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From a teacher's perspective

Shashi
International educator, now in a e-learning/database admin role. Taught Computer Science/IT for 14 years. Managed a wide range of ed-databases for 11 years. Hungry for more knowledge around these!
・2 min read

Hello all,

This is my first post on Dev.to. To give the context of software development an academic angle, I wish to share some thoughts on my journey both as a teacher and a developer.

I started teaching Computer Science in 2000. This was an era of no Google, no YouTube, no StackOverflow etc. Our main programming language was C++ (a language I hugely admire to this day) and kids worked on different kinds of solutions to understand the ins and outs of coding and software design. Like any subject, our nascent discipline relied heavily on textbooks. As is the case, the examples and scenarios in hard copy were often either too simple or too complex. Finding the right match to use in the classroom (especially with first time programmers) was a constant challenge. This led to me having to create lot of original material that I constantly shared with the classes.

With time, and as the Internet stretched its legs in a couple of years, a class website was born. This became a great way for 24/7 dynamic and updated information. Students began contributing to it with original code snippets of their work. They began discussing code (like we are doing now on Dev.to) with one another via discussion forums. They learnt best practices from each other about good quality code and documentation. Best case scenarios were shared by one and all with run time logs.

As a developer, I continued working on platforms like Visual Basic, ASP/with Access DB and other such for internal systems my schools needed. It was a great way to look at solutions work outside the classroom context since it came with its own set of hybrid challenges.

Mid 2000s Java became the official language for our CS program. With that came the need for more UI presence in the work students were doing. We worked with tools like SWING and AWT. Kids got better with their internal documentation. Online resources had gotten better too. Lot more videos, more interactive discussion forums, wikis etc. Students felt better prepared to get help outside the classroom. We were also introducing LEGO Mindstorms in classes so kids were programming robots to do things. We also had Flash going on, so scripting was taking on different avenues in animation too. That period, in my opinion, was most transformative for the world of development.

The reason I wanted to make this my first post was to create a context for developers here who, I am sure, at some point were students themselves. The content you share here has the potential to reach scores of minds who might be struggling with their CS classes. So I write this to both appreciate and acknowledge the power of spaces such as Dev.to because of their strong support structure and potential reach. I know my students back then would have found such resources immensely helpful. Quite frankly, so would their teacher. :)

Keep up the good work! Keep calm and code on.

shashi

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