Happy Tau Day and Summer of PD

Hi all, and, although I’m partial to pi, a very happy numerical day to its cousin tau (tau = 2•pi, or approximately 6.28…).

Today was also the kickoff day for two different professional development workshops I’m co-facilitating. I’m actually involved in 5 different PDs this summer, including:

  • CS Praxis Study Sessions
  • Intro to Artificial Intelligence for Educators
  • Python Programming Advanced for AI
  • AI for Educators Follow-Up
  • Mobile App Development


The fifth workshop is probably the one I’m most excited about. It’s actually based on a two-course curriculum for high school seniors in Mobile App Development (with Java and Android Studio, meant to be taken after the AP Computer Science A course), which I’ve been developing informally over the past three years, and formally with a team writing into actual lesson plans, unit plans, rubrics, answer keys, teacher guides, and other resources for the past six months. App Dev 1 is all about learning the Android system, coding apps with user interface and user interaction, using object oriented programming to organize and improve your apps, and using databases and other data storage and retrieval features to use and access persistent and real-time data with your apps. Over the course of App Dev 1, students also learn git/github, collaboration tools, and the software development process, including working on multiple releases (each time with more and better features) of one app. App Dev 2 is a capstone course, where students work on one major project the whole semester and really dig into the app development process (including some pieces of agile development) while designing and building an app that helps the community in some way.

This will be my fourth summer facilitating trainings with Maryland Center for Computing Education, and/or its partner organizations MarylandCodes and CS Matters in Maryland. 2018 was a week at University of Maryland College Park, 2019 a week at Hood College in Frederick. Last year with the move to online/remote trainings, MCCE and MarylandCodes grew their PD offerings from only 5-6 the year before to 27, and this summer I’m told over 700 teachers/educators are signed up for over 50 distinct workshop offerings! I’m thrilled to be a small part of that growth, and to be bringing computer science to more and more folks across the state and beyond!

Happy Tau Day, and happy summer! May you always be learning and trying new things!

Nick

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