Friday, July 06, 2018

Thoughts Before #CSTA2018

My bags are packed. Normally I pack the night before a trip but my suitcase has been packed for days for my trip to the annual CSTA Conference. I even got a haircut this morning. I cleaned out my computer backpack and loaded my Kindle with books for the plane rides. I’ve been to just about every one of these conferences dating back to before there was a CSTA and it was the CS & IT Conference. Somehow this year feels different. My level of excitement is higher.

Sure there are more workshops than ever before and the sessions next week look awesome. But there is more to it than that. There is real energy in the computer science education community these days. We’re making progress in getting computer science moved into the mainstream of education. Here in New Hampshire, teaching computer science is defined in law as being part of an adequate education. Similar things are happening across the country.

We’re seeing tremendous growth in students taking computer science courses. Advanced Placement Computer Science numbers are seeing amazing upticks.

Teachers are more and more involved in conversations in social media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and anywhere else teachers communicate online. The ISTE conference has more CS every year as well.

But for most of us in K-12 computer science the CSTA conference is the place to meet in real life. Besides sessions and workshops the hallway conversations look to me amazing. Informal gatherings of all sorts are being planned and more will happen spontaneously. They’ll happen in the exhibit hall. (Can I say I love that the companies and organizations who come to exhibit really see to understand our community?) They will happen in hallways, lobbies, nearby food and drink establishments, bus rides to receptions, and anywhere two or more CS teachers bump into each other.

I already know there will be conversations about pedagogy training rather than just content. I know there will be talk about training for more advanced teachers who have a solid content knowledge already. And this is besides the scheduled birds of a feature sessions.

I can’t wait. Hope to see many of you there. I’ll be wearing my hat so come find me.

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