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Getting Ready for CS Ed Week

CS Ed Week is just around the corner, December 4 through 10, and now is the time to prepare for this week in celebration of Computer Science education and the impact of computing. I am serving on the CS Ed Week outreach committee and am excited to learn of the enormous amount of behind-the-scenes work that is going into making this a successful week.

The first thing you should do is go to the website www.csedweek.org and pledge your support. It's easy to do, and will help to increase the growing number of pledges on the site. Encourage your students, fellow teachers, and administrators to do the same. The website is full of useful information, well organized according to interest groups: K12 students, K12 teachers, parents and community, colleges and universities, and companies and professionals.

In the works for the site is an event planning toolkit to help you with the logistics of planning an event that week. But it's not too early to start to think about little things you can do, either within your classes, or within your school, to promote Computer Science education that week. A good place to start is to read the excellent article in the latest issue of the Voice that has ideas for how to participate, organized into length of time commitment.

Last year, my most successful event was a school alumni panel that presented how they use computer science and computational thinking skills in their current position. I put out a generic email to our alumni list and got an overwhelming response, so overwhelming that I could not accommodate all who responded. I even had several alumni on the west coast who were eager to talk to our students in Massachusetts. Everyone who contacted me was very excited about his/her career, how it related to computing, and each person was very enthusiastic about sharing his/her experiences with younger people. And the careers were varied. They included college professor, marketing professional, medical student, and software developer. It helped to make the case that all careers use computing skills and that learning computer science can be useful in so many occupations. I am hoping to make this an even bigger event this year, maybe like a science fair, where students can walk around and have conversations with alumni in there area of interest.

Any other great ideas for how to celebrate CS Ed Week? You can post them here, but post them on the CS Ed Week website too!

Karen Lang
CSTA 9-12 Representative

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