Teaching Computer Studies

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A few words from Geoffrey Kavanagh:

When I started teaching Computer Studies in 1979 (or as it has also been known, Computer Science) there was no specific qualification for the subject. I, like many of my peers had taken Computer Science in university. It was, at that time, considered to be part of Mathematics. The reason I mention this is that it will explain the style of the lessons and the other material that I have created over the years. You will find the style similar to that of many Mathematics textbooks.

For a few years in the 1980’s there were textbooks available for secondary teachers and their students. As these did not always meet the needs of our students, these books were supplemented by material that was written by classroom teachers such as myself. As a result, I accumulated a great deal of this material over the (many) years that I taught the subject as a secondary school teacher. All of the exercises, tests, exams and, lessons given here have been used with my secondary school students. Even if the programming language that you are using is not the same as the one that I used, you may get some ideas from the way that I have approached a particular topic.

I have also included my notes on teaching in general that may be helpful to you.

Some words of thanks. In order to help you make some sense of all of this material, I enlisted the aid of one my OISE students, Sean Lyon. Sean had the unenviable task of taking my previously published notes and producing a "web friendly" version. These notes were compiled and organized in written form by Laura Barsan and myself in the late 1990’s when I first started teaching the Computer Studies/Computer Science course at OISE. Since that time, I have continued to produce material for my students in the B.Ed. program and Sean suggested that it would be helpful to include that material along with the original document in a digital form that would make it easier for students to access the material.

The two sets of material are intended to complement each other. The "Teaching Compter Studies" notes (in the DOWNLOAD section) should be read first and then the information on this site.

I have decided to group the material into two sections:

General Teaching Advice

Teaching Programming

One of the things that amazed me when we started working on this was the sheer quantity of material that I had. I hope that you will find it useful and remember that, like all good teaching material, it is a work in progress.

Comments and questions can be sent to me at: geoffrey.kavanagh@utoronto.ca



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