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Cool New Podcasts for Teachers and Students

Over 1000 computer science educators gathered recently in Portland Oregon for the 2008 ACM Sigcse conference, giving us a chance to interview more people thinking and doing interesting things for our CSTA Snipits podcast collection

The 39th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education provided a wide selection of technical sessions and opportunities for teachers to network and to learn. The topics ranged from innovative strategies for increasing classroom diversity to hands-on techniques with applications and curriculum. I love the excitement of SIGCSE, the opportunities to catch up with friends, and the discovery of new and innovative teaching strategies. I managed to catch up with a few presenters and participants who I thought you would value hearing from.

Check out our growing CSTA Snips podcast collection and listen in on these new conversations about teaching and computer science at:


Using Mario Brothers to Teach Inheritance Concepts with Terrence Mason and Bruce Johnston
Medium: MP3
Listening Time: 8 min.
Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
Interview Date: March 2008
Terrence Mason and Bruce Johnston, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Bruce and Terry have a goal in their CS1 course to reduce the “excitement deficit” found in many beginning computer science courses. In our visit they describe how they use a familiar computer game to teach inheritance concepts and to reduce that deficit. The project worked so well that students were heard cheering at their own programming successes. Now that’s something to look into!
While inheritance is generally a difficult concept for beginning students to master, it remains an important CS concept to teach for the utility and power it brings to CS. The familiarity of the game functionality enables students to more easily comprehend the topic, identify objects, and construct the inheritance hierarchy. More information is available at http://www.cfkeep.org/html/snapshot.php?id=27944194178976

Teaching Students about Electronic Privacy with Flo Appel
Medium: MP3
Listening Time: 9 min.
Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
Interview Date: March 2008
Florence Appel, Saint Xavier University

Why is it most important for educators to teach about privacy issues? How do educators teach these concepts? How do we get our students to value their privacy? And how do we teach them to balance their privacy and security with convenience? As I listened to Flo, I found myself thinking that her words were valuable not only for me professionally, but also personally, as I deal with these modern-world issues. She describes how public spaces including the internet impact students, invade privacy, and ultimately, impact personal security. Recommended resources for parents, teachers, and students are available at the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/kidzprivacy/).

Pat Philips
CSTA Podmeister

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