"teaching" entries

Are there some students who can’t learn how to code?

Change tactics or give up: It's a crossroads many teachers face when students don't understand the code.

I can never forget an evening late into a semester of my Introduction to Python course, during which I asked my students a question about user-defined classes. Here’s the code I had put on the board:

As new information for this particular lesson, I informed them that every time a new MyClass instance is created, the __init__() method is called implicitly. In other words, the code above calls __init__() twice, and in executing the code in __init__(), the variable MyClass.var is being incremented — so this is also happening twice.

So, I asked them: after the above code is executed, what is the value of MyClass.var?

The hand of this class’ most enthusiastic student shot into the air.

“One!” He answered proudly. And for a moment my mouth stood open. Read more…

Comments: 10

Open teaching stacks help us teach at scale

Use teaching stacks to drive growth.

Elliott Hauser is CEO of Trinket, a startup focused on creating open sourced teaching materials. He is also a Python instructor at UNC Chapel Hill.

Well-developed tools for teaching are crucial to the spread of open source software and programming languages. Stacks like those used by the Young Coders Tutorial and Mozilla Software Carpentry are having national and international impact by enabling more people to teach more often.

The spread of tech depends on teaching

Software won’t replace teachers. But teachers need great software for teaching. The success and growth of technical communities are largely dependent on the availability of teaching stacks appropriate to teaching their technologies. Resources like try git or interactivepython.org not only help students on their own but also equip instructors to teach these topics without also having to discover the best tools for doing so. In that way, they play the same function as open source Web stacks: getting us up and running quickly with time-tested and community-backed tools. Thank goodness I don’t need to write a database just to write a website; I can use open source software instead. As an instructor teaching others to code websites, what’s the equivalent tool set? That’s what I mean by Teaching Stack: a collection of open tools that help individual instructors teach technology at scale.

Elements of a great teaching stack

Here are some of the major components of a teaching stack for a hands-on technology course:

Read more…


The dilemma of authentic learning: Do you destroy what you measure?

The challenge of translating the educational benefits of making.

Making and education clearly go hand in hand, but how do we quantify and share the results of authentic learning without losing its essence? That's the issue educators are currently facing.


School district first to permit cell phone use during standardized tests

Teaching to the txt

(Green Onion News Network) The Harper Valley School Board recently adopted a policy that allows students to use their cell phones to search for answers on state-mandated standardized tests.

Comments: 16

Tablets, education, and unions

Tablets can help students and track teachers, but not everyone is on board.

Tablet computing can help reverse the decline of U.S. education, but there's a side effect. Because tablets are digital, we can analyze how students learn and examine teachers' competence. It opens the question: What happens when the digital classroom challenges powerful teachers' unions?

Comments: 36
Four short links: 16 March 2010

Four short links: 16 March 2010

Platform Games, NoSQL Conf, Ratings, and How to Teach

  1. Government is an Elephant (Public Strategist) — if Government is to be a platform, it will end up competing with the members of its ecosystems (the same way Apple’s Dashboard competed with Konfabulator, and Google’s MyMaps competed with Platial). If you think people squawk when a company competes, just wait until the competition is taxpayer-funded ….
  2. Recordings from NoSQL Live Boston — also available in podcasts.
  3. Modeling Scale Usage Heterogeneity the Bayesian Way — people use 1-5 scales in different ways (some cluster around the middle, some choose extremes, etc.). This shows how to identify the types of users, compensate for their interpretation of the scale, and how it leads to more accurate results.
  4. Building a Better Teacher — fascinating discussion about classroom management that applies to parenting, training, leading a meeting, and many other activities that take place outside of the school classroom. (via Mind Hacks)
Comments Off on Four short links: 16 March 2010