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October 2012

September 2012

Why I am not going to Grace Hopper 2012

Yes, I had made arrangements to go to #ghc2012.  I had paid an Early Bird Registration, booked a hotel and flight, and even made reservations with Super Shuttle.  Had been discussing it with our Associate Principal with Instruction.

However, I didn't realize that our approval process on Staff Development had changed and I was asking the wrong person permission to go.

BUT the real reason.

The kids.

I've ended up with a much bigger course load than I had expected.  In fact, I had expected an easier year.  We have a lot more students at our school that we expected and the technology electives are down a teacher.  That means I have a lot more students than I have ever had.

It also means that my students are at a lower level and less independent.  I just finished making a movie over an assignment for my AP students.  If they had been my PreAP students they would have knocked out that assignment in about 5 minutes, and gotten it right.  Okay, maybe a whole class period. 

I left one class early by 30 minutes for a doctor's appointment and no work got turned in.  I can't imagine what chaos will happen if I am goine for 4 days.

Writing Curriculum is no different than writing another other large system


So when you develop a large program, be it an operating system, a time keeping system, or any other large piece of software, you are doing the exact sort of thing that you do when you develop the curriculum for a new course.

You have documentation to start with – in the case of a course, the TEKS and the standardized testing that might go with it.  AP Computer Science course description and the AP Computer Science test is one example.

You have an IDE.  In my case, Word and Moodle.

You even get to do some user interfaces, etc. 

Why I have my students look up vocabulary

Each week  I have each of my students look up the vocabulary for the week.  It’s my first assignment for the week.

I started that with my web mastery course.

First I believe strongly in consistency.  My students know that on Monday morning they are going to see a new topic and they are going to get a new set of vocabulary words to look up.

Second, it gives them a chance to sharpen up their internet searching skills.  One of my favorite, mis-defined words of the week this week was class for my web design students was “class”.  I wanted the definition as it relates to XHTML, and they gave me lots of other definitions.  Not all, as they had already caught on to the fact, I wanted a very specific set of definitions.

Finally it helps with the exam.  We have a district final and both the students and teachers struggle with it because we don’t have a clue what is on it.  One of the test writers (I’m often one), got the brilliant idea years ago to produce a vocabulary list as a review and that’s helped a lot.

Some of us give the kids the vocabulary list at the end of the semester, but I’m finding it’s better to give the list as we go, and then use the list as a review.

Besides, then the kids know what I am talking about when we discuss our assignments.

Getting Ready for #GHC2012

Now don’t get me wrong, if I get a scholarship to #GHC2012, I am taking it, gladly.  I was very concerned as I had done some extra work for my district to pay for my #GHC2012 Hotel bill and had gotten that money in my August check so I was getting cold feet.  I’ve got a single room at one of the cheaper hotels, but still, its $150 a night plus all the assorted taxes.  Yikes!

And while I had a roommate I didn’t know last year and that worked out really well, I really just like to have space to myself.  Especially with all the diabetes baggage.

Well, I looked at my pay stub today and the pay was there!  Yeah! Cold feet are warm again.  Still can’t really afford it, and should spend the money on something else, BUT that’s what I was working towards.

Dulce and I are looking forward to the trip.

Even mentioned it to some of my school coworkers today and they said that was the perfect time to visit Baltimore and I had to visit the harbor.  They thumbs up the hotel choice.

Not long to go!

Moodle–Moving a Unit

I’m quite proud of myself.

I have created a unit on Copyright for my PreAP Computer Science class.  I wanted to use that same unit in my Game Programming class.

I backed up just that topic (note, in the future, I would move that unit to the bottom of the course).

Then I downloaded the backup file.

Then I uploaded it to the Game Programming Course and restored it.

Only problem was that the Copyright unit ended up in the middle of an existing unit.  Easy enough to move.

Even the quiz questions got added to the Game Programming course!