Learning is a Lifelong Endeavor
There are still two weeks left in the school year, but time has really flown by at an frenetic rate. It has been a great year, with many learning opportunities for the students and myself. The great thing about teaching is that you are always learning, not at a workshop or institute necessarily, but from the students. I can really see the point of Web 2.0 more than ever before. The K12 Online Conference really helped me tie together the loose ends. If you have not looked at some of the sessions from last year, visit the conference blog.
The organizers are starting to rumble for this upcoming conference in October. I took the conference for graduate credit this time around; in turn, I learned a great deal about Web 2.0 tools and developed my own blogging skills further.
Post AP Computer Science Examination Time
There has been some talk on some major contributors in the Computer Science Education area about what topics, activities, and resources they are using AFTER the AP examination. Brian Scarbeau is showing episodes the CODE ROOM as a way of entertaining students. I really think it is a great idea. David Jacobus is showing the students ASP.net using the Microsoft curriculum called Curlique. Alfred Thompson points out that another teacher is teaching some XNA after the test. All of these individuals have a great deal of experience compared to me, but I took the chance to do something completely different.
I really only had about three weeks for post-AP exam activities with the class. The first week was spent learning about applets. At the end of the week, we were discussing layout managers, panels, frames, etc… All of the sudden I received an email from the Technology Directory. Every year, the district orders computer kits for the Computer Hardware class so they can learn how to put computer systems together. Tasks include unpacking all material, hooking up all internal connections, adding all peripherals to the barebones computers, and maintaining their work area. This year, they ordered a few more systems than the Computer Hardware has on their roster. So my AP Computer Science A students combined with the Computer Hardware class (both are the same period) to build actual comptuer sytems.
I went home after making the decision to allow them to join in the making of computers systems, and I really felt great about my decision. Here, we have been hammering at computer code the entire year, I felt we could take one week out of the time to actually build the device we depend so much on in class. It is one thing if you have an infinite loop, but what if your jumpers are not configured correctly and the restart button turns into the power button. What if the hard drive is not partitioned? Part of the Computer Science A curriculum is learning about computer hardware. My class truly learned, use sensory learning, instead of reading it in a book.