Blog Post

How Is Your Online Teaching Going?

How is your online teaching going? This is a common question I see in emails and on social media. There seems to be a common thread of anxiety in the responses: Teachers desiring to do the best for their students but struggling to adjust to a new world of remote instruction.

Photo of Myra Deister

 

I think about something Dan Meyer, head of teaching at Desmos, noted during a recent webinar and in a corresponding blog post, “We’re Only Getting Out of This Together.” According to Dan, “We’re trying to help teachers adapt to distance teaching, yes, but that’s really a secondary goal. Mainly, we’re trying to sustain community. ...I’m convinced that when teachers and students find the other side of this, it won’t be because edtech companies offered junk for free, it’ll be through community, through solidarity across all of our usual divisions and now across divisions of time and space as well.”

Stock photo of a computer

 

I know that I cannot deliver the same instruction online that I would in a face-to-face class. I wasn’t ready for the pivot to distance learning, and my students are still adjusting themselves. I am taking it slow, realizing that I will be unable to cover the same amount of material that I would in the classroom. However, I still need to prepare my AP Computer Science A students for their AP Exam and am investigating online resources that will enable me to do that as well as supplement my Introduction to Computer Science class. I also know that I need to cut myself some slack because some of my lessons will not go as planned. This is a new reality for all of us!

Here are some helpful resources that I have used prior to the school closures that I continue to use:

  • Repl.it – This is a free online IDE that supports Java, Java Swing, Python, and many more languages.
  • CS Awesome Curriculum – This is a free curriculum for AP Computer Science A that is online at Runestone. It has lessons and many different types of practice problems.
  • WeTeach_CS Videos – This is a set of free computer science videos on YouTube.
  • Quizizz – A free online multiple-choice or multiple selection quizzing game program where you can search for previously made quizzes or questions or create your own. You can also edit someone else’s quiz by making a copy and then making changes.
  • Mentimeter – An online poll and question creator. I have used the Word Cloud feature to decide which assignment problems to review.
  • Zoom – A video-conferencing tool. I use Zoom with my classes because it allows me to divide the students into groups and put each group into a Zoom room. It also lets students react with symbols or ask questions in the chat.
  • Quizlet – A vocabulary review site. Last year my students inputted the AP Computer Science A vocabulary. I also have vocabulary inputted for Code.org’s CS Discovery Curriculum.
  • Crash Course Videos – These videos are posted on YouTube and cover a wide range of computer science topics. I find them very informative.
  • EdPuzzle – This is a good free online tool to assign videos to your students. EdPuzzle gives the teacher the capability to crop videos, pause the video to ask questions, add a voice comment, add a written note, or annotate. It also tracks the percentage of the video each student has viewed. It does not work with videos uploaded to Vimeo.

Here Are Some of Tools I Might Try:

  • Code.org Code Break – A weekly interactive classroom with Hadi Partovi and a special guest. They are scheduled on Wednesdays 1 pm ET/10 am PT.
  • codeHS – An online curriculum for computer science that includes AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, Cybersecurity, Mobile Apps, and more. I plan to try out their online IDE for Java Swing. CodeHS is offering to upgrade to pro for schools that have been closed due to COVID-19. Click on this link to learn more.
  • UC Davis C-STEM Center – An online curriculum for computer science. They are offering their curriculum for free. After you complete their form, they will contact you for your district supervisor for curriculum and instruction. Their curriculum offers math with coding and robotics.
  • Java Visualizer – A free online tool hosted by University of Waterloo that allows the user to view the execution of their code line by line and see the output.
  • Jdoodle - Online IDE for 72 languages which includes java, python, and many others.
  • Test&Track – An online curriculum that has practice problems, quizzes, and tests. It shows the progress of students, who say it is self-motivating. They will extend your trial period to two months.
  • abstractingCS - Jill Westerlund and Gina McCarley have opened up their resources to anyone to prepare for the AP CS A exam and the AP CS P Performance Tasks. They have other resources on their site, too. You should check it out.

Teacher Training: 

  • Coursera – Beth Simon, a UC-San Diego professor, is offering her teacher training courses for free to help you through this time.

Additional List of Resources:

 

What resources have you found helpful that you can share?

 
Myra Deister is a computer science and mathematics teacher at Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton, CA. She earned a Bachelor's degree from California State University-Long Beach with a major in mathematics and a minor in business education. Additionally, she holds Masters' degrees in software engineering from National University and education and mathematics from California State University-Fullerton. In addition to serving on the CUE (Computer Using Educator) board, she serves on the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Southern California/OC/Inland Empire Chapters boards. Deister was a member of the California Computer Science Standards Committee, the California Mathematics Framework Focus Group and served on the CSTA board for 8 years.

Comments

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Profile picture for user shhsTeacher
Submitted by Myra Deister on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:30

I just found another resource Mathigon.com.  I use math puzzles to begin my class while I am waiting from stragglers to join the Zoom meeting.  Mathigon has interactive math puzzles and it integrates with Google Classroom.  Coming Soon is a chapter on Codes and Cyphers that includes Binary Numbers.  The site is free.

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Profile picture for user shhsTeacher
Submitted by Myra Deister on Tue, 06/02/2020 - 16:04

Another great resource is commonlit.org.  The site has technology articles that can be selected by grade level.  It is completely free and will continue to be free.  Please check it out and let me know what you think!

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Profile picture for user Rclang1
Submitted by Rebekah Lang on Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:31

What a great collection of resources! I like https://www.deltamath.com for binary conversions, boolean, and pseudocode practice.