Posts tagged ‘CSTA’

Congratulations to Owen, Valerie, and Chris — ACM Award Winners!

Sharing Amber Settle’s note about ACM awardees from the computing education community, with her kind permission.

The SIGCSE Board would like to congratulate Owen Astrachan, Valerie Barr, and Chris Stephenson on their recent ACM awards.

Owen Astrachan was named recipient of the 2016 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for three decades of innovative computer science pedagogy and inspirational community leadership in broadening the appeal of high school and college introductory computer science courses. His citation can be found here: http://awards.acm.org/award_winners/astrachan_3068814

Valerie Barr has received the 2016 Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award for reinventing ACM-W, increasing its effectiveness in supporting women in computing worldwide and encouraging participation in ACM.  Since becoming Chair of ACM-W in 2012, Barr has been a driving force in more than tripling the number of ACM-W chapters around the world. Her citation can be found here: http://awards.acm.org/award_winners/barr_3211646

Chris Stephenson, Head of Computer Science Education Programs at Google Inc., was recognized for creating the Computer Science Teachers Association, an international organization dedicated to supporting teachers and pursuing excellence in CS education for K-12 students. More information can be found here: http://awards.acm.org/about/2016-presidential-award-stephenson

Owen, Valerie, and Chris will receive their awards at the ACM Awards Banquet later this month in San Francisco. Please join us in congratulating them for their achievements.

Amber Settle

SIGCSE chair, 2016-2019

June 7, 2017 at 7:00 am 2 comments

Public Review Period for K-12 CS CSTA Standards Now Open

Note that this is not the framework — standards are the curriculum specifications which can be based on a framework.  These are designed to align the K-12 CS Framework.

Go to the page linked below to find the links which will lead you to the standards specific to various grade levels.

The public review period for the revised K-12 Computer Science (CS) Standards is now open! In revising the K-12 CS Standards toward a more final form, the taskforce took specific steps to closely align its work with that of the K-12 CS Framework.  This alignment will strengthen the value of both resources as tools to communicate the CS concepts and practices critical to student educational experiences today. The Computer Science Teachers Association invites teachers, curriculum supervisors, administrators, business leaders, the broad education and business communities to review the standards and offer feedback. The public review process is now open and ends Wednesday, February 15 at 11:59 PM PST.

Source: Public Review Period for K-12 CS Standards Now Open! – CSTA

February 3, 2017 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Review the Draft of the 2016 CSTA K-12 CS Standards

It’s a little weird that the CSTA Standards are out for review now, when the Framework is just finishing the first round of public comment (see my review here).  The CSTA Standards have a different goal than the Framework, from my reading of the standards presentation — it’s about reflecting teacher’s process and classroom practice.  The review period ends March 3, so get your comments in soon.

The CSTA K-12 CS Standards Revision Task Force members have been diligently working to revise the 2011 CSTA K-12 CS Standards to ensure they are current, valid, and the best they can be. The task force members very much appreciate all of you who took the time to provide us with input on the 2011 CSTA K-12 CS Standards during the public feedback period in September – October 2015. Your input, along with the draft K-12 CS Framework and practices, standards from other states and countries, and related national standards informed the task force members as they revised, deleted, and added to the 2011 CSTA K-12 CS Standards. You may view the standards development process on the CSTA Standards Webpage. The first DRAFT of the 2016 CSTA K-12 CS Standards is ready for public review and feedback. We need your assistance once again!

Source: DRAFT 2016 CSTA K-12 CS Standards: We need your feedback! | The CSTA Advocate Blog

February 24, 2016 at 8:11 am 3 comments

The Individual Teacher versus the Educational System: What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools?

I highly recommend the article below, for the perspective above all.  The issue of “If we fix teachers, do we fix the American educational system” is discussed below and in a recent Freakonomics podcast (see link here).  The Freakonomics team comes to the same conclusion as below — no, the home life is a far bigger factor than any particular teacher.

But I’m more struck by the focus on the education system more than the individual teacher in the below essay.  If your focus is on the education system, then the goal shouldn’t be to identify and get rid of the “bad” teachers.  In the end, that’s just one teacher in a whole system.  You’re better off improving the system, by making the teachers as good as possible (e.g., with high-quality professional development, and lots of it).  Develop your teachers, and the system improves itself.

The comments about Teach for America are relevant to the TEALS program, too.  If we value teaching as a profession and want highly-skilled, prepared, and experienced teachers, then you don’t take newbies and make them teachers.  Make them assistants, or make them para-professionals.  Take a legitimate peripheral participation approach and let them help on the edges.  But keep the teacher front-and-center, valuing her or him for the experience and development that she or he brings to the classroom — don’t try to replace the teacher with someone who doesn’t have that experience and preparation.

When I told Barbara Ericson about these comments, she countered that I’m assuming that (with respect to computer science) schools have these well-prepared and experienced teachers.  She says that she’s seen whole districts without a single teacher with preparation as a CS teacher — but they’re teaching CS.  She argues that in most schools, a TEALS professional could not be just an assistant or para-professional, because the teacher can’t adequately support the course on his or her own.

In recent years the “no excuses”’ argument has been particularly persistent in the education debate. There are those who argue that poverty is only an excuse not to insist that all schools should reach higher standards. Solution: better teachers. Then there are those who claim that schools and teachers alone cannot overcome the negative impact that poverty causes in many children’s learning in school. Solution: Elevate children out of poverty by other public policies.

For me the latter is right. In the United States today, 23 percent of children live in poor homes. In Finland, the same way to calculate child poverty would show that figure to be almost five times smaller. The United States ranked in the bottom four in the recent United Nations review on child well-being.  Among 29 wealthy countries, the United States landed second from the last in child poverty and held a similarly poor position in “child life satisfaction.” Teachers alone, regardless of how effective they are, will not be able to overcome the challenges that poor children bring with them to schools everyday.

via What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools? – The Washington Post.

February 20, 2015 at 7:59 am 5 comments

CSTA – Oracle Survey: Access to and Understanding of Computer Science Education in US Schools

A new survey from both CSTA and Oracle.  None of the findings are too surprising.  What’s probably surprising is that this picture doesn’t seem too different from past CSTA surveys (see list of all of them here).  Efforts like the Hour of Code are reaching lots of students, but may not yet be making much impact on most schools and districts.

In addition, participants applied the term “computer science” to a vast array of topics and courses, many of which were submitted as “other” courses in response to the topics that were provided in the survey. Participants classified studies in business management, yearbook layout, artificial intelligence, robotics, office applications, and automated design as computer science courses. This broad use of “computer science” to encompass curriculum and courses that would not be considered “computer science” at a college/university or professional level indicates a need for educational community consensus on a common definition of computer science education and curricular content, lest we lead students or teachers to believe they are preparing students for college and careers when in fact, they are not. This perhaps begs the question whether “computer science” as a designation is being applied inappropriately for funding or other reasons.

Administrators stated that the most prevalent computer science course offered was Web Design and Development, followed by Intro to Computer Science with 54% of the schools offering it in grade 9, 47% offering it in grade 10, 39% offering it in grade 11, 37% offering it in grade 12, and only 27% offering at least one intro to CS course all four years. These were followed by computer graphics and programming. The top four content areas covered in computer science courses were listed as problem solving at 65%, ethical and social issues and graphics tied at 57%, and web development at 51%. However, analysis of algorithms came in at 35% as did testing and debugging. Each of these content areas are core to computer science and in particular programming.

One of the most important findings from the study suggests that better-funded schools are offering CS to their students at a far higher rate than low-income schools. This research verifies what was only previously suspected. Of the 27% of schools where the majority of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, 63% offer computer science courses. Of the 44% of schools where the majority of students do not qualify for free lunch, 84% offer computer science courses.

via CSTA – OracleSurvey.

February 11, 2015 at 8:03 am Leave a comment

Search is on for new CSTA Executive Director

I wrote a while back about Chris Stephenson moving to Google.  It’s time to find a new executive director for CSTA!

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) announces its search for an Executive Director. The Executive Director must be deeply committed to CSTA’s core mission, which is to empower, support and advocate for K-12 computer science teachers worldwide. The Executive Director reports to and works collaboratively with the Board of Directors to set strategic direction, develop goals, attain/manage resources, and establish policies for the organization.

The Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives and ensures ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance, administration, fundraising, communications, and organizational systems.

This is a full-time position. The Executive Director manages a staff including an Assistant Director and four part-time administrators (meeting planner, web developer, project coordinator, and newsletter editor), and conducts their work from a virtual office. Considerable travel is required.

For position specifications, including key responsibilities, qualifications, and procedures for candidacy, please visit http://summitsearchsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/CSTA-ExecutiveDirector-Spec.pdf.

January 17, 2015 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

Chris Stephenson steps down as Executive Director of CSTA

I do think that it’s fair to say that every K-12 CS initiative in the US has benefited from CSTA and its members, and it’s also fair to say that Chris Stephenson has personally played a major role in (many, if not most of) those initiatives.  Wishing her best of luck at Google!

I think it would be fair to say that there is not a single K-12 computer science initiative in this country (and other countries as well) that has not benefited directly from CSTA and its many dedicated volunteers. This is something in which every CSTA member can take great pride.

In the last year we have seen the pay off for much of CSTA’s early work. Public interest in computer science education has never been so high. Coalitions of powerful education and industry allies are working together to change educational policy. Great research is underway. And teachers now have access to unprecedented opportunities for professional development. K-12 computer science education is an overnight sensation more than 10 years in the making.

So what of the next 10 years? Like any truly great organization, CSTA continues to evolve and change as the needs of educators and their students do the same. But as long as computer science is taught in schools, there must be a peer-driven professional organization that does the countless things needed to ensure that it remains relevant, supported, and strong.

I recently submitted my resignation as Executive Director of CSTA, and May 23, 2014 will be my last day. I will be moving on to my new role as a Computer Science Education Program Manager at Google where I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of the computer science education community.

via Computer Science Teachers Association.

May 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

2014 Annual CSTA Conference — reserve your place

I’ve mentioned before that Yasmin Kafai and Michael Kölling will be keynoters there.  Barbara and I will also be there, offering a MediaComp Python workshop.

2014 CSTA Annual Conference
July 14-15, 2014 Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, Illinois

 

The CSTA annual conference is a professional development opportunity for computer science and information technology teachers who need practical, classroom-focused information to help them prepare their students for the future.

Highlights:

  • Explore issues and trends relating directly to your classroom
  • Learn, network and interact
  • Choose from various workshops and breakout sessions

 

Some of this year’s session topics include:

  • Advanced Placement Computer Science
  • Computational Thinking
  • Increasing Enrollment in Computer Science
  • Programming
  • Robotics

 

Keynotes:

  • Yasmin Kafai, Professor of learning sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Michael Kölling, Professor at the School of Computing, University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK.

 

Pre-registration is required and will be accepted for the first 500 teachers. The registration deadline is June 26, 2014. Also, please note that you must complete the payment portion of the online form in order to be fully registered for the conference!

 

Thanks to the generous donations of our sponsors, the registration fee of $75 (+$60 per workshop) includes lunch, resource materials, and a closing session raffle. The 2014 CSTA Annual Conference is made possible by the generous support of Oracle and Universal Technical Institute.

Please note that all workshops are “bring your own laptop” and that workshop registration is limited to 30-40 participants; so be sure to register early to get your workshop choice.

Register at: www.cstaconference.org

For more information contact: t.nash@csta-hq.org

March 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Bard College offers an MAT with a concentration in CS Ed

Announced on the CSTA website.  There are relatively few pre-service CS Ed programs in the United States.

Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching Program, a CSTA sponsoring school, is accepting applications for the 2014-2015 preservice program.

Bard College’s preservice teaching program offers a one-year, 63 credit Master of Arts in Teaching degree and NYS Initial Teaching Certification, grades 7-12 for math, biology, history, and English. Applications are being accepted for the program now through April 30th.

Responding to a nationally recognized need for computer science curriculum in our public schools, the Bard MAT Program is offering a unique curriculum for math teachers with a commitment to teaching computer science in secondary public schools. The student dedicated to becoming a mathematics and computer science teacher values the Bard MAT Program’s commitment to the discipline with its substantive research projects in mathematics, computer science, and math/cs education. Students will work with computer science teachers in the middle and high schools in New York’s Hudson Valley, preparing for teaching careers in computer science.

Visit our website http://www.bard.edu/mat for more information
Apply online at: https://bard.slideroom.com/

March 13, 2014 at 1:16 am 1 comment

There are no computer science teachers in NY

Here’s the next step after the Hour of Code and plans to implement comprehensive CS reform (like in Chicago): Where are you going to get the teachers?

It is widely acknowledged that for New York City to prosper in the 21st century, its middle and high schools must teach computer science. What is not so well known is that there are no computer science teachers in New York—at least not on paper.

The state does not recognize computer science as an official subject, which means that teachers do not get trained in it while they are becoming certified as instructors.

That’s one reason public-school students have little exposure to the skills needed to snag computer software programming jobs, which are expected to grow faster than any other profession during the next decade.

Out of 75,000 teachers in New York City public schools, fewer than 100 teach computer science. While state officials are trying to modernize the education syllabus, industry leaders have been filling in the gap with a handful of innovative efforts that illustrate the ad hoc nature of the solution to the shortfall of qualified teachers. But it will be years before all 800 of New York’s middle schools and high schools can offer even a single computer science class.

via There are no computer science teachers in NY | Crain’s New York Business.

February 27, 2014 at 1:38 am 8 comments

CSTA Keynote Speakers for 2014: Yasmin Kafai and Michael Kölling

Great names at the CSTA conference this year!

CSTA is excited to announce our keynote speakers for 2014!

Yasmin Kafai is a researcher, co-developer, author and professor of learning sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her doctorate from Harvard University and is a Fellow of the American Education Research Association. Kafai’s discussion titled “Connected Code: A New Agenda for K-12 Programming in Classrooms, Clubs, and Communities” will cover three central shifts that lead us from computational thinking to computational participation—from code to applications, from tools to communities, and from scratch to remix—in teaching and learning programming to broaden participation in computing for all.

Michael Kölling is a professor at the School of Computing, University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK. He holds a PhD in computer science from Sydney University and has worked in Europe and Australia. He is also an author and lead-developer of educational programming environments and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Kölling will discuss “What’s Next for CS Education: Thoughts on Topics, Tools, and All the Rest.” In his talk, Kölling will share his speculations and opinions on what should happen in the near future for computer science education, focusing on educational software tools.

Please join us at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois July 14-15, 2014.

Learn more on our conference page at:

http://csta.acm.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/sub/CSTAConference.html

and register today at:

https://www.softconf.com/d/csta2014/

February 15, 2014 at 1:31 am 2 comments

New CSTA Administrator Impact Award

CSTA 2014 Administrator Impact Award
 
The Computer Science Teachers’ Association, in partnership with Code.org, has established an award to recognize an administrator who has made an outstanding contribution in K-12 computer science. The purpose of this award is to identify and promote administrators who have made a significant impact to improve access to and the quality of computer science education.
 
Eligibility
Any public or private school administrator who is a CSTA member in good standing may be nominated for the CSTA Administrator Impact Award. Both the nominated administrator and the nominee must be able to attend (at CSTA’s expense) the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference scheduled for July 14th and 15th in St. Charles, Illinois. The winner and the person who submitted the nomination will be encouraged, although not required, to present at a dedicated session at the conference.
 
The Award
The Computer Science Teachers Association will award the winner and the nominating educator an all expense paid trip to the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference to be held in St. Charles, Illinois. The winner will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the conference and will be featured in an article in the CSTA Voice.
 
Application Deadline
The application must be submitted online no later than March 3, 2014.  See below for the Application Process.
 
Notification of Winners
The winning nominator and awardee will be contacted by April 11, 2014. The winner will be posted on the CSTA website by April 18, 2014.  The winner will be announced to all CSTA members via email by May 1, 2014. 
 
Application Process
To complete the online application, go to:  
 
http://tinyurl.com/cstaaaward
 
You will need to enter the following information:
* Nominator Information (name, school name, school city and state, email address, phone number)
* Nominee Information (name, title, school district, email, phone number)
* Description of how the person nominated has influenced or improved K-12 computer science education
* Description of the scope and impact this person has had on the school, district, state, or national level
* Description of the special qualities the person nominated demonstrates as an educator and leader.
 
Evaluation Criteria:
Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of how the administrator influenced or improved  K-12 computer science education. The scope and the impact of the nominee’s contribution may extend to school, district, state and/or national levels. The nominee should possess outstanding educator and leadership qualities as documented by the nominator.  Significant impact of the contribution should be broad enough to be replicated by other school districts and must be sustainable over time. Leadership qualities may be demonstrated through a variety ways including innovative approaches to local or national computer science challenges, mentoring of teachers, and visionary thinking.
 
Recommendations for Preparing the Application
* The online application must be completed in its entirety in one sitting.  It cannot be saved and/or continued at a later time
* Keep the narratives simple, unformatted, and concise
* Descriptions may be completed in a word processor then copied and pasted on the application; however, formatting may not be copied.
 
To complete an online application for the CSTA Administrator Award, please go to:
 
 http://tinyurl.com/cstaaaward
 
Questions?

Contact Chris Stephenson at c.stephenson@csta-hq.org

 

January 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

Spanning the Chasm of the K–12 and Post-Secondary Relationship: Chris Stephenson in Blog@CACM

Chris Stephenson’s blog from last month’s Blog@CACM highlights a significant impediment to progress in computing education.  CS Faculty in universities don’t understand K-12 education (and may not respect formal education at all, as discussed previously).  Education Faculty probably understand K-12 education better, but few of them are involved in computing education.  We in higher-education who want to help with the development of K-12 computing education need to understand the contexts and challenges of teachers — “know thy user.”

CSTA has served as a bridge between these two worlds, explaining each to the other and helping to facilitate greater understanding and better communication. For some post-secondary faculty, however, K–12 remains a foreign territory—little understood and not easily traveled.

When you talk to college faculty, they will tell you that working with K–12 educators can be exceedingly frustrating. Administrators and teachers do not return phone calls or respond to emails, schedules change with little or no notice, and teachers are resistant to spending out-of-school time on professional development opportunities and are averse to incorporating new technologies or teaching methods.

When you talk to K–12 teachers, they will tell you the post-secondary faculty are woefully ignorant of the realities of teaching in their environment. In K–12, most teachers teach six classes per day and an increasing number have no time in which to prepare lessons. Teachers don’t have phones. Some don’t even have desks. And very few have access to a networked computer on which they can answer correspondence during their teaching day. In many U.S. states, teachers do not make a living wage and so need to take second jobs and summer jobs to support their families.

via Spanning the Chasm of the K–12 and Post-Secondary Relationship | blog@CACM | Communications of the ACM.

January 16, 2014 at 1:09 am 4 comments

CSTA Blog: Critical Questions for CS Ed Research #CSEdWeek

An interesting set of research questions!

This weekend CSTA Chair Deborah Seehorn and I were attending the ACM Education Council meetings and, as part of the meeting, we participated in a group discussion about critical questions in computer science education research led by CSTA Past Chair Steve Cooper.

Our discussion group consisted of Deborah Seehorn from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Steve Cooper from Stanford University, Dan Garcia from Berkeley, and myself. Because we all have deep roots in K-12 computer science education, the list of questions we came up with covered a breadth of issues and reflect the deep need for research-grounded solutions to the issues we now face.

via Computer Science Teachers Association: Critical Questions for CS Education Research.

December 9, 2013 at 1:04 am 5 comments

Webinar on new report on Building an Operating System for Computer Science Education

This is related to the report that CSTA blogged on recently.  There will be a webinar for those interested in asking questions about it.

Join us for a special one-hour webinar presentation about high school computer science education!

Expanding computer science education is of vital importance to our nation’s future.  If we are going to address the grand challenge of growing computer science education across the country, we need to develop a greater understanding of how to prepare, develop and support computer science teachers of all levels and advocate for expansion and improvement.

Over the last 18 months, The University of Chicago’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE) and Urban Education Institute (UEI) has carried out national study of the computer science education community—including professional development providers, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders—to inform the growth and spread of high school computer science education in the United States.

Join us for a special conversation to learn about the results of that study, ask questions, and share your thoughts about the future of computer science education on Wednesday, September 25th at 3:00 pm (Central Time).

via Building an Operating System for Computer Science… Registration – Eventbrite.

September 6, 2013 at 1:49 am 3 comments

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