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The Punk Pedagogue

Hello World!

Introduction #

Hello world! The first program output of many aspiring computer programmers. I still remember my introductory computer science class at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I wrote my first computer program in the Java language.

class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello world!"); 

It took me a while to figure out what most of that code meant, but I knew enough to understand that System.out.printl told the compiler to print the text to the screen.

Just as the "Hello World" program is the ubiquitous introduction to the world of computer programming, this post is the re-introduction of my new blog. I previously used a Wordpress site, but eventually lost interest in the platform due to the paywall features and limitations that it places on users. The final straw for my love-hate relationship with Wordpress was realizing that I had to upgrade to a higher membership tier just to adjust some of the CSS on my blog theme. There are plenty of blogging platforms for folks out there who don't want to bother with the technology - Wordpress, Blogger, Ghost, etc. I refuse to pay for much more than the cost of the domain for a website, which my new set up allows me to do. Combined with a hectic spring semester of my first year as a teacher, the blog fell to the side as I navigated full-time teaching, attending grad school, and other commitments.

Settling on 11ty #

Over the last few years, static site generators have grown in popularity. Jekyll was one of the first that I know of that became widely known, especially in academic spaces. Others later followed, such as Hugo, Gatsby, and 11ty just to name a few. One of the biggest draws for me was how simple the website was to set up. Using an 11ty starter project and Netlify, my site was up and running within minutes, with all files hosted on a Github repository.

Function Over Form #

Some will notice this site looks like it was built in the 90's. That is by design. After spending far more time than I care to admit browsing themes and configurations, I realized that the best thing I could do is to begin with the 11ty starter base blog template. I'd rather have a simple site that I can build up over time exactly as I want as opposed to fighting the creative choices of others to tweak the site. In my mind, the blog has to serve its primary purposes as a reflective and educational tool. The rest can follow as time allows. For instance, some things that I hope to flush out in the very near future include a search feature, subscribe option for new posts, and post comments. I currently work on a Windows machine, writing posts either in the GitHub web interface or Github Desktop. One of my other goals is to get comfortable with the Linux terminal, git, and molding my workflow around that.

Looking Ahead #

So what's in store for this blog? My interests are varied, but ultimately boil down to my work as an educator and unionist, music, and technology. It's an exciting time for the United Federation of Teachers, as much digital ink has been spilled lately over the debate around our new tentative agreement. I stand on the shoulders of some pretty incredible bloggers in the UFT blog-o-sphere, and I hope that my perspective will offer something meaningful to the discussion. Just a few of these bloggers include:

The school year recently ended, and I'm sipping on a nitro cold brew at Starbucks while I write this post. I hope that this summer is full of many opportunities to read, write, and make music. I've recently accepted a per session opportunity that will allow me to delve into my other interests in education outside of the classroom. Lastly, I'm (hopefully) in the final stage of my apartment search and hope to sign a lease next week.

Lots of good things are in the works this summer, and I'm excited for what's in store.

Thanks for reading.