Article by Brandon Hernandez-Borges
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This year, I and other individuals had the opportunity to take the first AP Computer Science class at Davie High! In this class, we learned how to use the coding language Python and the basics of computer information. We also learned about the internet, cybersecurity, and the history of computing. This was a rigorous one semester AP course, which led to one final goal—the performance task. Near the end of the semester, we were tasked with creating a computer program that could successfully function.
While others took this class primarily out of interest, I took it in order to be able to graduate early. Although I did have books about ‘Java’ and ‘HTML’, I had no prior experience with coding. Additionally, I had an interest in learning some code to show something cool off to my friends.
When I signed up for this course, I didn’t know what to expect because it was my first AP class. Once I jumped into it however, the class seemed to be pretty standard. We signed up for coding rooms on a website also called an “IDE,” where we constructed our code. We were first taught how to get the computer to print out “Hello, World!” This simple lesson led to more intricate ones like creating graphics, using variables, forming lists, and much more. AP classes normally last a whole year, so because this one lasted only one semester, the pace increased dramatically, and preparation for the College Board exam became incredibly shortened. Our performance tasks simultaneously had to be completed on top of the quick lessons.
The Weekly Talon conducted some interviews with some of the students regarding their overall experiences. All of them unanimously agreed that they enjoyed being in the class and were either finding it interesting, different from their expectations, or a combination of both. Afterwards, we asked them about their computer programs and the processes along the way. The time it took for the students to complete their projects ranged from a couple days to several months, with some students still working on completing their projects.
This was the first time that Mr. Robinson got to teach the class, so we felt that an interview was due. When we asked him how he became the teacher of this coding-savvy course, he responded, “I begged for it for five years. Literally.” Mr. Robinson also gave his opinion on the future of the class and what he would like to see happen in the future. In accordance with some opinions given by the students, he expressed his belief that the class would be much better off as a yearlong class rather than a semester-long one. He claimed that he does want interested students in his class, but also warns that it is not for everyone. In his words, students must be willing to “work hard, be willing to have their brain stretched, [because] it’s not an easy A, and it’s not an easy AP class.” Additionally, he mentions that students need to “be motivated to learn about coding and have an interest in coding and information technology” in order to succeed in his class.
Regardless of the actual curriculum, one of the most significant reasons to take this class is for the teacher himself. Mr. Robinson, who was also the 2022–2023 teacher of the year, has some expressions you can’t forget. Some of these include attempting to inspire students by using what he called “God’s Hand,” where he would hover his hand over your head and say interesting things like “God compels you” or “Praise B.” Other examples are also when we would ask to go to the bathroom and Mr. Robinson would respond, “Hope everything comes out okay.” Of course, you can’t forget “Love ya! Nothing weird though.”
There was one specific memory that sticks in all of our minds about this class, and it involved one test in particular. Most students weren’t totally prepared, and that showed around the room once he gathered the tests. Once they were all finished, he looked at them and said through a laugh, “This is pretty good human excrement.” This happened more than just this time…
While many of the students expressed some displeasure towards the short nature of the class, many of them also mentioned enjoying the class because of Mr. Robinson. It wouldn’t have been possible without having learned something out of this strange but captivating class under the mind and instruction of Mr. Robinson. Best of luck to any potential future coders—we sure learned a lot this semester, and we hope you do too!
What a well-written article!
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