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Comment: Re:Certified != Competent (Score 1) 700

by dmiller1984 (#48980849) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?
I apparently chose not to read that part. I agree that the classes aren't where you necessarily learn how to be a teacher. I think management is emphasized because that is what most teachers fail at early on in their careers. You learn your pedagogy from your supervising teacher during student teaching, but that can be a bad thing if you don't have a good supervising teacher.

Comment: Re:Perhaps use Waze's analytics against it (Score 1) 611

by dmiller1984 (#48603537) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

If it looks for passive movement data, why not create a bunch of accounts and put some old cell phones to good use broadcasting traffic data? Hook them up to wireless, use a VPN if needed to mask the IP, and show "cars" stopped. You could add in accident reports to make it more realistic. Maybe even some VMs running an iPhone simulator to increase the number of spoofed cars. Remember, technology is your friend if used correctly; just don't get any on you...

The problem is there would be more cars moving through the area than the "stopped" cars. Waze ignores obviously false reports as it states in the article.

Comment: Bucking the Trend (Score 1) 415

So the trend seems to be to give the OS away for free as Apple, Google, Linux (for the most part) are doing. Microsoft decides to be different any make people constantly pay for the OS instead of just paying up front. Sounds like a great plan, and I really hope it stays in the rumor realm.

Comment: Re:Why all the fuss about Common Core? (Score 1) 273

by dmiller1984 (#46475509) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

Also, most states only have one of these evaluative tests a year, so you're not comparing students to their own scores, you're comparing them to the scores of the previous year's class.

If that's how the test is being interpreted, the administrators are idiots. You have test results for each class from last year, look at the difference between those results and the results from this year. That gives you the change in test results as affected by the teacher under scrutiny.

This isn't quantum loop gravity, if your only argument against holding teachers to a standard is that the administration is too stupid to apply one correctly, then it's time to nuke the whole district and start over.

It's harder than it seems. First of all, it's the states who administer these exams, not the schools. The public schools have no choice as to how or when these exams are administered. Students are held to different standards during each school year so comparing them to their scores from the previous year doesn't make sense since the material isn't the same. Also, how do you evaluate teachers who teach non-core subjects such as music, PE, or computer science? The whole data driven movement in schools is fine, but not everything in education can be quantified. Teaching is more of an art than it is a science.

Comment: Re:Why all the fuss about Common Core? (Score 1) 273

by dmiller1984 (#46474719) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

"First off, getting stuck with a class of crappy students can cost you your job . . ."

No, that's not how the evaluations would work. The improvement of individual students could be tracked and evaluated against the standard.

"Once they receive tenure, they should no longer be subject to evaluation . . ."

That should not be true of anyone.

Is it really fair to judge a teacher on a test that doesn't mean anything to the students? Also, most states only have one of these evaluative tests a year, so you're not comparing students to their own scores, you're comparing them to the scores of the previous year's class. So the class of crappy students certainly could cost a teacher their job if their previous class was much better.

Comment: Re:On Education (Score 3, Interesting) 161

by dmiller1984 (#46163233) Attached to: Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess)

This has been tried before and it's been found to not work. It's one of the few things in education that has been pretty much proven not to work. I just read an article the other day about seperating by gender, and it just serves to reinforce sterotypes when the genders are not together. Boys are allowed more freedom to move around since "boys will be boys" when there are girls who could use freedom of movement as well. If you were going to break up classes, break them up by the way they learn.

Comment: Re:the real reason (Score 1) 325

by dmiller1984 (#46014139) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests. You can either study for just your real final exams that actually go into your grades or you can add in an even harder test that benefits you in no way. Hmm, tough one. Oh and they typically charge money to take the tests as well.

That's not true at all. You can go to the College Board website and search by school to find what they offer credit for. I got half a semester of credit from AP exams when I was in high school.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Is Javascript a Good Idea for a Beginning Programming Course?

Submitted by dmiller1984
dmiller1984 (705720) writes "I have a dilemma. I teach high school computer courses, and I am considering teaching my introductory programming course using Javascript. When I first started teaching in my current school the course used VB6, but I quickly moved over to Visual BASIC .NET. After starting up an AP Computer Science course using Java, I changed my intro course to C# since it is closer to Java than VB. I liked the XNA framework that Microsoft created, but, now that XNA will no longer be supported, I decided I should move my intro class to something new. I thought teaching Javascript would help connect the course better to my web design courses, but I know there are some potential pitfalls to this approach. Here are the pros and cons I can think of:

Javascript Pros
  1. Easier language to learn for beginners.
  2. Games and programs can be easily published to the web.
  3. Platform-agnostic.
  4. A lot of decent game engines are available now for web game development using Javascript.

Javascript Cons

  1. Dynamic variable types.
  2. Lack of a lot of OOP functionality.
  3. Not as many good IDEs for debugging Javascript.
  4. It's Javascript.

I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on this change, but I worry that some of Javascript's pitfalls will affect my students when they move on to AP Computer Science or a college computer science course. Does anyone have any thoughts to add, or is there any point I made that's entirely off base?"

The use of money is all the advantage there is to having money. -- B. Franklin