Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CS50 workshop - San Diego

I knew in my mind I needed to write about this at the time, but I ran out of time in my rush and desire to take every empty hour to see San Diego. But, that's all about choices and a different blog. With that said, this post may make many edits as I "remember" things I wanted to say.

After teaching CS50 AP at Cedarville High School over the past year I was invited to speak to on boarding teachers about my experience. I chose to speak about the community surrounding the CS50 experience. There is so much community! Feel free to view my Prezi.

First, community is addressed within our own school. I chose CS50 because my teaching philosophy matched the philosophy I saw in the lectures and support I saw form the Harvard course. In my classroom I play music, encourage students to work together, create hashtags specific to the course and include students in demonstrations. And of course we had our own CS50 t-shirts. Each individual educator who teaches their own CS50 course brings their own sense of community to the course.

There are opportunities for students to continue to foster their own sense of community beyond the classroom. Like the CS50 course targeted to college students and beyond there are communities of online support for the high school students that teachers can choose to share with students after discussing academic honesty and the types of help that is acceptable.

There is a community for educators teaching the course such that after providing proof of their educator status they can join in on conversations with other teachers to further discuss strategies, grading, teaching tips.

The community I had not anticipated was the relationship between high school teachers and the Harvard staff. For many of us teachers we are the only teacher at our school or maybe even district teaching this course that is aligned to the AP CSP framework. This course puts students on track for taking the new AP CSP exam offered May, 2017. 

The CS50 AP staff really listen to the teachers and try their best to support their needs. I was most impressed with the summer interns who at 19 years old approached me at our first gathering to ask about my CS50 pilot year. These students took CS50 themselves at Yale and Harvard and one of them even took the course in high school. 

I shared with them which PSets I completed with my students and the items I'd like to see from a teaching standpoint that could really make managing the course easier. These rockstar students presented a sample of the new CS50 portal the next day and worked after our meeting to implement the features I requested the night before! 

Awesome example of what CS50 students can accomplish and what the CS50 team is bringing to the course to help teachers!

Stay tuned to CS50 AP to learn about the new features available to teachers.


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