Mr. MacKenty to Take Sabbatical Next Year

by Olivia Choi

Mr MacKenty teaches beginning and advanced programming classes for grades 9 and 10, and also computer science and software engineering for DP. Now in his 14th year at ASW, Mr. Mackenty announced that he will go on a sabbatical next year. 

Why and when did you decide to go on a sabbatical?

In general, it is important to stay up-to-date with current technologies. I’m teaching things I learned 20 years ago; this is like the ice-age in technology, where so much changes so quickly! 

About 3 or 4 years ago I saw trends developing in technology, especially in artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming tools, and how programming languages are being used differently than they were being used a few years ago. I’d say I realized I would benefit from a sabbatical about 5 years ago. 

Where are you planning to stay? Any travels?

I’ll be here in Warsaw, with a few notable exceptions. My wife teaches English as an additional language (EAL) to first grade students. My daughter will be in 9th grade next year, and I want to be with them. I enjoy camping and a specific type of camping (bushcrafting) where we try to live very simply and in harmony with nature. I’m planning on three one week camping trips (in Poland). 

What are some goals you have planned for the year?

Oh wow! I have about 1200 hours  of coursework planned. I’ll be learning some new programming languages (Rust and Javascript), improving my PHP and Python language skills, re-writing all my teaching resources for my courses, and improving virtually every aspect of student-facing assessment and learning. I’ll be relaxing and working on my physical fitness! I’m really excited to design and construct pathways for our students; so students have a choice about how they want to solve problems. The big idea is to fully incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence into student learning. 

Will there be a new teacher during the sabbatical? Any information about the new teacher?

Yes! We found a highly qualified teacher who will be joining ASW in August. I’ll wait for the teacher to be introduced to our community, but my sabbatical would not be approved if we didn’t find a great replacement. I can’t wait for you to meet them, and I will do everything I can to support and help them be successful. 

Anything else you would like to share?

I really love teaching. I hope everyone knows that you are welcomed into computing; people of all genders. Computing creates opportunities in many different fields (biology, chemistry, writing, mathematics, creative arts, research, etc…). Please consider computing. 


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