The University of Michigan’s Carl Berger did some statistical analyses a while back of the faculty at his school. Long story short, we’re now seeing net-generation instructors as well as students. The future always arrives too soon, but in the wrong order.
Lots of people have said that computer science students should read code as well as write it. Not many people have gone the next step and designed a course around that idea, which is why I was excited to read Jason Montojo’s recent post, and the course outline he has put together. Jason did several undergrad projects with me, is one of the co-authors on Practical Programming, and plans to finish his M.Sc. in a few months—if anyone can pull this off, he can, and I’m sure he’d welcome your feedback.
GDB 7 will have “reverse step”, “reverse continue”, and several other commands to step backward through a program’s execution. This is seriously cool—I wonder whether it will make debugging concurrent programs easier too?
As Blake posted recently, a new beta of Thunderbird 3 is available, and the full release is coming up fast — congratulations!
Why don’t students like school? It isn’t a rhetorical question—at least, not to cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, who writes a column for American Educator magazine, and whose new book seeks to answer that topical question. The chapter titles are a good guide to the content:
- Why don’t students like school?
- How can I teach students the skills they need when standardized tests require only facts?
- Why do students remember everything that’s on television and forget everything I say?
- Why is it so hard for students to understand abstract ideas?
- Is drilling worth it?
- What’s the secret to getting students to think like real scientists, mathematicians, and historians?
- How should I adjust my teaching for different types of learners?
- How can I help slow learners?
- What about my mind?
The table at the end summarizes the cognitive principles underlying the answers, as well as classroom implications. For example, to answer question 7, Willingham summarizes what’s now known about Gardner’s theory of “multiple intelligences” (there’s much less to it than some people claim), then explains what teachers can or should do in the classroom to combine different kinds of content.
Willingham writes well, and gives two sets of references for each chapter (one to lighter-weight material, the other to primary scholarly works). My only complaints about the book are that it repeats itself in a few places (understandable, given its origin in a series of columns), that it’s set in a very small typeface, and that it’s too short: at 176 pages, it left me wanting more. Which, I suppose, is a good thing for any teacher to aim for…
Congratulations to the folks at Bakka Phoenix, Canada’s best SF bookstore, who have acquired new digs just a few minutes from campus. They’re not moving ’til next year, but I can already feel gravity tugging on the contents of my wallet…
A small beginning, but hopefully it will lead to bigger things:
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Ever heard of Masdar City? I hadn’t ’til this:
Consider this: Abu Dhabi ranks first in per capita carbon dioxide and green house gas emissions, with a footprint nearly five times the world average. Its economy is based on oil. Yet, its vision is to become the world leader in renewable energy and sustainable technologies – a breathtaking and audacious goal.
Uh huh. Forgive my scepticism, but top-down mega-projects have a poor track record unless they’re a response to a bottom-up groundswell—basically, unless the powers that be notice the train is leaving the station and try to jump on. Yes, we need investment to realign transportation and energy, changes to accounting and tax codes so that companies and individuals realize the full long-term cost of options, and much more, but $22 billion to create a new city in the desert? That I don’t think we need…