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Avvisi for the week of January 8th

Welcome back!  We’ll start back into our spell-casting groove this week, picking up wherever you left off in getting prepared for your Boss Challenge.

 

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New Contest!

The next USA Computing Olympiad contest is right around the corner (Jan 13-16th).  If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll start at the novice level, which assumes very little prior computing experience.  Here’s the official blurb:

Contests are free and open to all.  They are targeted specifically at pre-college students. Contests are available in four levels of difficulty: bronze (novice), silver (intermediate), gold (advanced), and platinum (elite). Bronze-level problems are designed to be accessible and engaging for students who have learned how to program but who do not yet have any formal algorithmic training, although they are still designed to require creativity and “algorithmic thinking”.
All new competitors start out in the bronze level; returning competitors start at the level at which they competed in the past.  Competitors earn promotion to higher levels by demonstrating excellent performance on a contest in their current level.  Promotion to higher levels can happen “in contest”, if you achieve a high enough score (typically a perfect score), or after a contest ends, if your score is above an appropriate (lower) threshold determined by the USACO staff.  Contests are usually 3-5 consecutive hours in duration, which students can schedule any time during a 4-day contest window.  Students can submit programs in C, C++, Java, Pascal, or Python.  All contests are taken individually.  Further technical details and rules are available here.
The site operates a lot like CodingBat, showing you the code window and a red/green dashboard for your results when you run your code.  However, it doesn’t show you the inputs (for the contest).  USA Computing Olympiad also hosts a training site that has hundreds of hours of training on algorithmic coding and is top-notch (sign-up is required, site is free).

On the Computer Science Teachers of America listserv a teacher recently asked for suggestions; she is just starting out teaching python.  Another teacher responded:

“I was in the same boat as you 3 years ago. I now use codecademy. I love it and it is free.  I use it in my classroom and based on what students learn, they are able to pass the assignments from our local college to earn college credit for the class. Codecademy is also a great way to learn programming. It is how I learned.”

That’s a pretty solid endorsement!

Avvisi for week of Nov 27th

Self-reflection for December 1st.

If you’re interested in computer science as a career, you might be intrigued by this report, which looks at careers in computer science.  It has descriptions, growth rates, and examples.  My favorite part is that many of the careers are in other fields, with computer science as a supplement.  It’s a field that covers many, many fields.

Boss challenge is coming up, and you’ll want to be ready for it.  Be sure to set up your login for codingbat and try out a few of the Warmup problems (they’re pretty easy) until you’re comfortable with the interface.

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