Sunday, March 4, 2012


I just got back from SIGCSE 2012 As always they put on an amazing event hosting over 1200 computer science educators.

My "Yarn-Saver" sock pattern
It is a bit odd being a high school teacher at these events. Our world differs so much from the  college arena. A great example is the obsession with posters. In high school this means busy work festooned with bubble letters and glitter. I can only assume the college level posters have a higher purpose.

I attended because of the CS Principles Pilot. Plugging along on the project this year feels isolating at times. I worry that I am not doing this correctly. This fades when I get a chance to talk to the other piloters, so it was great to have a mini-reunion. SIGCSE has renewed my energy in building my pilot course, along with a huge to do list.

Goal: End the isolation and get surrounded by lots of great CS teachers, local and elbow to elbow.

Luckily attending SIGCSE also means sitting in on other great presentations. My personal favorite was the paper presented by Michelle Craig about knitting pattern's and program tracing. My own knitting bias aside, it was a very interesting take on how new programmers acquire language. For instance the repeat-until structure is mroe intuitively obvious to a novice that the typical while structure we introduce.

I'd also add that we create knitting patterns to create artifacts. This can get lost for new programmers. No one wants my dusty pile of knitting magazines, but  most of my family and friends appreciate the socks they describe. Or at least they pretend to, and some days that's all that counts.

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