Invisible Students


Students at SITE

This article made me think of all of the people in education who have muted voices or no voices at all. It is probably because they don’t have technology, training, money, or time to make the difference that students need. They also can’t answer the experts , or share their sorrows in education. I think of them often. When I propose a workshop or a symposium, people start to tell me about the latest , hottest trend in education. Invisible students and teachers have no power. Even visible bad assed teachers can be shut out of the conversation and shut up.

Why are teachers cloaked in invisibility? Perhaps because we only ask the professors about research and not the working teachers. There are teachers and students in the world, in the US who are still not connected, and the way to get connected in their communities is difficult to find. We talk about the Internet of Things, and they have hardly the understanding of the uses of technology that are beneficial to them. I was told that sponsors don’t really care about digital equity, I don’t believe that.

I think it is difficult to walk in the shoes of those who work in rural, distant, urban, multilingual , and minority areas, but the work is necessary to lift all boats.


The public perception of the job is one thing. Being a good teacher is hard work.

The recent onslaught of attacks on teachers makes some of us like turtles. We withdraw and do our magic in the classroom as we can with what we have. The attacks make us insecure, and gives us feelings of unworthiness, sadness. Joy in the eyes of a child helps to take away the pain, or the discovery that some foundation, some credible agency understands how you feel makes for a quiet smile.

I like it that Richard Cullatta resigned and was not shy in his parting shots. The article is one that most people will never see or understand. But we in tribal. rural, distant, urban, and poor, the communities of those without the access, resources, savvy grant writers, technology trained teachers, and community support know exactly what he is talking about.

In his final public remarks as director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Richard Cullatta had a few requests.

Please don’t scan in the same old worksheets.

Please don’t record boring lectures and put them online.

Please don’t forget the needs of low-income and minority students, many of whom don’t have easy access to digital devices, speedy Internet service and advanced classes in computer science.

*I would add please don’t forget that there are many students with reading difficulty  who think problem solving is a pain.

Culatta delivered his plea last week at National Education Week, an annual conference that was held this year at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The outgoing federal leader spoke on a panel about teaching coding in schools, and he used most of his time in the spotlight to talk about equality. We must ensure that the rapid march of innovation does not leave certain groups of people behind, Culatta said.

He said    ‘Women and minorities are underrepresented in computer science courses in high school and college. For instance, girls make up 56 percent of all test-takers in Advanced Placement courses, but just 18 percent of students taking computer science tests, Culatta said. It doesn’t get much better in college, where women make up about 57 percent of all undergraduates, but just 14 percent of them major in computer science. ‘

“And the inequality is even more stunning for people of color. In 12 states, zero students of color took the computer science Advanced Placement exam, Culatta said. And a mere 10 percent of people majoring in computer science are black.

“That’s an incredible problem that we need to solve,” Culatta said.

There are a lot of us who are not computer science teachers. But we have had support from the Supercomputing Conference which had an education section and we learned what we could in that precious space. For a while we also learned in the conference and at  Then I had a remarkable experience in the Atlas Institute , learning with Dr. Alex Repenning. We were learning scalable game design. He knows how to teach teachers who are NOT computer science teachers.  ”

Sadly in the infrastructure of boards, and meetings , and groups who decide what goes on in education and who present in education we are an invisible force if present at all in the education  groups.



IMG_0078I learned as many others did at NASA, with the National Geographic Education Institute and alliances, with Earthwatch and the Jason Project. We teachers got to meet  Bob Ballard, Bill Nye, and a number of astronauts and scientists .


I had the power of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. When people were talking about Star Wars , they did not know that Edutopia is and has been a force in education for all.

We teachers also had the power of the NEA and its advocacies for diversity. McAuliffe, selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in NASA’s The Teacher in Space Project, had made plans to provide lessons from the shuttle on the benefits of space travel. Christa McAuliffe was a gifted social science teacher who was dedicated to her students and to the teaching profession.


Many of the projects in coding are absolutely wonderful. I loved weaving the Star Wars coding with reading of the books, and sharing science fiction, and NASA photographs and  art and the movies in a mashup that few children could not be attracted to.

I am pretty savvy, so I did not even break a sweat. I walked into a lab and sat down with children I had never seen. We had a great time coding. We did not limit our time to an hour. We did various things in about 4 hours, and the kids wanted to stay longer.

*I am not in a classroom because I am a very experienced in technology and was asked to leave or give up technology during NCLB. So I left and became a consultant.


And then there is Cyberlearning.   But, but.. without regular access how do we develop the skills, and deep learning. How sad it must be to understand the Internet of  Things and to not have a learning landscape that is even good access.

surface teacher





Some of the teachers need their job so badly that they just go with the flow no matter how terrible it is. It is taken for granted that the experts in the silos of higher ed know the answers. Well, some of those experts are very isolated from the people who really teach.



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


The Digital Divide” Broadening Engagement” Should Include Computer Science Education

In your learning community, it is a part of the curriculum?

What do you know about computer science education? I have been involved in trying to bring it to K-12 for many years. I believe that the attention to this cause has mushroomed but not to the point where we as parents, as educators, as a community understand the importance of this subject.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in education for computer science at the supercomputing conference. Here is what I wrote in the Educational Technology Journal.

What is computer science education?

Overhauling Computer Science Education

It depends on who is discussing it. I think that this is a great way to share ways to think about making transformational change in education.

December 15th, 2011

Hello there Facebook friend! If you like this article, please help spread the word bysharing this post with your friends. Sylvia asks and so here it is. But wait. There is more.

We know that the children using devices will learn and think in different ways.

“Students from elementary school through college are learning on laptops and have access to smartphone apps for virtually everything imaginable, but they are not learning the basic computer-related technology that makes all those gadgets work. Some organizations are partnering with universities to change that.”

THE Journal has run an important article about the efforts to overhaul Computer Science education in the U.S. (Overhauling Computer Science Education – Nov/Dec 2011.)

It’s long been a mystery to me that computer science isn’t being taught in U.S. schools. No, not computer literacy, which is also important, but often stops at the “how to use application x, y, or z” level. Why are we not teaching students how to program, master, and manage the most powerful aspects of the most important invention of the 20th and 21st century?

I believe there are two reasons, both based in fear.

1. Fear that adding a new “science” will take time away from “real” math and science. In my opinion, the US K-12 math and science curriculum has been frozen in time. It’s not relevant or real anymore, and needs a vast overhaul. But there are lots of forces at work to keep the status quo definitions of what kids are taught. And I do mean to draw a distinction between what students are taught and what they learn. For too many young people, what they learn is that math is boring, difficult, and not relevant, and science is about memorizing arcane terms. This is just a shame and waste.

2. Fear that computer science is too hard to teach in K-12. People worry that teachers are already stressed and stretched, that there aren’t enough computer science teachers, and that computer science is just something best left to colleges. That’s just a cop out. There are lots of teachers who learn to teach all kinds of difficult subjects – no one is born ready to teach chemistry or how to play the oboe, but people learn to do it all the time. Plus, there are computer languages and development tools for all ages, and lots of support on the web for people to try them out.

Please read this article – it covers a wide range of options and ideas for adding this very important subject to the lives of young people who deserve a relevant, modern education! Overhauling Computer Science Education


I would like to add my  2 cents worth.. We as teachers need, and some of us have had excellent support but we have often had to go to the professional development on our own. Since we as teachers do not make the decisions about curriculum, I believe that school boards, and community need to learn why we must broaden engagement. and their programs.

There are excellent resources available . Dr Robert Panoff has dedicated more than a decade in sharing resources. Shodor is a national resource for computational science education.

Our mission: to improve math and science education through the effective use of modeling and simulation technologies — “computational science.”

Shodor, a national resource for computational science education, is located in Durham, N.C., and serves students and educators nationwide. Our online education tools such as Interactivate and the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD), a Pathway Portal of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), help transform learning through computational thinking.

In addition to developing and deploying interactive models, simulations, and educational tools, Shodor serves students and educators directly through workshops and other hands-on experiences. Shodor offers innovative workshops helping faculty and teachers incorporate computational science into their own curricula or programs. This work is done primarily through the National Computational Science Institute (NCSI) in partnership with , NCSA, and other NSF-funded initiatives.

A mentor works with students in the Shodor Scholars Program

For students from middle school through undergraduate levels of education, Shodor offers workshops, apprenticeships, internships and off-site programs that explore new approaches to math and science education through computational science.

Time and time again, Shodor has been recognized as a national leader and a premier resource in the effective use of computers to improve both math and science education.