Changing the Learning Landscape..University, Community College and High School Teachers Tackle Computer Science


Changing the Learning Landscape..University, Community College and High School Teachers Tackle Computer Science
Posted by Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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A version of this was first published in the blog.

Vic Sutton
Bonnie Sutton

UMBC Google CS4HS Teacher Development Workshop 2013

“I have been going to computer science conferences for 28 years and this is the best one I have ever been to.”
– Arlington County Tech Ed Supervisor

August 4-7, 2013
CSTA has sponsored an initiative to transform education. *The Computer Science Teachers Association is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K–12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.
There is a series of workshops that are called.CS4HS. I have attended one CSTA workshop before. It was excellent, so I wondered if the excellence has continued. It has.

What is CS4HS?

CS4HS was started as a joint effort between Carnegie Mellon University, UCLA, and University of Washington to help introduce high school and middle school CS teachers to new and exciting technologies. CS4HS bring these teachers together for a summer workshop with the goals of invigorating them about computer science and computational thinking, and to provide them with tools and networking opportunities to help them in the classrooms. Google provides funding to universities develop the workshop and is committed to having our local employees participate in workshop sessions.


First, we attended the CSTA National Conference, Then we attended a local workshop.The national perspective gave us insight and networks.


An Important National Outreach Initiative

Two Workshops ( National CSTA Conference)

Computational Thinking: from Game Design to STEM in one week
Presented by Dr. Alexander Repenning

Computational Thinking: from Game Design to STEM in one week
Presented by Dr. Alexander Repenning

Participants will be immersed in the Scalable Game Design (SGD) initiative that is developed at the University of Colorado, and funded by NSF. The SGD strategy is based on a path that introduces students to computational thinking through game design and then advances to the creation of STEM simulations. Through our approach of exposure, motivation, pedagogy, and education, the SGD approach has been successful at broadening participation in STEM across ethnic and gender barriers. Participants will learn about our approach, the latest research results and how to scaffold game design into a classroom with unique tools for “pre-bugging” and automatic evaluation. Hands-on activities include designing and creating 2D and 3D arcade games in both the AgentSheets and AgentCubes programming environments. Workshop materials will include a complete introductory curriculum, and links to additional curriculum and information. No prior programming experience is required!

Download presentation as PDF

Here is the Local Workshop

Why so Few?  Broadening Participation of Women and Minorities
Dr. Jan Plane

CS Education at the National and State Level
AP CS Principles Pat Yongpradit
CS Principles and CS Pedagogy at CS4HS 8.5.13

This is a presentation not just about CS Principles, but about inquiry, equity, and pedagogy in the CS classroom. Teachers learned about all of this by doing two famous activities from the Exploring Computer Science curriculum.AP CS Principles
Pat Yongpradit
[Presentation and Materials]

AP Computer Science Principles is a proposed AP course, currently in pilot phase, that seeks to broaden participation in computer science.

The course is focused on building computational thinking practices and is guided by seven Big Ideas: Creativity, Abstraction, Data, Algorithms, Programming, Internet, and Impact. Visit for more details.

What we took:
Hands-On with Cryptology
Getting Started in Teaching Computer Science
Increasing Student Enthusiasm with LiveCode
Introduction to AppInventor
Arduino Programming
Computing for Good
Coaching the Design Process
Best Practices for Starting After-School Programs
Why so Few? Broadening Participation of Women and Minorities
A Smorgasbord of Tools for CS Education
Dinner with Industry
CS at the College Level
CSEdWeek ( you will want this link to download the presentations from the list above..
You may also want this link if you are thinking about going to the workshop next year
This year’s ‘Computer Science for High School’ workshop, held on 4-7 August at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, brought together nearly 40 computer science teachers. Most were from Maryland schools, though there were also participants from DC, Pennsylvania, West Virginia,Texas and Virginia.

The three-day workshop covered everything from computer science principles to practical applications such as MIT’s App Inventor and Arduino’s Amici. Dianne O’Grady Cunniff facilitated a session covering on-line resources for educators, and Dr. Jan Plane led a session on broadening participation of women and minorities in computer science.This is an acute problem: according to the annual CRA Taulbee Survey, in 2011 (latest year for which data are available) only 11.7% of computer science graduates were women, with a similar number for computer engineering.

White students made up two-thirds of the graduates in computer science and over half of those in computer engineering, with minorities tailing way behind. African American students, for example, made up only 3.6% of graduates in computer science, and 5.9% in computer engineering.

This, when the U.S. expects a huge growth in well-paying, computer-based jobs over the next few years.google7

The courses are not there.

CS at the College Level
Dr. Marie desJardins and Dr. Jan Plane
[Presentation] [ABET Presentation]

In this panel, faculty members from the University of Maryland – College Park and UMBC provided  information about computing majors in college and “best practices” for preparing students to succeed in these majors. Dr. Michael Milligan from ABET discussed  what teachers and parents should know about accreditation.

Solutions, however, are not so obvious. Perhaps this year’s Computer Science Education week, to be held on 8-14 December 2013, will provide an opportunity to start redressing the balance. To start with , we can explore computational thinking.

Curated Articles on Computational Thinking here:

Advocacy, Equity & Social Justice, UncategorizedComputational Sciences, computational thinking, CS4, CS4HS, CSTA, teacher development


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