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Tells Us What You Need

Our research has consistently told us that what teachers want and need are resources, resources, and more resources but it is not always clear what kind of resources are most helpful.

First, what you need depends upon what you teach. The kinds of resources you need if you are teaching an introductory computer science course are very different from those needed by someone who is teaching AP CS.

Second, teachers use different teaching strategies and the students in their classes are very diverse. This makes it challenging to ensure that the activities and outcomes are engaging and achievable for all students.

So how do we decide what kind of resources would be most helpful to teachers?
Well, I guess we ask.

Here is the situation.

This Spring we completed a terrific project with IBM involving the creation of three new modules for teaching and learning: a module on web design for introductory courses, a module on learning object oriented programming by designing a pong game for more advanced students, and a module on project-based learning for teachers. This project was a great success for CSTA and IBM and we would love to work together to create more of these resources, but we need your guidance.

We are not talking about textbooks, or whole courses here. Rather, we would like to develop units that address a select number of key learning outcomes and can be easily fit into your exiting courses. You can expect that each resource would include a teacher's guide, sample worksheets or assignments, a Powerpoint presentation on key concepts, and an assessment tool.

So here is your chance. Tell us what kinds of units would be most helpful to you and what key learning outcomes it should address.

We really want to know.

Chris Stephenson
Executive Director


A start would be a link to the units you are mention in the article.

Small motivating projects are always good. I really like the Pong on the Stanford Nifty Website, because it gives the students a working game with a minimum of code.

I also like the CS Unplugged units and would love to see more activities on specific topics that do not require a computer. Either the internet goes down or we get pulled out of the classroom on a regular basis so if I have something that is easy to prepare and can put in a folder to pull in that occasion it is a big help. Better yet, is some stand alone activities that a sub could led easily.

Some multiple purpose units I can think of right off are units that would instruct students how to use generic word processors, spreadsheet software and presentation software. Many of the units that are currently available are aimed at a specific platform.

Kathleen (and others):

Here's the link:


(I found it by clicking on "Recommended Resources" on the CSTA home page.)


Finding Research on what schools are using to teach programming and at what levels. Success vs challenges...what works what dosen't..

Dear sir
I want to be a Great Mathematician is there any suggestion? Thank you in advance.

I am a new high school computer science teacher coming to the profession after 7 years working in the IT field. I would like to see some suggestions on recommended programming languages and the pros and cons of using them. While I have my preferences, I would hate to become one of those stodgy old comp science teachers who teaches a language no longer used in industry only because it is what I know.

To give an example, I like Visual Basic and am starting off teaching in it because the program Im taking over previously taught the language. However, as I have researched the topic, I discovered there is an AP comp science test in Java. While our rural school district may never have enough interest to hold an AP comp science class, are there compelling reasons to teach programming in Java vs. VB? One friend in industry claims Java is on its way out while others say things like applets are still useful.

I want to provide my students with general programming skills but also knowledge of a language that is relevant both now and in the future. The thoughts of some experts out there would be appreciated.

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