CS Ed Week != Hour of Code

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With the fabulous success of Hour of Code last year, I think many of us have fallen into thinking that Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) is “Hour of Code week.”

As in, “What are you doing for Hour of Code?”… I actually heard myself saying that to someone.

But of course CS Ed Week is much more than introducing your students to a coding lesson.

Teachers who I know are: showcasing their students’ project work, organizing a hackathon to benefit a charitable organization, sharing their year-long curricula with parents and colleagues, and screening films about famous computer scientists.

By the way, did you know that CS Ed Week is the week that it is because Grace Hopper was born on December 9 (1906)? I just learned this.

At my university, it’s finals week. So my students will be taking finals in my two computing courses. (This seems to happen every year.) But in the prior week, they’ll be showing off their final projects to the whole department!

For more resources and ideas, go to csedweek.org/csteacher to download a “Participation Kit for Computer Science Teachers” and list your activities on an international map.

So… “What are you doing for Computer Science Education Week?”

P.S. The languages I’m using most at the moment are Scheme and App Inventor. Below is this post’s title in those languages. Both evaluate to true.

Scheme / Racket / Lisp
(not (equal? 'cs-ed-week 'hour-of-code))

MIT App Inventor

csedweek-not-eq-hour-of-code

Have you been to the Summit?

One of the very most enjoyable parts of my position as Chair of the CSTA Board of Directors is attending the many functions to which I am invited to bring greetings. One such function was the National Computer Science Principles Education Summit, which was held on Wednesday, July 16, 2014; after the CSTA Annual Conference and before the CSTA board meeting. The summit was graciously sponsored by Google (and prominently powered by Google as well).

The purpose of the summit was to increase awareness, broaden understanding, and create capacity for the wide-scale adoption and on-going support of the pre-AP Computer Science Principles course. The summit was absolutely awesome. The summit had two session strands: one for administrators and one for teachers. Fifteen speakers presented different topics throughout the summit. Plenary sessions were given by Rebecca Dovi and Rich Kick and Owen Astrachan and Fran Trees. Breakout sessions for teachers and administrators included Understanding Computer Science Principles (CSP) and Resources for Teaching CSP presented by Jeff Gray, Kelly Powers, Rebecca Dovi, Barb Ericson, and Lien Diaz. An entertaining and informative flash talk session provided information about assessment, creativity, policy, and collaboration from Fran Trees, Carol Yarbrough, Andy Kuemmel, and Rich Kick.

Another highlight involved a session presented by Emmanuel Schanzer and Rebecca Dovi during which the participants divided into groups and developed and presented their action plans for implementing CSP in their schools. The summit concluded with inspiring testimonials from various attendees.

Funding limited the number of attendees to 60. There were many more applicants than session slots, so CSTA had a rigorous application process. Preference was given to teams of administrators and CS educators. On the actual day of the summit, thirty percent of attendees were administrators. Google provided support (including the technology and human capital) to share the summit proceedings with more than 300 virtual attendees—in real time.

This was a tremendous undertaking and involved the dedicated participation of many volunteers in addition to the Google professionals. Not only was the information shared during the summit interesting and informative, it was incredible to watch the intense coordination of the many volunteers who were able to actively involve the virtual participants in the summit through the use of technology and teamwork. Kudos and thanks to all volunteers! The CSP Summit was so successful, CSTA hopes to duplicate another in-conjunction event and invite virtual participation in the future.

If you were not able to attend the CS Principles Summit, you may view the summit agenda on the CS Principles Google site. At the site, you may view videos of many of the summit sessions. Further information about the CS Principles course can be found at the CSP website.

The CS Principles Summit was truly the pinnacle of teacher professional development in the 21st century. If you have not been to the summit, I invite you to visit the cited sources. I have been to the summit—thanks to Google and CSTA.

Websites and Web Resources cited:
http://lp.collegeboard.org/ap-computer-science-principles
http://apcsprinciples.org/
https://sites.google.com/a/csta-hq.org/csps/agenda

Deborah Seehorn CSTA State Department Representative, Board Chair
Curriculum Committee Chair