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Cure for the CS Blues

Are you the only CS Teacher in your district? In your area? Are you feeling the pressure of trying to promote a curriculum that the schools/states do not always recognize? Do you need a friendly face that understands your struggles and even your successes? If you answered yes to any of these then I have the cure for you - CS&IT.

Having just attended the 2012 CS&IT I was reminded how important it is to meet with other CS teachers. I have a renewed sense of purpose, excitement, and gained many new ideas from the other attendees. There always is a great selection of workshops (first day) and sessions (second day) to choose from. Beyond the sessions there is always time to just sit and talk with other teachers. I had two great dinners where I was with different people sharing about our situations, classes, goals, etc. It was so refreshing. It isn't all just shop talk either as we do get to know each others families, likes, dislikes, interests and in the process become friends. I love having friends that share the same passion about CS as I do. The conference gives me a chance to recharge before I start my school year again in the fall. It helps me get my "geek on" and it reminds me that I am not alone.

This year there was also the opportunity to go to the University of California Irvine to see what research and advancements in computer science are happening there. We were greeted by enthusiastic students and faculty who are pouring their efforts and passions into different areas of CS. I appreciated seeing examples of where the future of CS is headed. It is valuable for K-12 teachers to understand what is going on at the university levels and what opportunities our students have after they graduate. We need to be able to give examples to our students of current research and development. So a BIG THANK YOU to all involved at UCI!

We were also treated to a great closing speaker from ILM (Industrial Light and Magic). Alex Suter is a Stanford Computer Science graduate who is working in a prominent entertainment company. ILM brings computer graphics and simulation to life in the movies we all love to see. Not only did he share how their work is done but he was also an example of what a great career a CS university graduate can have. Again this gives me an example for my students of what you can do with computer science and where you can go with it. I could not give my students a better "real world" example than Alex.

CS&IT does a great job of giving attendees information K-16 and beyond. The camaraderie and friendships that are developed are priceless. The opportunities to learn new things or just to hone your knowledge base is invaluable. If you were not able to attend I encourage you to look on the CSTA website for the presenters slide and/or information. Also look and see if your state has a CSTA chapter or a Cohort leader. Look for those contacts and resources now and then next year I hope to see you at CS&IT 2013!

Stephanie Hoeppner
Ohio Cohort Leader
Ohio Chapter Vice-President

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