Creating Opportunity for All

 CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. By some estimates, just one quarter of all the K-12 schools in the United States offer CS with programming and coding, and only 28 states allow CS courses to count towards high-school graduation, even as other advanced economies are making CS available for all of their students. The White House aims to change that. There is a new initiative.


The Opportunity

Providing access to CS is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.

How Do We Prepare Students? Teachers ? The Community?

One of the problems is the lack of access, interest and the knowledge of computational thinking and learning and math. There also has been a limited supply of well trained teachers for all. Most of us are aware that there are teachers in rural, urban, tribal, minority based poor communities who don’t have a computer teacher anywhere near a school. There may be teachers who are available in after school program. The Coding week also gives some impetus to making a change but sadly , it may be only for that week. It is an excellent start. It is a way to get things rolling.

Computational thinking and cyber learning and math… we must start at the lower levels to be able to graduate those with the skills that they will need to meet a high school computer teacher.

Coding?Coding in the Classroom: What is Coding and Why is it so Important?


Computational Thinking?
“Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent.”

Cuny, Snyder, Wing

Say it again? What was that?

Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively.

Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.

Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.


There have been people working in this field for a very long time with limited success.  One must thank people like Henry Neeman, R.N. Panoff , and those who sought to broaden engagement to all with limited resources. Scott Lathrop has certainly impacted broadening engagement.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement being led by parents, teachers, states, districts, and the private sector to expand CS education. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative builds on these efforts by:

Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Starting the effort this year, with more than $135 million in investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support and train CS teachers, who are the most critical ingredient to offering CS education in schools. The agencies will make these investments over five years using existing funds.


Early exposure and interest

Calling on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved. Today, Delaware, Hawaii and more than 30 school districts are committing to expand CS opportunities; Cartoon Network, Google and are announcing more than $60 million in new philanthropic investments, and Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand CS; and is announcing plans to offer CS training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year.

We still need parents and the communities to grasp the important of this project and to sign on. The initiatives mean nothing if schools don’t step up to the challenge. Has your school accepted Connect.Ed?IMG_0078

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