Of course in some high school computer science programs this gets taken to a bit of an extreme with several levels of computer science courses being taught in the same room by the same teacher at the same time. I’m constantly amazed at how well so many teachers handle this sort of thing.
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson : Beware Boring The Smart Kids
I resemble the above remark.
There are several reasons why I do it. If I didn’t offer AP Computer Science at the same time as I teach other classes, I wouldn’t have any students. I do draw a line on this – they have to be in a CS class, not a planning period or a tech period.
I also am very strict about the prerequisite, so when the AP student walks into the room, they know what to expect.
It’s funny but I was laughing at myself, I have a Georgia Tech robot, and I’m planning on taking it to school and getting my AP Kid (yes, there year I think I only have one), to write programs to make it work. I’m also planning on using Media Computation.
And yes, I point them in the right direction and get out of the way (it’s probably a direct quote from something I said a workshop.
In fact, I said to someone today that I was going to throw a bunch of really interesting stuff at him and if his head didn’t explode he’d probably get a 5 on the test. Unfortunately I think his head will explode.
But here’s the deal – when I teach AP CS on it’s own I get incredibly bored myself. I had 10 max students and they stay busy working. My enrollment is lower these days and I would lose students if my schedule wasn’t flexible.
The good news, the kids that heads don’t explode make a 5 on the exam and usually go on to major in CS. It must work.
I also teach regular CS (Visual Basic) and PreAP (Java) at the same time. I use some “tricks” to do this. First, I record my instructions. I find that students prefer to listen to recorded instructions they can stop. At the same time, we still do discussions, especially on the fly when someone has a problem.
However, I believe in teaching a project based course, and 80% of my time is spent waiting on them giving me something to grade.