CS Education Week

This week is CS Education Week. There are CS Education week events all around the world, mostly in schools where students will do an hour of coding.

In NYC, where I do most of my CS Education work, there are CS Education week events in many/most of the public school buildings this week.

As I could not be in NYC this week, I went onto Twitter this morning to see what is going on and saw this:

I love Hopscotch Coding. Young students deconstruct the game of Hopscotch into the various moves and then lay out the code next to the Hopscotch game to show how they played it. This teaches students so many important skills at a very young age and doesn’t even require a computer.

Spencer Dinwiddie, the point guard from the Brooklyn Nets, went to PS 196 in Williamsburg and did an Hour Of Code with the students.

Students at this school in Little Neck Queens did coding exercises in English, Math, and Science. One of the great things about CS is that it integrates so well into many different disciplines.

Celebrating CS Education Week in your school or your child’s school is a great thing to do and I encourage everyone to celebrate CS Education week by doing that this week.


Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    var kidscoding = amazing;

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Ah, borrowed from the deliberately “idiosyncratic syntax” of the C programming language, one step down for a man, one giant disaster for mankind!Just GOTTA get rid of that C nonsense. It was a quick and dirty thing from a small group at Bell Labs that wanted some word whacking and wrote their language for a DEC computer with all of 8 KB of main memory. And we are still using it? There were already much better programming languages and we are still stuck-o with C. I confess: I have a raw spot about C. By the time I wrote C code, I’d already written Algol, Fortran, and PL/I, all of which are MUCH better than C, including for operating systems, embedded systems, etc.Gee, hopscotch computer science!! Suspicions confirmed: The public schools don’t have even a weak little hollow hint of a tiny clue of what to teach of any value and are just over priced baby sitting!In the kids’ best learning years they are spending their time with WHAT?Guessed at the meaning of ELA — right, English language arts. One of the first lessons in English language usage — avoid like the 1918 flu any use of undefined acronyms. One such is an automatic full letter grade down!English language teaching? Terrific except for one thing, the part about “arts” because that is a big clue that it will all be from the belle lettre, formula fiction, novel, poetry, English major, English literature teacher clique that has, going way back to the English upper classes, wasted the time of students on Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Austin, Dickens, etc. and ignored one of the greatest writers in English or any language in the time of Shakespeare, Newton, and later English writers Darwin, Hamilton, and Maxwell.I’m still 99% outraged by the six years I was force fed, like a Strasbourg goose, that Belle Lettre swill instead of the math, chemistry, and physics I should have been studying and was desperate to study. God, how I HATE Belle Lettre, and after all this time there is still no way to drive a stake through the heart of the strangle hold of the English major literature teachers on teaching the crucial lessons in the English language. Huge BUMMER.The English language is far, Far, FAR too important to be left to, or even significantly influenced by, the Belle Lettre clique. Get the English majors OUT of teaching English.Tie that in with “computer science”? Okay: IMHO at present the worst bottleneck in progress in computing is the horribly poor ability of people in computing to describe their work in English. Uh, no excuses: All well written math, even the most advanced and abstract and awash in symbols and expressions, is STILL written in complete, correct sentences.BELIEVE me, the English majors do NOT realize that fact or know how to write math, science, engineering, or computer science. E.g., the Belle Lettre crowd nearly revels in uses of synonyms, to add variety or some such, make the writing richer. BUMMER. In any careful writing, once have made clear word usage, we just STAY with those words and do NOT substitute synonyms. The Belle Lettre practice of such free substitution really implies that the authors do not have clearly in mind just what the heck they are writing about.That situation of not clearly in mind is pervasive and debilitating: In Belle Lettre is it not at all clear what is being claimed and no significant evidence is give for any such claims. One English prof tried to convince me that Belle Lettre ambiguity meant more content instead of less, of “multiple truths”.The failures of Belle Lettre continue; the field can be light entertainment for a few people and otherwise belongs on the scrap heap of failures of history. In particular, NO WAY should that swill be promulgated to young students.Again, the English majors should NOT be teaching English. Ah, maybe we could have Poetry Day and move quickly to out, out brief candle!SIX years WASTED, force fed by gushing English majors — I HATE Belle Lettre.

      1. Tom Labus

        Maybe talk to your high school guidance counselor.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Been there, done that.She is the one who was appointed to read the SAT scores as they came back. For me she first opened the Verbal score and said “Very good”. No it wasn’t, but it was much better than my reputation among the female teachers, 90+% of the faculty, with all but two total zeros at both math and science and the two, zeros at science.Then she read my Math SAT score: She hesitated, mumbled, looked afraid, confused. Partly recovering she said “There must be some mistake.” Yes, sister, there HAD been for 12, long frustrating, agonizing, wasteful years.I went to a relatively good public high school. It was very definitely set up to be a college prep high school. The year before me, three students went to Princeton. In my year, one went to MIT. On the Math SAT, of #1, #2, #3, #1 went to Purdue, I was #2, and #3 was voted Most Intellectual and went to MIT. I also beat him in trigonometry: There was an exercise and he, the teacher, and others couldn’t show the equality. We had a shootout at the board, he in the front and I on the side. I showed the result easily, clearly. Word in the school spread fast, and right away in the halls before the next class, a drop dead gorgeous girl who’d had me over for a party, with some dress I can still see, some floral pastel thing, thin, delicate, full, tied up with ribbons and bows, walked up, stood close, looked up and said “I heard what you did in trigonometry class.”In the 10th grade, I asked the teacher about a problem I’d found out of class and had created what looked to me like a novel approach to a solution and wanted to check. Right away she said “You can’t do that.” Later I discovered that I COULD do that, that I’d reinvented the advanced technique smilitude. There are more such.I was force fed Belle Lettre one full course for each of the last six years in high school. Total waste. I could have learned some good math and science in that time.How much time did you spend studying the writings of English authors, (1) Belle Lettre versus (2) world-class science? So, you drank that Belle Lettre swill and thought it tasted good?Looks like I need to pull academic rank: I hold a good applied math Ph.D. from a world class research university. I got my research direction before graduate school in just three words from a professor at Cornell, later a Chaired professor at Georgia Tech. I had a good intuitive solution to my problem before grad school. In my first summer, after an advanced course in my first year, I was able to make solid math out of my intuitive solution. That was the research for my Ph.D. dissertation — done independently in my first summer.One of my formal dissertation advisors was later President at CMU. The Chair of the committee for my Ph.D. orals was a Member, US National Academy of Engineering and the closest thing the faculty had to the field of my research.So my academic qualifications are far, Far, FAR above those of any of the faculty in my high school, from the first grade through the Principal.How does that go? Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. Those that can’t teach, teach teaching. Maybe those that can’t teach teaching become guidance counselors? The rest become administrators?The teacher playing guidance counselor had been my sixth grade teacher. She was ignorant, sweet, but ignorant. When I was in her class, I would, could, should have been learning calculus. Alas, neither of the two high school math teachers knew calculus. When they talked about calculus, they mumbled that we weren’t ready for it. Nope, we were plenty ready; it was those two teachers who were not ready. By the way. never but never study high school AP calculus; I looked at those materials and they were, like Khan Academy, from people who didn’t know calculus well.I learned calculus well, applied advanced calculus, differential equations, several, some of the best, directions in advanced calculus, including the texts Harvard used for their notorious Math 55 (Rudin and Spivak), taught calculus at Indiana University, studied some differential geometry with an old guy who had helped Einstein with that subject, applied calculus in US national security and business (once used itd/dt y(t) = y'(t) = k y(t) ( b – y(t) )with an axiomatic derivation of viral growth, made the BoD happy, to save FedEx from going out of business), and published peer-reviewed original research in calculus, including solving a problem stated but not solved in the famous paper in mathematical economics by Arrow, Hurwicz, and Uzawa — AFAIK, poor Uzawa has yet to receive his Nobel Prize. I know some calculus. Exercise: Show a function that is differentiable but whose derivative is not Riemann integrable. When I was in high school, I was quite ready for calculus, as in particular I demonstrated soon by teaching half of it to myself.Instead of AP calculus, just get a good college text in calculus. In my move, I lost my college text in calculus, Johnson and Kiokmeister, used at Harvard, but last week got a copy in perfect condition for just under $5 including tax and shipping. It’s still a good calculus book. Don’t need to pay big bucks for a good calculus book. And with such a book, don’t really need a teacher: The exercises there are terrific, and the back of the book has the answers to half of them. Any student who can work those exercises and get the answers in the back knows calculus quite well for a first cut. Sure, for more, Hildebrand, Coddington, Rudin, Spivak, Fleming, Apostol, and Buck should be a nice step up. But with those and some more, can do well on the GRE Math. I did — got 800. Did I mention I know some calculus?So, for college I went to a school that was good because I could walk to it and it was cheap. They forced me into a math course that was 90% beneath what I’d already done in high school. For the other 10%, I taught it to myself in a few evenings, but the course never got to that material. A girl I knew told me when the tests were, and I showed up only for those. The teacher told me I was the best math student he’d ever had. But they wouldn’t let me start on calculus. So I got a good book and dug in on my own. GREAT fun!!! That year my brother graduated from college opening up some budget room for me, and I went to a college with a surprisingly good math department and started on their sophomore calculus using the same text Harvard was using. I made As, easily.As a senior, I got a copy of Kelley, General Topology, still relevant and challenging, and gave a lecture a week to a prof, a recent Ph.D. from MIT. One week I lectured on a chapter, and the next week I presented solutions to the more difficult exercises — they were and remain notoriously difficult. The chapter on Moore-Smith convergence was the most difficult and a lot of fun! My undergraduate honors paper was on group representation theory, important in quantum mechanics for physics and molecular spectroscopy in chemistry.Kelley’s book was a nice door opener: Later in my career, but before graduate school, I noticed that in Kelley’s book there was an equivalent statement of the axiom of choice and a section on convergence and uniformity in topology, both by John Tukey. I’d done well in my career with the fast Fourier transform and The Measurement of Power Spectra, step-wise regression, and exploratory data analysis, all from John Tukey. So, I wrote the Chair of the math department at Princeton, told him about my experience with Tukey’s work (Tukey was a prof there at Princeton, also at Bell Labs, also on the Presidential National Science Advisory Committee where at one meeting he was taking meeting notes with one hand and doing Fourier derivations with the other when Richard Garwin asked him about Fourier theory, and that was the seed of the fast Fourier transform which transformed large areas of digital signal processing, e.g., in the oil patch), and I got a nice letter back explaining that they had the “best” program for such things. One Tukey student was Brillinger, in time series, long at Berkeley and onCommittee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, National Research Council, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, ISBN 0-309-66264-8, 196 pages, National Academies Press, 2006, available athttp://www.nap.edu/catalog/…Later I got accepted to grad school in math at Princeton (also Brown where I had lunch with Fleming, also Cornell where I got a tour of the campus with Nemhauser) but went elsewhere.I repeat, English majors should not be teaching English. Belle Lettre should be relegated to light entertainment, totally optional or covered all in just ONE easy lecture — communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion, heavily with nearly totally unsupported conjectures with essentially NO predictive value about personality types, and in the framework of formula fiction, e.g., at the end he gets the girl, entertaining as a vicarious experience — and otherwise left on the scrap heap of failed works of history.It is a grand disservice to youth to be having English majors teaching them English.The English major, Belle Lettre English teachers form a self-perpetuating, horribly wasteful and misleading clique, cult and should be banished from formal education.Hope you enjoyed it!I’ve got some code to write — made good progress yesterday and need to continue today.

  2. pointsnfigures

    Go get em! This is great. Lots of things warm my heart but one thing that does is little kids having fun with big smiles on their faces.

  3. jason wright

    I liked Lego.