Friday, October 20, 2017

Computer Science Educator Interview Series Index (2017)

From time to time I like to highlight computer science teachers with virtual interviews posted on my blog. The first series was in 2013 (CS Educator Interviews: The Index ) and I decided it was time to start a new series in 2017. New interviews will appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have new interviews to share.

One improvement in this series is a larger number of teachers who teach elementary and middle school students. K-8 computer science is growing by leaps and bounds which is a wonderful thing.

This post will be regularly updated as new interviews are posted. Here is the current list of interviews.

  • Rebecca Dovi – The  Director of education and co-founder of CodeVA, a non-profit CS education effort in Virginia.
  • Saber Kahn – Computer Science teacher at the Browning School, a K-12 independent boy's school in Manhattan, NYC
  • Bob Irving – middle school computer science teacher at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston SC
  • Michelle Lagos De Javier – computer science teacher at the American School of Tegucigalpa, a bilingual private school in Honduras
  • Mike Thompson - Technology Education at Haverhill Cooperative Middle School in North Haverhill NH.
  • Vicky Sedgwick – computer science teacher for grades k-8 at St. Martin’s Episcopal School  in the Los Angeles California area

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CS Educator Interview: Michelle Lagos

Michelle Lagos serves on the CSTA Board which is how I first met her. She is currently an At-Large member. Several years ago she was the International Representative.  She brings some interesting perspectives to board meetings and CSTA is lucky to have her involved. I was very pleased when she agreed to this interview.

WHERE DO YOU TEACH? WHAT SORT OF SCHOOL IS IT? 

I teach at the American School of Tegucigalpa, a bilingual private school in Honduras. We are a U.S. accredited school (by AdvaceEd) which grants us the right to extend High School degrees and for over a decade have been offering the International Baccalaureate Program as well. Our students have the opportunity to graduate with up to three diplomas: High school, IB and Honduran Science and Humanities Baccalaureate as granted by the Honduran Ministry of Education. The American School of Tegucigalpa was founded in 1946 and it´s legacy families are now in their third generation of students.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE? 

I started teaching CS in 2000 as a senior at the Universidad Católica de Honduras (Catholic University) while finishing my CS Engineering degree. I was offered a job in a bilingual school as a Computer class teacher. From there I got hooked on teaching and have dedicated most of my professional career to education.

DESCRIBE THE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM AT YOUR SCHOOL. WHAT COURSES DO YOU HAVE AND WHAT ARE THE FOCUSES OF EACH?

Our computer science curriculum runs from K-12.  We started teaching application computing and over the course of a few years we have been moving gradually towards CS. We follow ISTE standards for K-2 and CSTA standards for 3-12. With high school (which is where I teach) we are currently basing our course in the Computer Science principles course, and using the common-sense media Curriculum for our digital citizenship unit.

WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? PROJECT BASED LEARNING? FLIPPED CLASSROOM? IN SHORT, WHAT MAKES YOUR CS PROGRAM “YOUR CS PROGRAM?”

I consider my philosophy to be quite oriented to project based learning. Considering that our courses are one semester long, I find that we can get better results through projects. What makes it my CS program? My kids!!! Every year my course is different depending how fast my kids absorb the content.  As any teacher I guess, I tweak and adapt my lessons sometimes on the spot and the “aha” moments I get are the best reward!

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TEACHING CS AT YOUR SCHOOL?

The biggest challenge is time! We only get one semester as our students have a full academic load so we have to adjust the schedule so it doesn’t become too much for them. This then contributes to a lack of interest in the subject by most stakeholders at school.

YOU TEACH AT AN "AMERICAN SCHOOL" IN HONDURAS, IS WHAT YOU TEACH IN YOUR SCHOOL MUCH DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SCHOOLS IN HONDURAS?  ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES OR OPPORTUNITIES THAT YOU HAVE?

I believe that what we teach is pretty different from our Honduran public system schools. (Honduras education system is divided into two mayor categories, public and private and within the private we have the Spanish-only speaking schools and then we have bilingual schools, mostly Spanish English. The latter is where my school fits into. For starters we teach in English, we aim for higher levels of academic performance than public schools but still try to comply with the country’s education curriculum objectives. We have the opportunity that my school is currently starting a STEM program and CS has found its place in it.  Again, our biggest challenge is time. Most of our schools public and private struggle with budget but the public system struggles much more. Remember Honduras is a third world country, second poorest in all the western hemisphere. This means that sometimes getting the resources we would like takes time and much negotiating. However, because most of our students leave Honduras for their higher education, we have the goal to prepare them the best we can to be a competitive student in most areas anywhere they would like to go. An opportunity I, as a teacher, takes advantage of is that our government has made CS credits mandatory for graduation, so that helps a lot.

WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPORT (OR LACK OF SUPPORT) LIKE AT YOUR SCHOOL?

My administration is more supportive than in other schools. We have a great curriculum director that understands the need of CS in today’s students lives. Our principals are also supportive when my department (which I am the head of) bring up new project proposals, they take them seriously and bring it up to the rest of the decision-making authorities. If there is any room for improvement it is along the lines of people understanding that CS is much more that hardware, plain coding or software. But we are doing our best to shed light on the vastness of the subject and its scope.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS FOR YOUR PROGRAM? FOR YOUR STUDENTS?

I measure success in my program when I hear my students don’t have many issues in their CS courses in college. That feedback is extremely important and helpful. I assess my students by abilities and when I see them understanding coding and loving our robotics unit, I find my program successful.

YOU'RE VERY INVOLVED IN CSTA AS A BOARD MEMBER. WHAT MADE YOU GET INVOLVED IN THAT WAY?

Sometimes being a CS teacher is a lonely affair if your department is not that big and your school is a bit ahead than others. I started looking for a community of teachers where I felt I belonged and could rub elbows with. A place where I could go for news, resources and support. I browsed through many associations and felt that CSTA fulfilled the purpose of support I needed as a CS teacher. I wanted to be more involved, but I couldn’t belong to a chapter as international chapters don’t exist. So, when I read in The Voice the call for nominations I decided to apply for international representative. I thought it would be a long shot but I am so proud to say that I became the first female latina to be part of the board and now the first international member to be serving in a position other than the international representative.

When I started working with the board, I felt right at home with a group of people that shared my passion for both CS and teaching. People that were doing serious work and proposals to improve CS around the world and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it. To this day I feel that CSTA is doing a great job supporting K-12 CS teachers. Every year the conference gets better and bigger. There are lots of opportunities for teachers to get PD and network with other CS teachers which becomes a valuable thing.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT REGARDING YOUR PROGRAM THAT I HAVEN’T ALREADY ASKED?

Who can benefit from CSTA besides Michelle and AST? I am constantly trying to renew and update my curriculum and I want my kids to have more opportunities to learn what's out there. PD would be good as well as speakers and invitations to conferences. I also try to promote CS in girls and help them discover different opportunities in life.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE (IF ANY)

  • ·School name and web site: American School of Tegucigalpa www.amschool.org
  • Twitter: @mglagos
  • .IG: @mglagos
  • .Facebook: Michelle Lagos Rico de Javier

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Am I Doing It All Wrong?

My programming students are learning about methods. Functions, subroutines, what ever you want to call them they are important. Coming up with examples for demos and projects is an interesting exercise. There are actually several parts of teaching methods so starting with something that is too complex can overwhelm students. So I like to start easy.

Yesterday I started using area and circumference of a circle methods.

public double GetArea(double r)
{
     return Math.PI * Math.Pow(r,2);
}

public double GetCircumference (double r)
{
     return 2 * Math.PI * r;
}

Nice and simple. I can focus on the function specification – the function’s type, it’s name, and it’s short parameter list. I can also use the result very easily in the demo program.

Student want to know why they can’t just use that simple bit of code from the body of the function inline with the rest of their code though. And it is a fair question. That lets me talk about reusable code, avoiding redundancy, and all that stuff. It’s almost convincing. It’s all true of course but it hardly makes an impression. That requires examples that are a bit longer and more complicated.

Lately I have been using the Palindrome project for this next level. Now I have students create a program to determine if a string is a palindrome or not before this. They generally have the various steps (strip out not letters for example) inline in a single method. What I do here is ask them to break the various code segments out into methods. This makes the main routine simpler and easier to understand. (Assuming good names.) and this makes the point better, I think, than the simple one line methods.

It’s still hard to get students to think of this sort of modularization when they do their own designs. It gets easier when we talk about writing classes though.

I suspect that getting students to design around methods would be easier if I were teaching with functional programming language. I can actually hear several voices in my head saying “Yep” and “I told you so.”

graceThe problem for me is that a) I’ve never used a functional programming language, and b) since I tend to think of breaking things down into methods already there is a part of me that sees it as obvious. Yep, the old “I learned it this way so my students should learn it this way” attitude. Now I have an image of Grace Hopper standing next to me with a firm look on her face.

What’s my point? I guess it is that I have to constantly look at what I am doing with a critical eye to what I can do better. I’ve really liked the way I have been teaching methods but I have to ask myself if the design part is coming too slowly should I be doing something different? Darn but this thinking and caring thing is hard.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CS Educator Interview: Mike Thompson

I met Mike Thompson (no relation) just recently. He was giving a professional development session on teaching middle school students with AppInventor. I wanted to see how others taught that and I got some very helpful ideas and information from him.

WHERE DO YOU TEACH? WHAT SORT OF SCHOOL IS IT?

I teach Technology Education at Haverhill Cooperative Middle School in North Haverhill NH. It is a 4-8 Public Middle School in a rural district with around 250 students.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE?

My interest in Computer Science started in High School, then continued in college, and has always been some part of my life. Before being a Tech Ed teacher I was a Para Educator, and an enrichment provider with the after school program. I did an Enrichment using Lego Mindstorms, and part of the reason I was asked to apply for the Tech Ed position was the success of that program. As such, it was only natural that I add a heavy amount of Computer Science to my 4-8 curriculum.

DESCRIBE THE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM AT YOUR SCHOOL. WHAT COURSES DO YOU HAVE AND WHAT ARE THE FOCUSES OF EACH?

I do all of the computer science here at HCMS, and am happy that 3 of the 5 grade levels I teach are heavily focused on Computer Science, and one other has a slight focus on it. My grade 4 students use Code.org pretty regularly to explore coding, my Grade 5 Students Learn Computer Science through programming Lego Mindstorms, my Grade 6 students continue their study of Lego Mindstorms, and my grade 8 students do Mobile Application Development with App Inventor 2.

WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? PROJECT BASED LEARNING? FLIPPED CLASSROOM? IN SHORT, WHAT MAKES YOUR CS PROGRAM “YOUR CS PROGRAM?”

My program is project based, flipped, and focused on learning by exploration. Typically, I give my students some manner of design challenge, and guide them towards where they can find answers to solve the problem I present. Certainly some items, especially at first need to be given directly, but I find students are more engaged if they need to work for the answers they want. I am also developing some short videos on the basics of Lego Mindstorms Ev3 programming that my students will be able to use as refreshers when they get stuck.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TEACHING CS AT YOUR SCHOOL?

The biggest challenge with trying to teach any subject other than Math or English is time. Each year the amount of time I have with my students has been reduced, or changed in a way that makes it difficult to have a rigorous program.

WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPORT (OR LACK OF SUPPORT) LIKE AT YOUR SCHOOL?

At my school the administration give lip service support to our STEM efforts, but continues to reduce class time for STEM. 

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS FOR YOUR PROGRAM? FOR YOUR STUDENTS?

I consider my program successful when I see my students engaged in learning. I consider my students successful, when their ability to problem solve increases. I certainly believe that the technology I am using to teach my students is important, as is gaining some level of mastery over that technology. The true measure of my SUCCESS as a teacher however, is my students ability to creatively solve problems in any situation, NOT just in my classroom.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT REGARDING YOUR PROGRAM THAT I HAVEN’T ALREADY ASKED?

How do you effectively teach students? By figuring out how they learn.


TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE (IF ANY)

Friday, October 13, 2017

CSTA 2018 Conference Call for Proposals

It’s that time again! I have to get to work on a proposal. Or two. This is the best conference for computer science educators. If you have something good to share you should definitely submit a proposal.


CSTA Logo white

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) invites you to submit a proposal to present at the 2018 CSTA Annual Conference. This event will be held July 7-10, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The CSTA 2018 Program Committee seeks proposal submissions related to the practice of teaching and learning computer science and information technology in K-12. This year the conference is seeking 3 hour workshops; 1 hour sessions; 20 minute mini-sessions; and 1 hour Birds of a Feather sessions.

Proposal submission requires presenter and presentation information including a brief overview/abstract used to inform attendees about the session; as well as a PDF providing more detailed information about the session.

All proposals will be submitted through our online system; however, You may preview the application before starting your submission here.

Proposals may be started and updated between the opening and closing of the system. The deadline for proposals is midnight (Hawaiian time) on November 26, 2017. Review of proposals will occur shortly thereafter and notification of the program committee's decisions will be made in December/January 2017.

All submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • appropriateness and relevancy for professional development for K-12 computing;
  • feasibility of the proposal;
  • timeliness of the topic;
  • writing and presentation;
  • completeness of the submitted information; and
  • consideration for the breadth and balance of topics at the conference.

Successful proposers should expect to submit a draft copy of their presentation by June 1, 2018. Draft presentations will be posted on the website for attendee reference and note-taking. Some sessions may be selected for videotaping, which will be shared online post-conference. All workshops and sessions will be photographed. Workshop presenters will be given a list of registered attendees prior to the conference so that they may email them with any pre-workshop materials or downloads. All presenters are expected to register for the conference.

Why present at CSTA 2018?

The CSTA annual conference is the only CS conference specifically dedicated to meeting the needs of K-12 computer science educators. Come network with your peers, present your great ideas, and learn best practices. Here is what some 2017 conference attendees had to say about the conference:

  • I learned so much and am more motivated than ever to bring essential CS skills
    to my students and to my colleagues.
  • Amazing conference with so many takeaways and ponderings.
  • I am leaving with specific strategies for our district,
    and numerous contacts for help, as we move forward.
  • It is a real live computer science conference. Loved it!
  • The resources...Best Exhibit hall, great sessions.... it was just... timely

Additional conference details can be found here.

The deadline for proposals is midnight (Hawaiian time) on November 26, 2017.

Submit your proposal here.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to your attendance at the conference.

The 2018 Annual Conference Planning Committee

Thursday, October 12, 2017

CS Educator Interview: Bob Irving

Bob Irving teaches middle school students and seems to have a lot of fun doing so. He constantly learning new things to share with his students. He is half of of a great CS team at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC. I interviewed the other half a couple of years ago – Doug Bergman. Between the two of them students have some great opportunities to learn computer science.

WHERE DO YOU TEACH? WHAT SORT OF SCHOOL IS IT?

I teach at the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC. It's a 150 year old k-12 independent school with enrollment of about 900.

 
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE?

I actually taught history and English in high school for years. Was an early adopter of computers (owned a Commodore 64!) and used them in my classes, eventually became a tech integration coordinator. Went back to school to learn application development, which included building business applications with databases. Plan at the time was to segue into development. Graduated just in time for the first tech bubble to burst! Decided to go back to teaching school and haven't looked back since!

 
DESCRIBE THE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM AT YOUR SCHOOL. WHAT COURSES DO YOU HAVE AND WHAT ARE THE FOCUSES OF EACH?


We have a fabulous curriculum at Porter-Gaud, which was started by Doug Bergman. CS is a required course for all students from grades 5-9, after which students may apply to be in our program. Current upper school enrollment is about 35% of each class, with about that percentage of female participation.

I teach grades 5-8. I have each student in the middle school for a quarter. We just were able to institute required classes in 5 and 6 this year, so I am building those out. CSTA said middle school computer science should be about exploration with different technologies, and I heartily concur. So in our ever-changing landscape of tech, right now I am teaching the following in various grades: micro:bit, Kodu, Dash robots, LEGO robots, Scratch game programming, HTML, Minecraft Pi (intro to Python by coding Minecraft), Sonic Pi (live music coding), and physical computing using Raspberry Pi's. I have 2 networks of computers in my room: Windows 10 and Raspberry Pi. I use both according to what best suits the needs. As always, there are other things on the horizon that I am investigating for future use. Right now that includes 3 new 3D printers and MIDI controlled music, and looking into Makerspace stuff that fits with what we do.

 
WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? PROJECT BASED LEARNING? FLIPPED CLASSROOM? IN SHORT, WHAT MAKES YOUR CS PROGRAM “YOUR CS PROGRAM?”

I live for the "aha" moments in education, and I think they are best achieved by having a very hands-on, project-based experience. I like to answer student questions with other questions ("Where do you think you could find help for that?" or "Have any of your neighbors figured out how to do that?"). I believe in giving as little direct instruction as I can get away with, though I do supplement lessons with videos on my YouTube channel (crouchingpython). Middle school students do not want to listen to me talk! But I am sensitive to those who are struggling and need some hand-holding!
 
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TEACHING CS AT YOUR SCHOOL?


I really can't complain. We have amazing support from our administration and have a lot of latitude to explore different approaches. One factor that helps us is being an independent school. That not only frees us from mandated teaching to various tests, but our CS program has become a major selling point to prospective families.

 
WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPORT (OR LACK OF SUPPORT) LIKE AT YOUR SCHOOL?

See above. We get financial support, as well as time in the schedule.

 
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS FOR YOUR PROGRAM? FOR YOUR STUDENTS?

This is going to sound a little cheesy, but I measure it by the excited students who usually run into my classroom to get started! I'm always trying to up the engagement factor. I also get a wide range of interest and ability, so I try to make sure that those students who are self-described "not techy" are also getting it, are engaged, and leave the class feeling that all this coding and stuff is actually pretty cool.

 
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT REGARDING YOUR PROGRAM THAT I HAVEN’T ALREADY ASKED?


I promise my students on day one.... HARD FUN. This is something that I stole from one of my heroes, Seymour Papert. They all know exactly what I mean by that in a week or two! It's not easy stuff, but they want to make it work.

I also host a Minecraft Club here, which this year has over 70 members. This is just for "playing" Minecraft.

   TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE (IF ANY)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CS Educator Interview: Vicky Sedgwick

My first teaching jobs were teaching in a pair of schools (half time in each) where I saw students from kindergarten through eight grade. It was a great learning experience but I was happy to move on to high school after a year. Vicky Sedgwick has been teaching computer science to grades K to 8 for ten years now and has developed a great program. I was very pleased when Vicky agreed to answer a few questions for this interview series.

WHERE DO YOU TEACH? WHAT SORT OF SCHOOL IS IT?

I teach at St. Martin’s Episcopal School which is located in the Los Angeles area, specifically in the San Fernando Valley. It is a very small Preschool-8th Grade private, religious school. I teach Kindergarten-8th Grade.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE?

In the summer of 2007, the computer teacher at my youngest daughter’s school left and I agreed to take over the computer classes – at least until December. Well it’s now 10 years later and I’m still there even though my daughter moved on from the school years ago. When I started teaching the classes, they were focused on learning computer applications, learning to keyboard, and playing curricular related games.

In a previous life, I had been a programmer and systems analyst so when I got bored watching students type for class after class and wanted to do more, I started to investigate what others were doing with programming and kids. Initially, I started with having my Middle School students do some coding in Scratch. Then I found the CSTA 2011 standards and realized that I could be teaching all of my students about computer science and I had even been including some CS into classes already! That’s when I started adding more computer science to all the grades that I teach and each year has become more computer science and less other things.

DESCRIBE THE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM AT YOUR SCHOOL. WHAT COURSES DO YOU HAVE AND WHAT ARE THE FOCUSES OF EACH?

At St. Martin’s, all Kindergarten through 8th grade students have class with me twice a week. Those classes focus on five main areas: Computer Science, Digital Citizenship & Literacy, Productivity Software (yes, I do still teach this), Computer Graphics / Computer Art, and Keyboarding (a small block of time at the beginning of the class to practice technique). We are on a quarter system at my school and at least one-quarter of the year for younger grades and about one-half of the year for older grades is devoted to Computer Science.

I am lucky in that I can set my own curriculum which I try to scaffold each year based on what the classes have learned the year before, what new things are available, and this year, the new CSTA K-8 Standards that were released in July. I am really excited about using Micro:Bits and Circuit Playgrounds with my Middle School students and using some Raspberry Pis to teach networking concepts.

WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL TEACHING PHILOSOPHY? PROJECT BASED LEARNING? FLIPPED CLASSROOM? IN SHORT, WHAT MAKES YOUR CS PROGRAM “YOUR CS PROGRAM?”

I’m a “less me, more them” person as much as I can be. I do a lot of “flipped classroom” IN the classroom with tutorial videos that my students can watch if they need help rather than a lot of whole group lectures. I am also a big believer in students sharing their work. All classes have either a classroom blog (for K-2) or student websites (grades 3 and up) where students share what they are creating.

For most grades, I like to have a major “project” that students will end up creating during their CS classes and often these will tie into another subject of the curriculum. For example:

  • Kindergarten students used ScratchJr to show what they knew about the butterfly life cycle

  • 2nd grade created tours of parts of the school in Scratch to share with a class outside of our school

  • 3rd grade students also coded the butterfly life cycle, but they used Scratch

  • 5th grade students created math games in Scratch last year that the younger students in the school played and rated

  • Middle School students created light-up music boxes using Arduino and then had a showcase day at school to show them off

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TEACHING CS AT YOUR SCHOOL?

The biggest challenge is outdated equipment and lack of budget to update things. It is amazing what you can do with older equipment though and I like to think that I’m very good and coming up with solutions that cost little or no money.

WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPORT (OR LACK OF SUPPORT) LIKE AT YOUR SCHOOL?

My principal is great. She trusts me and lets me have control over the curriculum. She loves to tell the community what we are doing and makes sure to bring visitors to the lab to see what is happening there.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS FOR YOUR PROGRAM? FOR YOUR STUDENTS?

Since all students in my school are required to take computer classes, I measure success based on:

  • The engagement in the classes

  • The “fist bumps” or “hi-fives” when things work well

  • The number of students who want to know if they can do this at home and then actually DO it at home

  • The students who take interest in community events I share that are CS related

  • The “when can we do that again” comments or questions like “Do we get to do that when we are in whatever grade?”

In the future, I want to look at how many students take a CS course in high school, if I can get that information for all of them.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT REGARDING YOUR PROGRAM THAT I HAVEN’T ALREADY ASKED?

There is something truly special about being able to teach all students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. It is a real asset to modifying the curriculum to the needs of the students when you see all of them every year they are at the school. It really is gratifying to see the growth of the students throughout their time at our school. They amaze me every single year.

LAST QUESTION. YOU’RE ONE OF THE KEY PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE #CSK8 CHAT. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT? WHEN, WHY, WHO, ETC?

Back in late 2014, Sheena Vaidyanathan, who was the K-8 Teacher Representative on the CSTA Board at the time, put together a K-8 Task Group for CSTA which included: Sheena, Todd Lash, Aung Nay, Laura Blankenship, Patrice Gans, Myra Deister, Irene Lee, and me. We were tossing around ideas of what we could do to bring together K-8 (ages 5-14) CS teachers and help to promote CS in K-8 (ages 5-14). Back when Patrice Gans was the K-8 Teacher Rep on the CSTA Board, she had hosted some #csk8 chats on Twitter and we decided to resurrect those. They started up again in January of 2015 and have been going ever since.

The task group doesn’t actually exist anymore but the chat continues with a core group of people which includes Sheena, Todd, Grant Smith, and me. We are also having guest chat moderators more regularly. The live #csk8 chats currently happen on Twitter on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 5pm PT/8pm ET and cover topics of interest to K-8 (ages 5-14) teachers of computer science. We invite anyone who is interested in computer science for students ages 5-14 (you don’t have to be a K-8 CS teacher) to join us during the live chat or just follow the hashtag #csk8 at any time for posts about K-8 Computer Science.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE (IF ANY)