Thursday, January 31, 2013

Professional Development in Computer Science is hurting

A study by the University of Chicago's Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education and the Urgan Education Institue of high school computer science teacher professional development appears to me to be lacking if we want to invest in our future.  Look at this infographic and tell me it looks like a bright future that we must all wear shades.

The Landscape of Computer Science Professional Development

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What will you LEARN this year?

I'm not one for new years resolutions.  However, my smart and good-looking wife convenced me I need a learning plan.  Time to learn something new.  Time to become a beginner again, to struggle with a challenge, to wonder how I could ever know all this new knowledge.  So tonight my learning plan is due - or I pay her $100.  I'm not sure I remember making that part of the deal last week.

So my plan is to learn a new programming language.  I use to know modern languages.  But time keeps falling through the hour glass.  A colleague shocked me when he said that Java was a dead language.  That it is stagnant and Oracle has killed it.  Ouch!  In 5 - 10 years I'm going to be one of the grey hairs that only knows dead languages (Basic, Fortran, C, Java).  Like those Cobol developers in the 80s & 90s.  Oh, sure they had a hey-day in 1999 with the Year-2000 bug.

I'm selecting Ruby as a new language.  And on top of that I don't want to play on PCs any more.  Talk about dead-end systems.  Modern develop jumped to the mobile platforms in 2008 with the release of the iOS developer platforms.  So I'm going to learn a bit of the iOS stack.  I've found a great tool-chain (what ever that new term means), the RubyMotion ($200) iOS development ... thingy.  It is more than a compiler and a set of libraries.

Largely my study plan is to read the great book by Clay Allsopp RubyMotion: iOS Development with Ruby.  While at the same time do all the example programs and run them in the awesome iOS simulator from Apple in XCode.  I'm a big fan of the IDE, and I've not found one yet.  But the command line interface of this tool-chain is not bad.  Having to remember to save the file before running rake was a first stumbling block.  Maybe my editor TextMate has an autosave feature.  Well there is lots of new stuff to learn here.

If you are interested in going along on this adventure, drop me a note.  I'll share my plan and schedule and we can learn together.  I always do much better in a group.

It is a new year - learn something new and exciting!