Former student developing useful libraries

A former I.B. Computer Science student of Mr. Wachs’ currently working on a doctorate in Computer Science developed a code library for use called SIGIL. He describes it: SIGIL stands for Sound, Input, and Graphics Integration Library. It is meant to be a mind-bogglingly simple alternative to other, more complex libraries when all you want is to make a small game, teach basic 2D graphics, or otherwise remove the complexities of media programming from your C or C++ code. It’s also cross-platform! It’s designed to be really easy to use.

What platforms does SIGIL support? At the moment, SIGIL supports MinGW32, MSVC 10 2010 (32- and 64-bit), MSVC 11 2012 (32- and 64-bit), MSVC 12 2013 (32- and 64-bit), MSVC 14 2015 (32- and 64-bit), Linux GCC, and the Raspberry Pi. Plans are underway to make SIGIL increasingly cross-platform. Read more about it here

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Do we still need Computer Science teachers?

These days it seems like “how to learn coding yourself” opportunities are everywhere. There are MOOCs from major universities, code.org has great online tutorials, Facebook just opened a website called TechPrep to help parents and students alike find resources and tools, and there seems to be a new edtech company starting up every week with online CS resources. The question for many becomes “do we still need computer science teachers?” The CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) Research Committee has been analyzing the High School survey results from May and below are some of the highlights. A detailed Summary of Results is available on our website.

  • 51% of the survey respondents have computer science teaching experience of 15 years or more
  • 45% of the teachers reported that computer science courses make up 50-75% of their teaching load.
  • 66% of the teachers reported that they are offering a CS principals course
  • 79% of the teachers reported that they offer the APCS A course.
  • 68% of those who offer APCS A course reported that half of their course enrollment are female, and between 20-40% are underrepresented minorities.
  • Majority of the teachers (68%) also reported that CS enrollment has increased in the past 3 years

These statistics are encouraging for the outlook of CS education and what is going on in the High Schools at this time. However, this data is self-reported and we need to examine ways to triangulate the numbers, especially the APCS-A enrollment numbers

Source: The CSTA Advocate Blog

The TOK teacher becomes the student, but in a REALLY nice place

So, for the next four days I am attending a workshop given by the I.B. about the changes to the Theory of Knowledge curriculum and how to best implement those changes in best practice teaching to my students. It is always hard to be away from my classroom during the school year. Whether through illness for myself, my children, etc. it is hard for me to break the stride of my teaching routine. Those who have been in my classroom probably would attest to the fact that I am a fairly structured person (some might even say ‘too’ structured). As a result, leaving my classroom for 3 days (actually 4 in total, but 3 away from the classroom) is hard for me. But, there is two benefits to compensate for the negative: first, is the learning I am acquiring to better inform my teaching practice in my TOK classroom, especially since I will again be teaching the grade 11 TOK course this year. And secondly, the only place this TOK workshop was going on this year was in Florida! Leaving Winnipeg the night before a large snowstorm and cold snap and

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heading to Florida where it is +28 Celsius outside and sunny right now is certainly a benefit. As well, the conference is held in a resort hotel with amazing accommodations. For example, lunch today was an amazing Mexican food smorgasbord as seen here:

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It was amazing. And to continue the torture of any of my student currently reading this post, here is a shot I took of a seagull I saw on my way to my “classroom” for today’s conference:

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And, lastly, after lunch today, I had a little time before my afternoon session – so I went for a walk along the ocean beach and took this shot of some of the activities right beside my hotel:

Have fun kids, be good, get some work done, and be nice to the substitute!

Day 2…

Some more pics, including my classroom to make sure the kids know I’m actually not on vacation:

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