The summer is drawing to a close. In three weeks school starts up. As usual I did not get all I needed done done. I am used to it so no panic. The IT stuff is done, the classrooms are ready for students and teachers, everything is working the way it should, laptops are ready to check-out to students if they need them and the network is up. My new Java course is not doing so well. My fault for prioritizing the IT stuff but more relies on that than the Java course. I have a syllabus, a text and a plan, just not much practice with the IDE or the language. I have a year to do a semester course so I am not bothered. I want to do a lot more than programming in the course so I will have the time to get ahead of the kids.
I am back to teaching Stats this coming year. The school did a little curriculum changing so the Stats course is now an honors course. Previously it was designed for all seniors not interested in going the calculus direction. We will now offer three courses for seniors, one standard track and two upper level courses that offer college credit. The Stats course previously offered college credit but had such a mix of abilities that it had to be very tempered. The new course will allow me to increase depth and breadth.
I signed up for three on-line courses this summer. One presented by the U of Alabama was on the new APCS Principles course; the other two are a Java course and a hardware course by the U of West Virginia. I took these for my own benefit and out of curiosity to see what a MOOC like. I now know and will not do that again. The APCSP course started interesting then did exactly what most CS courses turn into, a programming course. Here is the language (Snap!) and basically how it works, now write a program in it. Absolutely nothing on how to actually build a program (as opposed to typing code). The course was supposed to be for all comers, teachers with little coding experience all the way to long time programming teachers. I cannot see how a beginner would get the idea that designing the program is more important than typing code. Sort of my pet peeve. Snap! also had some issues. Not a good thing for beginners. The two by UWV were just confusing. Not the material but the internet implementation. This is not a good mode for education. Better than nothing? Yes, but barely. I guess I am just an old time traditionalist. I like to ask my instructors questions when the question comes to me.
Next week I am attending a two day Professional Learning Community at Work Institute. The in-service starts at 6:30 in the morning. Eek. Done by 2 is the plus. This PLC seems to be the latest catchy thing to add to a teacher’s load. I have talked to a number of teachers that have been through the training, among them my wife, and they are not too impressed. I have to keep a positive attitude or this could be a bad two days. I do not do well at these “good idea” seminars as it is. I have been doing a little internet research to find out what PLC is all about. It looks like something the Chinese and Japanese have been doing for about 40 years or more. Of course the Chinese and Japanese fund and support their education system a bit differently than we do in the US.
As usual I am looking forward to school starting. It is the best job I have ever had. I like kids, I like working with educated people, I like learning, and nobody is shooting at me or trying to blow me up. All a plus.