This summer’s CSTA conference in Grapevine, Texas had far more K-8 sessions than any previous CSTA conference. A simple metric that measures the strong interest in K-8 Computer Science today. A K-8 computer science teacher like myself had a clear K-8 track to follow and I have come away with my head filled with wonderful ideas for my elementary and middle school students. Best PD ever!
Like most conferences, much of the learning is not from the sessions, but from the many conversations over a meal or on the bus ride to the airport or just hanging out and chatting in the corridors. I think it did help that the temperature in July in Texas is about 100 degrees outside – we all stayed indoors and networked!
Some of the stuff I learned (and must explore more) from the sessions and vendor area at the conference include :
- Code.org’s many Unplugged activities at https://code.org/curriculum/docs/k-5/complete.pdf
- Project GUTS resources for Computer Science in Science for middle school – both block based Starlogo Nova http://projectguts.org/resources as well as text based NetLogo https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/
- CS through Making based on ideas from the CS team at Baldwin school http://www.baldwinschool.org/computer-science
- Physical computing with Scratch based on excellent work by Dylan Ryder https://sites.google.com/site/handsoncomputingactivities/
- The ‘Problem solving’ approach to teaching CS based on session by Stephen Hughes
- South Korea’s education system after hearing the amazing keynote from White House CTO advisor Seth Andrew.
- The many excellent resources from the vendor area – including Codesters, Pluralsight, Ozobot, CodeSchool, and Google’s many CS education resources including Pencil Code http://pencilcode.net/
For those who missed the CSTA conference, you can experience some of the highlights by going through the Storify of the tweets at
To make sure you do not miss it next year – go ahead and ‘Save the Date’: July 10-12, 2016, in San Diego! I hope to see you there !