Save your Files in Dropbox for Revision Control

Don't Panic

Dropbox for Scratch Files

Don't PanicI save my scratch code for showing to students in Dropbox for various reasons but mainly so I can get to the code from any computer I happen to be using (yeah, I have too many computers).

This morning I was showing my students how to solve a particular problem in Python for our programming class. The main teaching goal here was to show them the process of developing code towards a final solution.

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Creating Videos for Flipping Your Classes


As part of my experiment in flipping my classrooms, I searched for options for producing videos.  My university campus provides support to create fully produced videos but I wanted something lightweight that I could use myself to produce videos using my laptop.

There are many options available for whichever platform you are using. I tried some free options and some non-free options and made a decision to put a small investment into a tool for producing videos.

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Yes I think kids should code.

kids can code

Is it worth teaching young kids to code?

Mark Guzdial’s “Computing Education Blog” is at the top of my personal list of education blogs to follow, there is always good content and great insight there. I hope to get a chance to bounce ideas off him someday soon.

Today he posted about “Is it worth teaching young kids to code?“.  I recommend you go read the post yourself as well as the original article that he is referring to from Wired.com.

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Make Office Hours Attractive to Students

Office Hours

I used to set my office hours and really not be concerned about promoting them beyond the obligatory publishing the available hours in my course syllabus.

The video here (courtesy of PHD Comics which I highly recommend) is something any teacher or teaching assistant can identify with. We’ve all had this experience and we do our best to not have our head explode while in this scenario.

This year I have been working to make my office hours utilized and useful to my students and myself. Here I will share some of the tools and tips I have for this.

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Engage Your Students

Kathy Cassidy with a student
Kathy Cassidy with a student

This afternoon I received an email from one of my students of the typical “I am really embarrassed to ask you and this is probably a dumb question” type.

You know the type of question, these tend to appear sometime after the first exams when students feel stressed about their marks and are looking for guidance on how to move forward.

This time of the semester is also when students have that awkward feeling of “it is too late to say I have no clue about your course, have not read the book nor installed the software on my laptop that I need”, “the teacher is going to explode if I tell her/him that, so I better just hide and hope the problem goes away”.

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This Thank You is for my Students

Thanks to all my students
Thanks to all my students

On Monday I attended a nice ceremony to receive an award for being among a group of faculty that have “left a mark on our students”.  Apparently this puts me in the top 5% of faculty over the 70 year history of our university system at the Tecnológico de Monterrey here in Mexico.

Obviously those of us with a large number of semesters (and total number of groups taught) have an advantage, or I think that would be true. It is also obvious that the more recent semesters have more students and also more students that are connected to the internet in order to hear about the voting and cast their vote.

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Why I Teach

P1170047I write this post on the day of the 70th anniversary of the Tecnolócigo de Monterrey which is an appropriate time to reflect on my decision to a life as an academic.

Just this week one of my students (he never took a class with me but we interacted and still interact so I consider him one of my students) asked me to write about this. I know he has started teaching and perhaps is in a part of his life of deciding “what to do when he grows up”.

I of course never have grown up; I get older of course but I absolutely refuse to grow up.  Perhaps that is why I am still “in school” but this time on the “other side of the classroom”.

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Flipped Classroom Course and Notes

I will be teaching a professional development class this week on Flipping the Classroom (Thursday from 3pm-6pm) and we are already receiving requests for other sessions for those that cannot make it. I sure hope I live up to the demand for knowledge!

Since this is a class about flipping the class, I assigned a small amount of pre-course homework and hope that most of the students come prepared. Yes I know that teachers make the worst students, myself included.

I also want to point out a couple related posts while I am on the subject.

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