When Class is Fun

Last week got away from me.  It’s hiring season, so I’ve been in a million phone and face-to-face interviews on top of the rest of my classes and meetings.  I also spent last weekend at SIGCSE in Memphis, trying to do 3 or 4 things at once.  As I mentioned, we did a college visit.  I also spent some time with friends from my alma mater and my mother.  But most of the weekend, I was with my CSTA colleagues working on standards, which is more fun than it sounds like.  It was an interesting process.  But all that meant I didn’t get a lot done last weekend.

In between all that, I’m doing my day job, aka teaching.  Right now, I’m teaching a Physical Computing class and a Mobile Computing class. And both are fun for different reasons.  Both classes have really risen to the challenge, and have dealt with the fact that I don’t have all the answers.  That’s what happens when you let kids choose their own projects.  They’re going to do things you’ve never done.

In the Mobile Computing class, the class is divided into two teams and we’re participating in a competition.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of the apps they’re developing, and they look pretty good.  It took a while for the teams to get into their groove and figure out how to work together.  It’s funny because a microcosm of that happened while I was working with my group on the standards.  We spent an hour figuring out how to work together and then cruised through.  The teams still have to make a pitch for their app, a demo, and a business plan.  And we only have about 3 weeks to get all that done.

IMG_20160308_101108913In Physical Computing, we just started working on projects as the parts just came in.  Some things are working.  Some things are not.  But everyone is excited and going with the flow. Even when I’m helping students, there’s a real sense that we’re working together.  It’s not just me solving a problem.  We’re both Googling for answers, going down different paths.  There’s a nice camaraderie that’s developed in the class.

Yes, I have to write reports over the weekend, but both classes are fun and so I’m kind of looking forward to writing about the progress the students have made.  If you want to follow along, check out our blogs at Mobile Computing and Physical Computing.