Remembering Kristen Nygaard

Remembering Pioneers

I find myself in Vancouver at SIGGRAPH 2014. This was the same location of my first conference back at OOPSLA 1992. I was still an undergraduate student in Computer Science at the University of Victoria, Bjorn Freeman-Benson was my professor of a topic course in Object-Oriented Programming and had invited us to be volunteers at some conference in Vancouver.  Little did I know that this would lead to me volunteering with OOPSLA, SIGPLAN and the ACM from 1994 through 2007 as a member of the conference organizing committee.

Strange how one small event leads to so much in life. I could write volumes about how OOPSLA has impacted mine.

Simula 67


Dahl and Nygaard

The fathers of Object-Oriented Programming

Kristen Nygaard left us on August 10th, 2002. I bring up OOPSLA because that is where I had the great pleasure to meet the co-inventor of object-oriented programming.  Kristen was invited as the keynote speaker for the educator’s symposium at OOPSLA 2001 in Tampa Bay, Florida.  That was months after the events of 911 and the anthrax scare local to the area of our event. As it turns out, our attendance was much lower than a typical OOPSLA conference.

Small Conference, Big Contacts

A conference with less people at OOPSLA that year led to a “tighter” feeling for those of us that made the journey. Kristen gave an inspirational talk for us educators. I do not remember the details of his presentation but he uttered one quote that still sticks in my mind and I repeat to my students often: “Computers were made to help me work, not make me work”. This was spoken in the context of why Kristen was using a Mac instead of a PC.  Remember kids that in these days a Mac was a rarity in a room of educators, quite opposite to what we experience today.

After his conference I had the pleasure to share drinks with Kristen in the hotel lobby and he invited me to lead the charge in Latin America for his COOL (Comprehensive Object-Oriented Learning) project. He wanted to change the way we taught computing and I was excited to play a part in that.

Projects are led by People

Unfortunately Kristen left us in 2002. I brought up my emails from Kristen from that time this morning and was pleased to find many familiar names on the list he was sending too. Many people I respect but had forgotten were on the list for this grand project. I think many projects die with their leaders, it is sad that way.  I wonder what would have happened with COOL if Kristen had remained another decade to see it launch. We’ll never know.


Big Five Workout

Summer is a Time for Shift

Time for a workout but first some reflection on summer.

I very rarely teach very the summer. The main reason is that I really like to use this time to reflect and plan for the next academic year. I have a bunch of posts in the queue on teaching which I need to get out soon. My shift to coaching other teachers in Flipped Learning and technology in education over the last six months really restricted the time I wanted to use for posting

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F is for Flexible Environment

Pillars of Flipped Learning

Flipped Learning Network LogoThe Flipped Learning Network (FLN) announced a formal definition of the term “Flipped Learning” back in March, you should go read that definition on their site here.

You may choose to agree with parts and have disagreements with other parts of the definition but I think it is important that the FLN set out this definition to give us talking points and a concrete document to point people to

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First Steps with Flipped Professional Development

Flipped Professional Development

This week I started a course on Flipped Learning for about 70 teachers in the RZO (Rectoria Zona Occidente) as part of their professional development program. This course is given online in a format that is an experiment for myself and the teachers in the course.

I’ve never done a course like this and this is the first time that I am teaching to people that I can’t reach out and physically touch in the classroom. There are in fact two colleagues from Campus Guadalajara in the course so I have some direct feedback which I think will help me.

My Fears

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Why I Teach April 2014 Edition

What it means to Teach

What it means to Teach and Learn
This morning I received a message from a student which made my day.

Happy birthday Ken! And thanks for what you do every day for students and education. I follow you on Twitter (I am a quiet twitter) and I admire the passion with which you promote this new style of education. You are certainly one of the best teachers I had in my school days. Regards!

This is why I teach. I have the ability to impact the way students learn and prepare for life-long learning. In fact lately I’ve been trying to have a larger impact by sharing my experiences and ideas with other teachers.

Of course, I learn from my students and colleagues at least as much as they learn from me.

Photo Credit

Original photo courtesy of theashutosh@flickr


Flipped Mastery Classes

I’m finishing up my 4th semester of applying a flipped classroom and with some encouragement from my peers I decided to “take it to the next level” this semester. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams call this the Flipped Mastery Method.

This semester my classes have a list of topics that each student needs to demonstrate their mastery in. The format for showing their mastery is completely open and graded on an OSU (Outstanding, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory) scale.

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Focus on the Goal

focus courtesy

Click image for original source.

Trying to Focus

We are getting into the heart of our semester here at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara and the students are writing their “first partial” exams this week and next. I mentioned on Facebook that my writing dropped off while trying to kick off two of my main projects for this year.

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ACM Student Chapter

Our ACM Student Chapter

I was the faculty sponsor when we first formed our Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) student chapter back in 2002. The chapter went dormant after a few years of great success.

Last year (actually back in the Fall of 2012), some students (in particular Manuel Becerra) reactivated our chapter and have been doing an excellent job organizing events and growing our local student chapter.

We won an award last evening which I was unable to attend, but here is the scanned reward to share this with everyone involved.

So Proud

Good job everyone, keep up the good work.

ACM Student Chapter, local award

ACM Student Chapter, local award