discuss computer or programming languages we don’t necessarily mean binary.  The vocabulary terms compiler, pseudocode, loop, and condition were introduced.  Adding to the previous terms algorithm, computer, compute, and binary. A different student each week is assigned to define the vocabulary terms and include a pictorial representation of the term. They must submit these in a format that I can display on a word wall aka Tech Terms

On Monday we discussed operating systems and system requirements for software we download and/or install.

On Tuesday we began discussing algorithms after a brief discussion on computing.  I asked where they heard the word algorithm before and how it was used.  A student rattled off the quadratic formula and said that is an algorithm.  When I asked what it was used for…crickets.  Students knew what the formula was called, knew they were supposed to memorize it but not one student could share when they would use it. I asked them to think about why they don't know when to use it for or what reason.  

A student submitted Mario as a Tech Timeline addition from the week before so this was an opportunity to discuss Mario.  A tease.  I brought up the picture and asked are all of Mario’s pyramids the same height?  How could we write an equation to build a pyramid 8 high?  It began a discussion that I said, we would come back to, but had them thinking.  Note: the high school students know Mario and were excited to discuss Mario.  The thought they may get to play Mario in class has them eager for this discussion to come back up. ;-)
Instead of me ripping the phone book I asked two volunteers to race to find Mike Smith in the phone book this was awesome because one student was looking in the M’s.  I handed out water bottles as their participation prize and then walked through the process of looking for names in the phonebook and whether the name was in the Ms or Ss we were expecting them to be sorted.  We also discussed that as humans we determined we found Mike Smith upon finding Michael Smith but would a computer be able to make that distinction?

We left class after the 3rd discussion…what if we turned 2 pages at a time? It was twice as fast as one page but we could miss the page we were looking for which literally happened for me as I was talking.

On Wednesday, we had peanut butter jelly time

Pseudocode via Peanut Butter & Jelly

Following PB & J the quote of our week happened following the peanut butter jelly time.

p.s. I allowed all students to make a PB & J (18 students) after the demo

Thursday we began downloading VMware Workstation to install the appliance, we discussed being able to install software, reading the prompts, understanding where our software is installing.  We normally would not have students install software on lab computers but I recognized a value in them going through the process just in case they wanted to install at home.  I placed the link in our LMS to make it easy.

While the appliance downloaded we walked through the Algorithm lesson written by David J. Malan on TedEd.  What I liked about the lesson was having questions to check for understanding.  I added the lesson to my lessons and tweeked it a little and took a little out but now can see myself creating my own lessons on TedEd on related topics.

Friday, because we had issues with the VMware Workstation download we downloaded Virtual Box and that vbox version of the appliance. 

Looking toward next week:
Bits & Bytes

More algorithms

Saturday, August 22, 2015

CS50x – Cedarville Launch

I launched my CS50x teaching experience on August 19, 2015.  I started the course by passing out a syllabus with my expectations and discussed what the class would be about.  I shared with students some successes my middle school students experienced via coding in my classroom last year and why we were expanding to a high school course this year.  I shared that the course was put on the books as Coding and Apps in January but was somewhat modified over the summer to become 

CS50x-Cedarville: Coding and Apps a course that would study computer science and would use tools such as programming languages to create applications to be displayed as final projects in April 2016.

We discussed that we would have opportunities to create individually and as a group.  Our first class included binary math in which I invited students to the head of the class to write the binary equivalent to our typical base 10 numbers.  (I don't have lights nor did I have the opportunity to recreate that demo.) Those lucky volunteers were awarded with sunglasses that I picked up at the Ohio State Fair after giving my personal information to places like Fiat and 5-hour Energy just so I could have “gifts” for my students.  

My course that will be delivered via Schoology, our choice LMS, warned students about the extent of the work involved, but that it may likely be one of their most memorable classes this year.  I began class with a station on Pandora (long story…I queued up different music and the wifi went out so I had to switch to plan B and I don’t have a team) Entense Techno was the playlist and I turned off all the lights just before the bell and turned on stage lights. #HavePlanB

I discussed throughout this 3-day launch some technology history and since I do not have the halls of memorabilia as at Harvard I created a tech timeline
Technology Timeline

My students’ first assignment was to add to it (due Monday). 

To introduce the Tech Timeline assignment we used Feature Flix Friday to review some clips and discuss technology (not computers specifically yet) and the thought process involved when analyzing a situation or solving a problem.  I chose to use Back to the Future II as my Friday Flick (entire playlist below).

Looking to next week:

I have queued up the What is a computer?  And What is computing?  Modules adding the video - Which is on the plate for Monday & Tuesday of the upcoming week and lookout for Peanut Butter Jelly Time on Wednesday.