September 11, 2014

Inspire kids to create our future: Apply for a 2015 RISE Award

Technology has the power to change the world for the better, but today far too few have access to the education or encouragement they need to become creators, not just consumers. Google knows that pre-university exposure to Computer Science education is critically important for inspiring kids to pursue a career in computing.

That’s why we offer the RISE Awards -- grants of $15,000 to $50,000 USD -- to organizations across the globe working to promote access to Computer Science education for girls and underrepresented minorities. Our RISE partners are changemakers: they engage, educate, and excite students about computing through extracurricular outreach.

In 2014, 42 organizations received RISE Awards—with projects ranging from coding clubs in Europe to web development camps in Sub-Saharan Africa. In April, we brought all of our partners together for a Global Summit that sparked resource sharing and collaboration amongst organizations.

We’re looking for more partners in 2015.
Submit your application by September 30, 2014 in English, French, Japanese, Russian or Spanish. All eligibility information is listed on our

by Roxana Shirkhoda, Google K12/Pre-University Education Outreach

Posted by cstephenson at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2014

Thousands in Cash Prizes Available in Verizon Innovative App Challenge

Student teams across the nation are now invited to create novel ideas for the mobile app marketplace in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The competition offers middle and high school students the opportunity to apply their STEM knowledge and submit an idea for a mobile technology application that can be used to solve a societal or community problem. Registration for this contest is now open, and eight teams will win “Best in Nation” honors, each earning a $20,000 cash grant for their school.

No app building experience is necessary! Only an app idea is required for submission by a faculty advisor, who guides a team of five to seven students in the conceptualization process. This is the third year for this exciting competition by the Verizon Foundation,, in partnership with the Technology Student Association, Registration and entry instructions can be found on the Verizon Innovative App Challenge website at:

Contest Opens: August 4, 2014
Entry Deadline: November 24, 2014

Terry Lowe-Edwards
Marketing Manager
Technology Student Association

Posted by cstephenson at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2014

CSTA Annual Conference Reminder

If you haven't yet registered for the CSTA Annual Conference, time is running short. The conference takes place in St. Charles, Illinois (west of Chicago) on July 14-15. The deadline for reduced-rate housing is June 13 and online conference registration ends June 26. The full agenda for the conference, including keynotes and presentations, can be found at Be sure to check out the slate of outstanding workshops that are available in two sessions on Monday:

Morning Workshops:
* A Programming Approach to the CS: Principles “Data” Task
* Computational Thinking: from Game Design to STEM in One Week
* Developing CS Materials for the Guided Inquiry Classroom
* Introduction to Programming with Greenfoot
* Learning with TurtleArt
* Media Computation in Python (This workshop is FULL.)

Afternoon Workshops:
* Alice and Friends: Introducing Programming to Students, 5
* ArduBlock: Simple Yet Powerful Graphical Programming for Arduino
* Artbotics with Lego Mindstorms
* Introduction to Programming the HTML5 Canvas
* Mobile Computer Science Principles
* New Labs for the Advanced Placement Computer Science A Course (This workshop is FULL.)

Workshops are outstanding and affordable professional development opportunities, and if you register for two, you get a discount ($100 for two, versus $60 for one). We look forward to seeing you in July!

Register at

Dave Reed
Program Chair, CSTA Annual Conference
College Faculty Rep, CSTA Board of Directors

Posted by cstephenson at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2014

A Note from the Chair of CSTA's Board of Directors

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lissa Clayborn as Acting Executive Director of CSTA. Lissa is CSTA's Director of Development and has worked closely with Chris Stephenson on CSTA projects and programs during the past three years and has over 18 years in non-profit management. Many CSTA members have collaborated with Lissa on various aspects of CSTA, including local chapter management and advocacy. Lissa assumed her duties as Acting Executive Director on May 24, 2014, after Chris Stephenson's departure from CSTA to work at Google on May 23.

The CSTA Board of Directors, in collaboration with ACM leadership, has begun the process of searching for a new CSTA Executive Director. Next steps in the process include:

i. The CSTA Executive Committee will develop an updated job description for the CSTA Executive Director.
ii. The CSTA Executive Committee will organize a search committee for the position.
iii. The position and the updated job description will be publicized through the many networks with which CSTA is associated.
iv. The CSTA Board of Directors will have ongoing discussions throughout the process.

Deborah Seehorn
CSTA Board of Directors Chair

Posted by cstephenson at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2014

New Docs Show Oracle Academy Alignment with CS Standards

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and Oracle have released a series of new documents that demonstrate alignment between the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards and Oracle Academy's Java Fundamentals course and Java Programming course.

The growing interest in K-12 computer science education led to an unprecedented interest in the CSTA standards. Much of this interest has been focused on how current programs, courses, and resources align with CSTA standards. Toward this end, CSTA has created a number of crosswalk documents that delineate the alignment between its standards and several well-known national standards including the Common Core State Standards, the Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards, and the Partnership for the 21st Century Essential Skills.

Oracle Academy recently joined in this effort by working with CSTA to create new documents that show the alignment between the CSTA standards and two of Oracle Academy's most popular computer science courses: Java Fundamentals and Java Programming. These efforts have produced two documents for each course: an alignment checklist that provides a quick snapshot of the CSTA standards covered in the course and a comprehensive crosswalk that provides standard-to-standard matching.

Much of the work of this project was done by the CSTA Curriculum Committee. Committee Chair and CSTA Board of Directors Chair, Deborah Seehorn, notes that the committee sees considerable benefits to working with other organizations to help them improve alignment with the CSTA standards.

According to CSTA Board Chair, Deborah Seehorn, collaborating with CSTA industry organizations and other non-profits to align their curricula to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards is a win-win situation. "After the alignment has been made, computer science educators have ready access to the alignment crosswalks to assist them as they plan, develop or expand their local or state computer science curricula. Businesses and other non-profits benefit from this collaboration because it helps them better align their materials with the learning needs of computer science students," she said.

Seehorn also notes that the process helps other organizations identify potential areas for enhancement in future versions of their curriculum. "The CSTA K-12 Computer Science standards are transforming secondary computer science education, and the beneficiaries are our students and teachers, as well as the future computing workforce. CSTA is fortunate to work with such committed organizations."

Alison Derbenwick Miller, Vice President of Oracle Academy, also noted the importance of documenting alignment with the de facto national standards for K-12 computer science education.

"Oracle Academy's mission is to advance computer science education, and an important part of this is creating resources that are easily used by educators in classrooms. By demonstrating alignment to accepted curriculum standards, like the CSTA Computer Science Standards, we can facilitate curriculum reviews and help teachers and administrators integrate CS concepts and courses into the school day," said Derbenwick Miller. For more information about this Oracle project, please contact

CSTA is providing access to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards and to all of the current alignment documents on its website at:

CSTA is also committed to working with other partner organizations to help them understand the extent to which their standards, curricula, and resources are currently aligned to the standards and helping them improve that alignment. If you are interested in finding out more about this program, please contact Deborah Seehorn at

Chris Stephenson
CSTA Executive Director

Posted by cstephenson at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Thank You for the Honor of Serving CSTA

CSTA exists because of the work of a great many people and the support of computer science educators the world over who understand the importance of K-12 computer science education. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of CSTA, and it will also be my last year at helm of this organization. So it seems a fitting time to look at where CSTA has been and where it might be going.

ACM launched CSTA in 2004 as a result of recommendations from the ACM K-12 Task Force. This Task Force had taken on a number of critical projects, including the launching of the annual Computer Science and Information Technology Symposium and the development of the ACM Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science, which was created by a committee led by Allen Tucker. The Task Force felt, however, that supporting and improving K-12 computer science education would require something that other key disciplines already had; a professional association for K-12 practitioners.

In November 2003, ACM Director of Membership Lillian Israel and I put together a proposal for the ACM Executive Council. With support from ACM Chief Operating Officer Patricia Ryan and Chief Executive Officer John White and from high-level ACM volunteer leaders such as Maria Klawe and Stuart Feldman, the ACM Executive Council agreed to launch CSTA in January of 2004, and I was hired as the Executive Director.

Over the years, CSTA continued to evolve organizationally. By-laws were written, working committees were established, and the original Steering Committee transitioned to an elected Board of Directors. Robb Cutler served with distinction as CSTA's first president, followed by Michelle Hutton, Steve Cooper, and now Deborah Seehorn who leads the volunteer side of the organization with enormous dedication and intelligence as the Chair of the CSTA Board of Directors.

CSTA also launched several projects that have deeply impacted K-12 computer science education. These projects included the Java Engagement for Teacher Training (JETT) program (also generously funded by ACM), which worked in partnership with universities to help teachers get ready for the Advanced Placement exam shift from C++ to Java, and the Computer Science and Information Technology Symposium, which has now become the CSTA Annual Conference. In April 2005, CSTA published the inaugural issue of the Voice, CSTA's flagship member publication. In early 2006, CSTA also launched its regional chapter program, which today encompasses more than 50 chapters in 37 states and four Canadian provinces and fulfills the critical need for localized professional learning communities for teachers.

CSTA created and maintains the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, provides deeply relevant and effective peer-driven professional development for teachers, and disseminates critical information on K-12 computer science to the entire computer science education community. CSTA also conducts critical research on key issues such as shifting trends in computer science education, the presence of computer science content within state standards, teacher certification, and profound concerns of equity. In 2011, CSTA worked with ACM and Congressman Vernon Ehlers (MI) to launch the first Computer Science Education Week. More recently, CSTA has become deeply involved in state-level advocacy efforts, and many of CSTA's members and leaders have been on the front lines of every win in every state to date.

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.

I want to convey to CSTA's leaders and members my deepest thanks for allowing me the honor of serving CSTA. I have always known that CSTA was more than the sum of its parts and very much more than one person. CSTA has the respect of the computer science education community and the confidence of its members because it has always lived its vision and celebrated teachers as the true agents of change. CSTA has also been a force for greater understanding and collaboration across all educational levels.

I know that CSTA will continue to grow and thrive because it has strong and capable leadership and the most dedicated volunteers I have ever met.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this marvelous organization and this discipline that I love so very much.

Chris Stephenson
CSTA Executive Director

Posted by cstephenson at 05:28 PM | Comments (10)

April 14, 2014

CSTA Board of Directors Election

The election for six open positions of the CSTA Board of Directors is underway. If you were a CSTA member as of April 1, you should have received an email with a personalized link to the online ballot. If you did not receive your ballot email, then several scenarios might have occurred.

1. CSTA does not have your correct email.
2. The email was caught by your spam filter.
3. The email bounced due to some technical issue on your end.

We have tried very hard to get the word out about keeping your email address up-to-date. In addition to being a requirement for voting, a valid email address allows CSTA to contact you with information and professional development opportunities in your area. If you have not been receiving any announcements from CSTA in the past year, chances are your email address on file is not correct. Contact Chris Stephenson at and she can get your email corrected.

If your email address is correct but your organization has an aggressive spam filter, it may have caught the ballot email. Please check your quarantine zone and hopefully it will be waiting for you there. If your spam software has already discarded the email or some technical glitch prevented it from being delivered (e.g., a full mailbox), a second ballot email will be sent out around April 21. The email will come from, so you may need to add this address to the white list for your spam filter.

The CSTA membership is a vibrant community of more than 16,000 teachers and administrators. Don't miss the opportunity to vote and help select the Board members who will represent your interests. The election ends May 5.

Dave Reed
Nominations & Election Committee
CSTA Board of Directors

Posted by cstephenson at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2014

Celebrate Canadian Computing Education Day 2014 in Video (and in Song, If You Like)

February 21, 2014 is the 2nd Annual Canadian Computing Education Day. It is an initiative of the Canadian Association of Computer Science/Association d'Informatique Canadienne (CACS/AIC) whose members are the universities across Canada that offer Computer Science degree programs. CACS/AIC has also been actively encouraging the formation of CSTA chapters (or equivalents) in each Canadian province and territory. CACS/AIC is just one of many organizations concerned with computer science education in Canada.

Computer Science Education Week, focused on the United States of America though international in intent, is an important activity in Canada. This year, many Canadians took part in the Hour of Code. The anniversary of Grace Hopper's birth is a great time to celebrate computer science education: I enjoy showing my students a YouTube video of her appearance on a 1986 episode of Late Night with David Letterman.

A week-long event in the United States seems appropriately scaled as a day-long event in Canada. The day in February was chosen at the end of what we call "Reading Week" at Canadian universities, which happens at the same time of year for many institutions. In several provinces, the week begins with a statutory holiday on the Monday. The rationale is that universities without students are better able to host visitors from the surrounding community during open house events. Last year, computer labs were full of kids eager to experiment with LEGO blocks and robots, arduino hardware, and vegetables as musical instruments using Makey Makey (all controlled by Scratch programs). We suggested that Canadian Computing Education Day could also be known as Scratch Day Canada (since Scratch Day always seems to happen on a very important long weekend in Canada). We will make the same suggestion this year, for all those Scratchers out there, and we will also have the wonderful resources from and the Hour of Code that will be sure to provide even more excitement with kids of all ages.

Inspired by Hour of Code's videos, especially their Hour of Code kickoff video that featured Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepson, we decided to invite Canadians (wherever they may be) to submit short video segments (not more than about 30 seconds) talking about the importance of computing and computer science education in Canada.

You can find out all the details about the project at: Links on that page will direct you to the great videos for inspiration, in case you aren't sure what to say. Don't worry if don't have a videographer available. Your video messages captured on cellphones will also help to capture hearts and minds when the video is released on February 21

As you can see, there is no time to waste: make sure that your friends, family, and favourite celebrities and movers and shakers know about the video project. We welcome submissions from everyone, and especially encourage students and teachers to take this on as a class project.

For those on twitter, please retweet this to your followers:
Are you passionate about #CS Ed? Submit your short video celebrating #compsci in Canada for #CanCompEd Day

And follow @CanCompEd to help the video launch to go viral.

Please visit and make your submission no later than Tuesday, February 18.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me:

Daryl Hepting, Ph.D.
CACS/AIC Outreach Committee Chair
CSTA Saskatchewan Chapter President

Posted by cstephenson at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2014

CSTA 2014 Administration Impact Award Nominations Open

The Computer Science Teachers' Association, in partnership with, 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.

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

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:

    Contact Chris Stephenson at

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

    January 27, 2014

    A Special Message for All Procrastinators

    Just as many of you do, I like to listen to National Public Radio (NPR). And I fully understand the need for fundraising from the public a few times a year. Our local NPR station seems to always have a special promotion near the end of the pledge drive "for all the procrastinators out there." So, this blog post is for all you procrastinators out there!

    February 1 (Saturday!) is the deadline to submit Nomination Applications for the open CSTA Board of Directors positions. CSTA can always use committed and dedicated members to serve on the Board of Directors. So, if you happen to be one of those procrastinators who really would like to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors, please take a minute to complete your Nomination Application.
    Nominations are open for the following CSTA Director positions.

  • 9-12 Representative (1 position): A 9-12 classroom teacher who is currently teaching computer science at the high school level
  • At-Large Representative (1 position): An educator with responsibilities for K-12 CS education
  • International Representative (1 position): An international (outside the United States) classroom teacher who is currently teaching or promoting computer science at the pre-collegiate level
  • School District Representative (1 position): An administrator whose focus is technology or curriculum across multiple schools
  • Teacher Education Representative (1 position): A college- or university-level faculty member who has primary responsibility for the instruction of pre-service and/or in-service teachers of computer science and/or computing disciplines
  • University Faculty Representative (1 position: A faculty member from a university computing department offering graduate degrees in computer science
  • To submit a nomination:
    1. Download the 2014 CSTA Nominations Form from the CSTA website at:

    2. Complete the Nominations Form.
    The form includes the following information:

  • Position for which you are applying
  • Your Name
  • Address
  • School or Employer
  • Current Title/Role
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Personal Statement that explains your motivation and why you are a strong candidate (limited to 130 words).
  • Answer the following questions:
    a. What experiences and/or interests in K-12 computer science/information technology education qualify you to serve as a leader for the organization?
    b. What previous experience do you have with CSTA?
    c. What leadership skills do you have that would enrich the Board and the organization?
    d. What do you think are the most important issues for K-12 computer science education?

    3. Submit the completed Nominations Form and your current résumé of experience to the Elections Committee by emailing it to:

    The documents may be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format; PDF is preferred.

    Nominations deadline: February 1, 2014

    For more information please contact

    The Call for Nominations is available on the CSTA website.

    Deborah Seehorn
    CSTA Nominations and Elections Committee Chair

    Posted by cstephenson at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

    January 14, 2014

    Run For the CSTA Board of Directors

    Are you an educator or adminstrator with skills and drive? Have you considered putting those skills and drive to work for your CSTA? There are six vacancies on the CSTA Board of Directors and one of them may be just right for you.

    The vacancies for 2014 are:

  • 9-12 Representative,
  • International Representative,
  • School District Representative,
  • Teacher Education Representative,
  • University Faculty Representative, and
  • At-Large Representative.

    More information can be found at:

    including descriptions of these positions and the Nomination Application form.

    The deadline for nominations is February 1, however, so don't wait!

    Dave Reed
    Creighton University
    College Faculty Representative

    Posted by cstephenson at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

    January 10, 2014

    Apply Now For Computer Science Principles Summit

    CSTA invites teachers and administrators to apply to attend a special summit aimed at broadening understanding and creating capacity for the wide-scale adoption and on-going support of the Computer Science Principles course.

    This summit (to be held in conjunction with the CSTA 2014 annual conference in St. Charles, IL) will explore the pathways to CS Principles for the entire community (middle school and high school) and provide teachers and administrators with a context and strategies for implementing CS Principles in their high schools.

    This summit, featuring presentations, flash talks, and working groups, is open to teachers interested in teaching the new AP Computer Science Principles Course and administrators at all levels (Principals, District Superintendents) interested in bringing the new AP Computer Science Principles Course to their districts.

    Funding may be available for accommodation and travel. Attendance is limited to 50 participants and applications will close February 1, 2014.

    The summit will take place:

    Location: Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL
    Dates: July 16, 2014
    Registration Deadline: February 1, 2014

    Online applications are now open.

    For more information, see:

    or contact Chris Stephenson at

    Chris Stephenson
    Executive Director
    Computer Science Teachers Association

    Posted by cstephenson at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

    December 30, 2013

    CSTA Awards Chapter Advocacy Mini Grants

    Recently, CSTA completed the first round of CSTA chapter advocacy mini grants. These mini grants were given to local chapters for activities focusing on affecting public policy at the state or local level. Successful mini grants included one given to CSTA chapters in New Jersey and Maryland. Funding for the mini grant project was generously provided to CSTA by the ACM SIG Governing Board.

    Mini grant applications required chapter applicants to identify advocacy goals and objectives for the proposed project and provide a description of how those goals and objectives would be carried achieved. Applicants were also asked to devise an evaluation plan t measure whether or not those goals were achieved. Applicants were further required to identify the population the project would serve as well as any collaborative efforts with outside agencies or institutions that would be leveraged during the program. Finally, participants were asked provide a detailed project budget.

    All mini grant applications were forwarded to a grant committee consisting of five CSTA members. These members carefully read each proposal and rated it according to a rubric which included the likelihood that the project could be replicated by other chapters. All the ratings were combined and then discussed during a conference call of all committee members in early December. The grant awards winners were notified by December 5.

    The CSTA Northern New Jersey (CSTANNJ), CSTA Central New Jersey (CSTACNJ) and CSNJ (an outreach project of CSTANNJ and CSTACNJ) were awarded a $3000 grant. The New Jersey chapters plan to partner with Rutgers University and Kean University in October 2014 to create an informational both and presentation at the New Jersey School Boards Association conference. The presentation will focus on the state of Computer Science in New Jersey and the impact of CS on student achievement and future career prospects. Members of CSTANNJ and CSTACNJ plan to hold meetings with legislators, business leaders, educators, parents, administrators, member of local school boards and other educational professionals to influence the direction of CS education in New Jersey. The New Jersey chapters plan to evaluate their program by asking attendees to evaluate the presentation and tracking the brochures and other materials that are distributed through the project.

    CSTA Maryland is partnering with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to use the $1000 mini grant as seed money to hold The Athena Conference (TAC) in May 2014. The Athena Conference's goal is to educate female junior and senior high school students and their parents about careers and majors in computing. TAC hopes to enlist parents as advocates for policy and curriculum changes whereas Computer Science is concerned. TAC plans to use the CSTA mini grant money to provide parallel parent sessions during the conference. CSTA Maryland plans to evaluate their project through pre and post conference surveys to measure the participants' knowledge of and attitudes toward CS education and careers. In an attempt to sustain the conference, CSTA Maryland and UMBC plan to put together a planning tool kit that would allow other chapters to host their own TAC event.

    Round two of the mini grant application process is currently underway. Chapter leaders can create applications for $1000, $3000 and $5000 mini grants through January 6, 2014.

    Dave Burkhart
    CSTA Chapter MIni Grant Awards Committee

    Posted by cstephenson at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

    November 16, 2013

    CSTA Seeking CS Education Leaders for Board Positions

    As we approach the start of the new calendar year, it is time to start the CSTA Board of Directors nominations and elections process once again. CSTA is a member organization led by a working board of directors. The affairs and property of CSTA are managed, controlled, and directed by an elected Board of Directors. The future and health of the CSTA organization depend upon the quality and dedication of the CSTA Board of Directors leadership. The Board of Directors consists of officers representing various aspects of computer science education. All CSTA Board of Directors positions must be held by individuals who are professionally connected to K-12 computer science education and are CSTA members. I encourage interested CSTA members to apply or to encourage other qualified members to submit an application.

    The following CSTA Director positions will be vacated on May 31, 2013 and will be filled during the 2014 CSTA Board of Directors Election:

  • 9-12 Representative (1 position): A 9-12 classroom teacher who is currently teaching computer science at the high school level.
  • At-Large Representative (1 position): An educator with responsibilities for K-12 CS education.
  • International Representative (1 position): An international (outside the United States) classroom teacher who is currently teaching or promoting computer science at the pre-collegiate level.
  • School District Representative (1 position): An administrator whose focus is technology or curriculum across multiple schools.
  • Teacher Education Representative (1 position): A college- or university-level faculty member who has primary responsibility for the instruction of pre-service and/or in-service teachers of computer science and/or computing disciplines.
  • University Faculty Representative (1 position): A faculty member from a university computing department offering graduate degrees in computer science.
    CSTA is dedicated to promoting diversity in K-12 computer science education as well as on its Board. We strongly encourage all qualified individuals to apply.
  • In February, at the close of the nominations period, the Nominations and Elections Committee of the CSTA Board will select the two most qualified applicants in each position for inclusion on the ballot. Late nominations will not be accepted.

    The CSTA Board is a working Board, and all Directors are required to attend two Board meetings per year and are expected to contribute meaningfully by participating on at least two committees. This year, the CSTA Directors are required to participate in the following Board events in St. Charles, IL:

  • July 13, 2014: New Board Member Orientation
  • July 14-15, 2014: CSTA Annual Conference
  • July 16, 2014 CSTA Committee Meetings
  • July 17-18, 2014: Full Board meeting
  • To begin the nominations process, download the 2014 CSTA Nominations Form from the CSTA website at:


    Submit your completed Nominations Form AND your current résumé of experience to the Elections Committee by emailing it to The documents may be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format; PDF is preferred. The Nominations deadline is February 1, 2014.

    Each candidate's personal statement and responses to the four questions in the Nominations Form will be posted on the CSTA website and included on the ballot. Statements will be truncated at the word-count limit if necessary. The candidate's résumé will not be made public. The election will take place online, beginning April 2, 2014. All CSTA members in good standing will be eligible to vote. The election will close May 5, 2014. Results will be posted May 17, 2014.

    CSTA is seeking committed CS education leaders to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors. We encourage all interested and qualified individuals to submit an application. You may be the passionate and dedicated CS educator that will help lead the CSTA Board during the next two years. Please thoughtfully consider submitting your application today.

    Deborah Seehorn
    CSTA Board of Directors Chair
    Nominations and Elections Committee Chair

    Posted by cstephenson at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

    September 28, 2013

    Share Your Ideas and Experiences at the CSTA Conference

    The call for proposals for the 14th Annual CSTA Conference is now live. The conference will be held on July 14-15, 2014 at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois (just outside of Chicago).

    Serving as a member of the conference committee the past three years, I have been constantly impressed and inspired by the quality of the presentations from you, our members. The 3-hour workshops sessions, which run on the first day of the conference, have provided time for learning through hands-on exploration and extended discussion. The 1-hour sessions, which run on the second day, have provided sufficient time for the presentation and discussion of new technologies, educational initiatives, and classroom experiences. As the CSTA Conference has grown over the years, so has the number of proposals we receive. In 2013, there were 98 proposals for the conference (37 workshop and 61 presentation sessions), up from 55 in 2012. Due to the number and high quality of the proposals, we were able to add more workshop sessions and accommodate even more attendees in 2013.

    This year, we are hoping to expand the opportunity to contribute even more by introducing a limited number of 20-minute mini-sessions to the program. These mini-sessions, which will focus on pedagogy and best teaching practices, will allow teachers who have great ideas to contribute without having to fill an entire hour. The plan is to bundle related mini-sessions in groups of three, to conform to the 1-hour time slots. That way, we can get more contributors involved and provide an even greater variety of perspectives at the conference. So, if you have a great idea, a nifty educational tool, a new approach to teaching a topic, or just an interesting experience that you think would be of interest to your peers, consider submitting a mini-session proposal for CSTA 2014.

    Whether you submit or not, definitely mark July 14-15 on your calendar for CSTA's premier professional development event.

    Dave Reed
    CSTA Conference Chair
    College Faculty Representative, CSTA Board of Directors

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

    September 24, 2013

    The Purple Voice is Going Green

    As I sit down to work on the November 2013 issue of the Voice newsletter, it occurs to me what a significant transformation this issue represents. The CSTA Voice is going green! And along with a departure from nearly 10 years of print tradition, comes many new and exciting opportunities alongside the comfort and traditions you've come to expect.

    The primary goal of the Voice is to provide analysis and commentary on issues relating to K-12 computer science education issues, resources for educators, and information for member. That's not going to change.

    If you value the printed copy of the Voice, you will be able to download and print a copy to slide on to the principal's desk or read and dog-ear at your convenience. That's not going to change.

    I welcome your suggestions for topics and offers to write for the Voice. Your expertise and sights are what make the Voice a valuable resource for CSTA members. That's not going to change.

    But some things will change:

  • Each month you will receive an e-mail notice (Voice Highlights) to will alert you that the next issue of the Voice is ready for you to read online or to download. The notice will include brief descriptions of articles with links to take you right to the content you are interested in.
  • Typically, article submissions are not accepted after about seven weeks prior to when you expect to find the print Voice in your postal mailbox. With a much shorter electronic publication process, the Voice articles can be much timelier.
  • CSTA will save nearly $60,000 in publishing and postage costs. That's nothing to sneeze at!
  • And of course, there are the environmental impacts to consider. In addition to the fuel savings from production and delivery, the electronic version will save over three tons of paper each year!
  • All things considered, this is the right move for us. I'm delighted with the change. I'm sure you will be too. Please let me hear from you soon with your topic ideas for the new green Voice.

    Pat Phillips, Editor
    CSTA Voice

    Posted by cstephenson at 01:35 PM | Comments (1)

    September 12, 2013

    CSTA Voice Moving to E-Distribution

    Like many non-profit institutions, CSTA is always looking for new, more efficient ways to do business and for ways to keep CSTA membership free of charge for individual members. We also try to be proactive when it comes to addressing member concerns. Both of these factors have contributed to our decision to distribute the CSTA Voice electronically starting with the November 2013 issue.

    The decision to cease printing and mailing the Voice was a difficult one for the CSTA Board of Directors. We know that there are a number of members who value receiving their printed Voice every two months. But rising costs and requests from our members to be more environmentally conscious made this change inevitable.

    CSTA's membership continues to grow by more than 25% per year and as a result, our CSTA Voice circulation is closing in on 16,000 copies per issue. This means we have to print 96,000 copies of the Voice per year and pay the postage for 96,000 mailings to 124 countries. With recent increases in printing and postage, our costs have already edged over $60,000 per year and were certain to keep increasing. Our choice was clear, start charging members for the CSTA Voice or change our distribution model.

    Over the last two years we have also been receiving increasing requests from our members to "green" our publication distribution processes and policies. And so we have moved to online distribution for all of our key reports, documents, and resources. Up until now, the Voice has been the only exception to this strategy. But as one member said in a recent email, "It makes no sense for a technology-focused organization like CSTA to keep killing trees to print and mail the Voice when most other organizations are going to electronic distribution".

    So as of the November issue, we are moving to online distribution of the Voice. Every two months CSTA members will receive an email with an electronic publication containing briefs of all of the Voice articles in that issue. You will then be able to click through to read the articles that interest you. If you want a complete copy of the issue, you will still be able to download it directly from the CSTA website and each e-issue will provide the download link.

    We know that this is a big change for CSTA members, but we hope that you will see it as proof of our commitment to making our community accessible, affordable, and environmentally responsible.

    Deborah Seehorn
    Chair, CSTA Board of Directors

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 12:45 PM | Comments (3)

    September 09, 2013

    Barriers to More CS Teaching and Learning in Schools

    Many of us spend a lot of time trying to convince those around us (colleagues, school administrators, district leaders, politicians, etc.) of the importance of computer science education for all students. I have certainly staked much of my identity to doing just this, and I know many readers of this column are the same way.

    If you're like me, you've also wondered why it is so hard to show people something that seems so a priori obvious: that computers and digital technology have changed the world so profoundly that for the foundational knowledge that makes this technology possible to affect education in something besides a superficial fashion is inconceivable.(1)

    Thanks to recent efforts like those of the public view of computer science, or at least technology education in schools, seems to be shifting from the view that mere exposure and access to technology (the "if you build it, they will come" model) is some kind of magic bullet that will make students "better with computers." As educators, we know that increasing and improving both the teaching and learning of CS is going to be essential if we are to truly meet our nation's need for computer science talent. But, what exactly needs to be in place for that to happen?

    The results of a study just released by the University of Chicago's Center for Elementary Math and Science Education (CEMSE) and Urban Education Institute might help shed some light on the necessary supports needed, and what the barriers are to providing quality computer science education learning opportunities for students. The CS in Schools report builds off the results in the Teacher Capacity Survey which surveyed nearly 800 CS teachers, with in-depth interviews with both administrators and teachers. In interviews, both teachers and administrators signaled that misconceptions about computer science, low prioritization of computer science as a course, and limited availability of CS teachers are three huge barriers to providing CS opportunities to our students.

    In addition to these three common barriers, teachers also identified two other challenges they face: isolation and lack of instructional materials. Interestingly school administrators identified another: the competition CS courses face "against" other courses in their schools. Teachers and administrators both agreed on the importance of teacher professional development. And teachers also identified the five other important supports: professional networks, online resources, school-provided materials, support from universities, and student interest.

    Read more and hear responses from teachers and administrators in their own words here. Do these barriers and supports to ring true to your school?

    Baker Franke
    CSTA Leadership Cohort Member

    (1) This is almost a verbatim quote from John Dewey who was struggling with similar changes brought about by the industrial revolution 100 years ago. See: John Dewey. "The School and Social Progress." University of Chicago Press (1907): Chapter 1: The School and Society. pp 20-21.
    University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Chicago, IL)

    Posted by cstephenson at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

    January 18, 2013

    CSTA Standards Now Aligned to Other National Standards

    Have you become familiar with the new CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards? I'm sure you are aware that the standards were revised and published in December 2011. Do you know that the standards are organized into five strands: Collaboration; Computational Thinking; Computing Practice and Programming; Computers and Communications Devices; and Community, Global, and Ethical Impacts? The standards for learning are scaffolded in each of the strands, from Level1:3 (Grades 1-3) to Level 1:6 (Grades 3-6), to Level 2 (grades 6-9) to Level 3A (grades 9 and 10); and then to level 3B (grades 11 and 12). There are beautiful and descriptive graphics in the Standards Document that depict this scaffolding of standards.

    So, if any of this is news to you, you might want to download and read and download the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards from the CSTA website.

    Have you been asked to demonstrate how your Computer Science courses contribute to the teaching of other national standards? The great news today is that the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards have now been correlated with the Common Core State Standards, the STEM Cluster Topics, and the Partnership for 21st Century Essential Skills. The downloadable documents that match the CSTA standards to the above national standards are available on the Curriculum webpage of the CSTA website.

    Many thanks to Debbie Carter, former CSTA Board Member, who painstakingly compared the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards to each of the other three sets of national standards! Thanks also to the Curriculum Committee who reviewed Debbie's meticulous crosswalks and collaborated with Debbie on the final crosswalks.

    These "crosswalk" documents will be exceedingly helpful to classroom teachers who are asked to state how what they teach reinforces national standards. Be the first in your school or district to check out these useful crosswalk documents and put them to good use. Then spread the word!

    Deborah Seehorn
    CSTA State Department Representative, Chair Elect
    Curriculum Committee Chair

    Posted by cstephenson at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

    January 17, 2013

    Game Design Competition: The National STEM Video Game Challenge

    Competitions engage students, build excitement, and can push CS learning to higher levels. Here is an opportunity to enthuse your students with a competition using familiar classroom tools. No need to learn a new game development environment. My bet is that you are already using one of these listed in the competition.

    Inspired by the "Educate to Innovate Campaign," President Obama's initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition aiming to motivate interest in STEM learning among America's youth.

    The 2013 Challenge will open to submissions in January, 2013, with competitions for middle and high school students. Your students (and you) will love the variety of entry choices:

  • Written game design documents
  • Games made with Gamestar Mechanic
  • Games made with Gamemaker
  • Games made with Kodu
  • Games made with Scratch
  • Games made with any tool (Agent Sheets, Flash, XNA Game Studio, and several more)
  • Check it out!

    It might be just the spark plug you need for second semester.

    Pat Phillips
    Editor, CSTA Voice

    Posted by cstephenson at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)

    January 03, 2013

    Share Your PD Experiences

    As every computer science teacher knows, professional development is critical to keeping our knowledge up to date, our teaching skills sharp, and reinforcing our sense of community and common purposes; not to mention some modicum of keeping abreast of the latest technological innovations that our students seem to absorb through their skin!

    A wide variety of PD is available to all teachers; we have all witnessed the good, bad, and ugly. In an upcoming issue of the Voice newsletter we will focus on planning and executing computer science PD that meets the unique needs of CS teachers. The goals will be to:

  • Highlight upcoming quality events (including the CSTA Annual Convention to be held in Boston, July 15 - 16 and local CSTA Chapter events).
  • Share successful PD event planning strategies.
  • Learn techniques for executing valuable hands-on PD workshops.
  • Explore pitfalls to avoid.
  • CSTA members have a wealth of knowledge, insights, and perspectives to contribute. Your experiences are valuable and can help us all create dynamic PD that fellow CS teachers will long remember. We'd love to hear from you. Please contribute.

  • Tell us about your chapter plans for the spring, summer, and into the fall. We certainly want to include your events on the CSTA Voice calendar!
  • Share your experiences in planning and executing an event; we can learn from your success and disappointments.
  • Guide us step-by-step through planning and conducting hands-on workshops with lasting impact.
  • Provide an outline to delivering a memorable presentation.
  • Speak up about the topics you'd like to learn about in PD events.
  • If you have a story to tell please contact me at It's easy!

    Pat Phillips,
    Editor, CSTA Voice

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

    December 30, 2012

    2013 CSTA Annual Conference

    Are you ready for some great Computer Science and/or IT professional development? Or, do you have some great professional development that you would like to share with other CS professionals? Or are you simply anxious to visit the scenic and historic Boston area in July? If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then get ready for the 2013 CSTA Annual Conference!

    The Conference
    This year's CSTA Annual Conference (formerly known as CS & IT Symposium) will be held July 15-16, 2013 in Quincy, Massachusetts (just outside Boston). Monday, July 15 is the date for hands-on computer workshops, and Tuesday, July 16 is the date for keynotes and breakouts. Conference registration opens February 1, 2013 and closes June 16, 2013. Housing reservations open on February 1 and close on June 10.

    Attendees at previous years' conferences have commented:

  • Great ideas that energized me to follow-through!
  • I can use this immediately in my classroom.
  • This session really related to what I need and the presenter moved quickly and covered the topic well.
  • This session gave me something I can use in my classroom.
  • A first-hand experience by K-12 teachers. It was very informative to hear the different perspectives.
  • This session exposed me to a curriculum I had never heard of before and just in general featured a really good panel of speakers.
  • Showed the possibilities for my classroom
  • Just what I needed!
  • Gave me tools and resources I can use in my classroom
  • This session was a great idea! Made me want to learn.
  • I'll use this right away.
  • Gave me so many ideas.
  • Information about previous years' conferences can be found on the CSTA website by following the Professional Development link on the left-hand navigation bar. Click on the Annual CSTA Conference tab for conference links.

    Call for Proposals
    The conference committee has issued the Call for Proposals, which opened December 10, 2012 and closes January 24, 2013. Acceptance/Rejection Notifications will be sent by March 7, 2013. The committee also needs reviewers for the proposed sessions.

    Be sure to mark the dates: July 15-16, 2013. The CSTA Annual Conference is the premier professional development opportunity for CS educators. You won't want to miss it!

    Deborah Seehorn
    CSTA State Department Representative, Chair Elect

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

    December 21, 2012

    Opportunity Begat Opportunity

    Occasionally an opportunity comes along, out of the blue, that really makes you stand up and take notice. It is not something that has been on your radar, nor is it something that you had a vision for with developed goals on how to get there. Instead, it just happens. You calculate your risk; decide to go for it, because even if it does not pan out, you are still in a good place.

    And that just happened to me.

    After 10 years in a career that was solely responsible for CS Education advocacy and training, opportunity came along. I will be transitioning into a position that has potential for broader impact and creating real-life opportunities for K-12 students to experience computer science in action. I have enjoyed my 10+ years as a K-12 Outreach Coordinator, conducting professional development for CS teachers and facilitating student programs. But it's time for something different. I will be coordinating a high school version of a program called EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service). Teams of high school students pair with a non-profit community partner, and engineer a solution to a need. This includes all engineering disciplines, including computer science.

    And that has now created an opportunity for someone else - hopefully one of you. If you are passionate about CS education, professional development, and K-12 kiddos. This might just be for you.

    Purdue University's Department of Computer Science is looking for a new K-12 Outreach Coordinator. To learn more about it, visit:

    Mindy Hart
    At-Large Representative

    Posted by cstephenson at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

    December 19, 2012

    Getting Ready for SIGCSE 2013

    Somewhere I read that I should buy a plane ticket three months before a trip in order to get the best price. If that's right, then I'm almost two weeks overdue in purchasing my plane ticket for SIGCSE 2013, the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education's annual conference, to be held in Denver March 6-9, 2013.

    If you've never been to SIGCSE, you should check it out. There always seems to be a little something for everyone involved in CS education: university level CS instructors, K-12 CS teachers, curriculum designers, outreach program coordinators, and teachers who run extracurricular programs in computing.

    I've run through the workshop schedule as well as the list of paper sessions, special sessions, and birds-of-a-feather sessions and have made my schedule for the conference. I am particularly excited about this year's offerings and know that taking a few days off of work will be well-worth my time spent away from my students. I'm personally looking forward to:

  • Re-Imagining CS1/CS2 with Android
  • Computing for the Social Good
  • Retention
  • Demystifying Computing with Magic
  • Introducing Testing in Computer Science
  • AP Computer Science: Gridworld to Labs
  • How AP CS A Matches College Courses
  • What Are We Thinking When We Grade Programs?
  • Nifty Assignments
  • Camps and Mobile Computing
  • Embedding CS in K-12 Classes
  • Live Coding
  • Poster Sessions
  • CSTA Birds of a Feathers sessions on chapters and standards
  • Keynote sessions by Henry Walker, Jane Margolis, and Michael Kolling, among others
  • and the exhibits!
  • But more importantly, I'm looking forward to being around like-minded professionals to learn from, collaborate with, and to share experiences with about our trials and tribulations of teaching CS. As a K-12 representative on the conference committee this year, I'm looking forward to see old friends and making new ones. If you attend SIGCSE, I hope you will stop by the K-12 teachers room to make a new friend or two!

    For those K-12 teachers who may not be able to take off three days of school, there is a special rate for a one-day only experience on Friday, March 8. The conference organizers have tried to put sessions on that day which are of most interest to K-12 teachers. For more information about SIGCSE, the conference schedule, and conference fee information, visit:

    For me, it's a Super Bowl type event. Instead of preparing by purchasing the latest, greatest, and biggest flat-screen TV I can find, I'm am planning on purchasing the optimal backpack that will hold my laptop, conference swag, and important handouts comfortably for the duration of the conference.

    But first, I need to buy my plane ticket.

    Ria Galanos
    CSTA 9-12 Representative

    Posted by cstephenson at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

    December 17, 2012

    The Intersection of Computing and Social Good

    On Saturday, December 1, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the intersection of computing and social good when I participated in the Global Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event, at Trinity College.

    According to their website, Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is unique in the space of apps competitions, hackathons and technology for social good. RHoK's model is to start from identifying, defining and refining problem definitions provided by subject matter experts and local stakeholders. This ensures that volunteer time is focused on solving real problems for real people. RHoK is more than simply a weekend event. It is a process that begins with problem definition, continues through rapid prototyping of a solution at a hackathon event, and culminates in working with the experts and technologists alike to create a sustainability plan for promising applications to ensure they make it out into the real world.

    I originally learned about RHoK last summer when I attended the CSTA Connecticut chapter's summer professional development workshop at Quinnipiac University. I had the good fortune to learn App Inventor with Trinity College Professor Ralph Morelli, a core member of the Steering Committee for HFOSS (The Humanitarian Free Open Source Software Project). I found Professor Morelli's description of HFOSS very interesting, leading me to the RHoK website and, ultimately, to participating in the global event on December 1st and 2nd.

    I had no idea that, by contributing to the RHoK's 6th annual global hackathon, I would be in such good company. With 1000 participants across 30 cities in 16 different countries, it was the biggest RHoK event ever held. Not only did this include an unprecedented number of technologists, it also included experts from major stakeholders, such as the Peace Corps, Code for America and the World Bank. The problem definitions ranged from sanitation issues for emerging nations from the World Bank, civic engagement via the Code for America's Race for Reuse, and assorted quality of life concerns from the Peace Corps.

    As a K-8 Computer Science teacher, I had anticipated that I would attend the event as an observer, but instead, found myself quickly immersed in the activities.

    The first step was the selection of the problem definition we wished to tackle. I found myself drawn to one of the featured sanitation problem definitions from the World Bank's Sanitation Hackathon problem set. Thankfully, my desire to work on a project aimed at helping girls was also shared by fellow participant and Trinity College student, Pauline Lake.

    During the initial brainstorming process, a representative of RHoK, Elizabeth Sabet from Second Muse, suggested that Pauline and I touch base with other RHoK events that might be simultaneously working on the same challenge. We managed to track down teams from DC and New York and connect with them remotely. It was an interesting experience to hear how others were tackling the same problem and reinforced the potential magnitude of our collective impact. We also had the good fortune to speak with the expert in Washington, DC who had proposed the problem. In addition to explaining the details of the project, she also clarified the requirements for the App and further explained how she envisioned local NGO's implementing this technology.

    After the initial discussions were concluded, we returned to brainstorming solutions, then worked up a prototype and diligently debugged our App. Designing the App entailed determining the components, the layout, the code, the logo and the name. I was a novice App Inventor programmer, so Pauline took the lead.

    While designing the App, I envisioned how my own students would tackle the task. Independent by nature, many of them would initially shy away from collaborating, thus missing out on the benefits of working within a group. Computer programming presents the perfect opportunity for collaboration, as each person brings a unique talent to the process. For example, in the case of my students, some excel at drawing, others have a firmer grasp of the intricacies of App inventor, and others' personal strengths lie in their communication skills. Software development is indeed a group effort. I am eager to share this insight with my students.

    I also want to share with them the opportunity to work on an application that will be used to help others. To this end, I am happy to report that, on Saturday, May 4, I will be hosting the first ever Random Hacks of Kindness Junior at the Fraser Woods Montessori School. The objective of the daylong event is to show students that, as technology creators, computing can be more than a media and entertainment outlet. It can be used as a tool for change. In creating the App, Empowering Girls, Pauline and I were driven and motivated by the knowledge that our program would be put to good use.

    When duplicating Saturday's event with students in grades 4-8, I will stress how their participation is part of a bigger effort. Attending RHoK Hartford, helped to solidify other objectives as well; the need to come supplied with student-friendly problem definitions, inspiring user stories, and, of course, plenty of refreshments.

    My first experience "hacking for humanity" was very inspiring, both as a K-8 Computer Science teacher and as a humanitarian endeavor; which, unbeknownst to most, can actually go together! I am convinced that my students will come away with similar feelings. I can't wait for May!

    Patrice Gans
    CSTA K8 Representative

    Posted by cstephenson at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

    December 09, 2012

    CSTA Launches CSEDWeek With New Student-Created Posters

    CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the Faces of Computing poster contest as part of the Computer Science Education Week celebration. The winning posters were selected based on the creative design of images that reflect the diversity of student interests and experiences around computing.

    In the Elementary School Competition, the winners are 4th graders Khal Bashawaty, Tyler DiMartino, Danie Meder, and Sanjana Vakacharla and from Fraser Woods Montessori School in Newtown, CT. Their teacher is Ms. Patrice Gans.

    In the Middle School Competition, the winners are 8th graders Shaakira Bannister, Kayla Davis, Ayana McClanahan, and Freedom Watson from Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, D.C. Their teacher is Mr. Carlos Baez.

    In the High School Competition, the winner is Jerome Williams from Lincoln Park High School in Chicago, Illinois. His teacher is Ms. Deb Wilson.

    All the judges noted the difficulty in making this decision amongst a range of excellent entries. Over a hundred posters were entered into this competition from 23 different schools. Fifteen states/districts were represented amongst the entries, including: CA, CT, DC, FL, GA, IL, MA, MI, NY, OR, PA, VA, WA.

    CSTA commends the winners and all the excellent entrants of the inaugural student poster contest. Winning posters can be downloaded at:

    Joanna Goode
    CSTA Equity Chair

    Posted by cstephenson at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

    November 08, 2012

    Seeking Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Interested in Computing!

    Do you have a deaf or hard of hearing student in your class who is interested in math, science and/or computing? Encourage your student to check out the Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing, a summer program that explores careers in computing while receiving academic credits in a computer programming course, and developing an animation short.

    The program, funded by the Johnson Scholarship Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with support from the National Science Foundation, provides tuition, room & board and transportation expenses at no cost to selected applicants. The Summer Academy, located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, begins on June 21 and ends on August 24, 2013.

    The program is open to high school juniors and seniors as well as college freshmen and sophomores. Application deadlines are December 21, 2012 and January 25, 2013 (the latter deadline is on a space available basis). Visit:

    for details.

    For more information, please contact Rob Roth at

    Rob Roth
    Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering
    University of Washington

    Posted by cstephenson at 05:24 PM | Comments (1)

    September 20, 2012

    NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing!

    Do you know a digital diva, web chix, or coder girl? Encourage her to apply for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing!

    It is time to start those applications: competition is officially open for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. The Award honors young women who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions. Award recipients receive cool prizes and gadgets, as well as access to scholarships, internships, and a community of young, like-minded technical women. All girls at all levels are encouraged to apply: we recognize aspirations as well as accomplishments!

    The 2013 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is open to any U.S. high-school-level female (grades 9-12). Applications are being accepted now through 11:59 PM on October 31, 2012.

    National award-winners receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • A laptop computer
  • An engraved award (for both the student and her school)
  • An expenses-paid trip to the national Award ceremony (for the student and her parent/guardian) on March 9, 2013
  • Affiliate Award prizes vary by location. Visit for details.

    For more information please contact Malia Fredrickson:

    Malia Fredrickson

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

    August 21, 2012

    Day of the "Tech" Girl

    October 11, 2012 is the first ever International Day of the Girl Child. The United Nations set this date aside to recognize that empowerment of and investment in girls is critical for:

  • economic growth;
  • the eradication of poverty;
  • meaningful participation of girls in decisions that affect them;
  • breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence
  • This day provides focus to efforts that are helping girls gain "the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community."

    "Tech" Girls
    We know that one very important way to empower girls to imagine and achieve new futures for themselves is by providing them with solid foundational knowledge of computer science concepts and inspiring them to share their vision with the globally connected community.

    What's the problem?

  • The ratio of women studying computer science in college is less than 20% (US stat).
  • Stereotypical images about computer science, like it's boring, hard, anti-social and irrelevant, persist.
  • By age 13 girls determine a positive or negative attitude towards subjects like computer science.

    Alternate realities

  • Through hands-on experience, girls recognize that computing is about creativity, connecting people and changing the world.
  • Mentors help break down the stereotypes behind computer science.
  • Parents and schools understand the importance of computer science education.
  • Change the world!
    The under-representation of women in computing and its affect on society are complex issues, but we cannot let the scope of these issues stop us from attempting to make a difference in the lives of girls right now. The International Day of the Girl on October 11 provides us with an opportunity to engage girls, their families, their schools and the wider community about the power of computing.

    Changing the world requires passion, commitment, resources and collaboration. If you have read this far, you've got the passion and commitment to empower girls. Please share your ideas for Day of the "Tech" Girl activities and events. I'll start by suggesting we use #dayofthetechgirl as the hashtag.

    Submit an idea
    View ideas

    International Day of the Girl resources
    10x10. Educate girls, change the world
    Day of the Girl

    Tech Girl Resources

    CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association)
    Black Girls Code
    Computer Science Collaboration Project
    Dot Diva
    Fab Fems
    Girl Develop It
    NCWIT Scorecard (National Center for Women & Information Technology)
    Teen Tech Girls

    Kim Wilkens
    Technology Activist

    Posted by cstephenson at 01:27 PM | Comments (2)

    June 02, 2012

    New CSTA K-8 CS Resource

    My how CS things have changed in the last 10 years! K-8 computer science was barely a twinkle in the eye of a few dedicated CSTA members, and look at us now! CS in the elementary/primary and middle school environment is viewed as a vital link in developing a skilled and fully literate population that will be able to lead technological innovation.

    We regularly feature elementary and middle school topics in the Voice and have just published and entire 32 page document dedicated solely to CS in elementary/primary and middle school! K-8 Computer Science: Building a Solid Foundation is the latest comprehensive CSTA publication for describing and illustrating what a quality CS program might contain. You will find dozens of articles offering a variety of PERSPECTIVES, and examples of IMPLEMENTATION and ENGAGMENT for younger students.

    This collection of some of the best articles previously published in the Voice, as well as newly commissioned articles from CS thought leaders and widely recognized master educators, is sure to provide opportunities for discussion, ideas for K-8 classroom activities and curriculum development, and resources for local advocacy efforts. Download K-8 Computer Science: Building a Solid Foundation to learn more about:

  • the importance of including K-8 CS in curriculum planning;
  • the components of a comprehensive K-8 CS program;
  • ideas for using CS to enhance student learning in a variety of subjects;
  • strategies for teaching CS concepts to the youngest of students;
  • what's happening in various states and nations; and
  • oodles of practical classroom tools, resources, and engaging activities that are sure to excite young students and lead them to see themselves as "computer scientists."

    Please add to the discussion of K-8 CS. Share with us about the exciting things happening in your school, let us know what other topics you would like to learn about, offer your insights on the topic, and volunteer to write an article for the Voice.

    Pat Phillips
    Editor, CSTA Voice

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:38 AM | Comments (3)

    May 04, 2012

    Membership Survey Contest Winners

    Congratulations to the winners of our 2012 membership survey:

    - Daniel Loeb, from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

    - Joanna Baniaga, Mililani, Hawaii, USA

    Our winners will each receive a $100 Amazon gift card. Daniel and Joanna, you will be notified by email in the next couple of days regarding how to redeem your prize.

    Our thanks to everyone for providing great feedback to help grow and direct the organization.

    Lissa Clayborn
    Director of Development, CSTA
    C: 1.541.913.9770

    Posted by cstephenson at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

    April 04, 2012

    CSTA 2012 Board of Directors Election is Underway

    The election for six open CSTA Board positions began on Wednesday, April 4
    and will continue until May 2. If you are a CSTA member, you should have
    received an email on April 4 from ElectionBuddy, the online election service
    that is managing the election. That email contains a personalized link to
    an online ballot. Since this link is cutsomized to you, do not share it
    with others or you risk them voting under your name.

    On the ballot itself, you can click on the Profile link next to each
    candidate to see their personal statements and answers to four common

    You can also view these profiles on the CSTA Web site at:

    If you did not receive an email, please check your spam filter. If an error
    or omission has occurred, notify us at

    Remember, CSTA is your organization, so be sure to vote and make your voice heard.

    Dave Reed
    CSTA Board of Directors

    Posted by cstephenson at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

    March 27, 2012

    Why Aren't You Going to CS&IT

    Once again this year, CSTA will be holding its annual Computer Science and Information Technology conference. It will be a fabulous event and the people who attend will give it rave reviews and will tell us it is the best professional development they have received all year and, for some people, ever. But as happy as I am that people will be glad they came, I cannot help but wonder and worry about the people who did not attend.

    Every year CS&IT provides great workshops with content you can take directly back to your classroom. It provides great sessions with relevant information from experts and peers. It also provides downstreaming video of the sessions so attendees can catch any session they missed when they return how It provides opportunities for you to network and share strategies with others who understand and care about what you do.

    So if this is the best opportunity you will have all year for great professional development, why aren't you coming?

    And what could we do to make it more attractive and accessible to you?

    Chris Stephenson
    Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:14 AM | Comments (6)

    February 15, 2012

    New Programs from Google

    Google is looking for excellent educators to teach as part of its Computing and Programming Experiences (CAPE) Summer program. Faculty will be an integral part of CAPE Summer's programming and students success over the summer, creating a lasting impression on the students as to the relevance of Computer Science in their future career choices.

    Google is looking for four outstanding middle school/high school level mathematics or computer science teachers to teach one session of 30 eighth-grade students during the summer prior to entering high school.

    Google is also looking for eight outstanding middle school/high school level mathematics or computer science teachers (or university students) to co-instruct with the Lead Faculty and another Associate Faculty.

    CAPE Summer is a three-week summer program for eighth graders designed to inspire excitement about computer science through an intensive summer program at Google's campus. CAPE Summer's goal is to inspire a future generation of creators in computing by bringing together some of today's brightest young students and exposing them to the possibilities of information technology in career paths such as software engineering, biology, or art and design. Through interactive workshops and courses, guest speakers and field trips, students learn algorithms, systems thinking, programming and computing theory. At the end of the summer session, students showcase a final project which utilizes various technologies they have learned from the program.

    If you are interested in applying for the position, you can email your resume to:

    CAPE Summer Locations & Session Dates:
    Mountain View - Session 1: 6/17 - 7/11 & Session 2: 7/23 - 8/10
    New York - Session 1: 7/9 - 7/27 & Session 2: 8/6 - 8/24

    Click here for more information about the CAPE program.

    Posted by cstephenson at 12:26 PM | Comments (1)

    January 13, 2012

    Shut Down or Restart: New UK CS Report

    The Royal Society in Great Britain has just released a ground-breaking new report called Shut Down or Restart: The Way Forward for Computing in UK Schools which clearly demonstrates that the current challenges we face in K-12 computer science education are indeed global challenges..

    The work behind this impressive report was carried out by the Computing at School project which did a comprehensive review of computing in UK schools. According to the Royal Society, the key points of the report are as follows:

    1. The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory. Although existing curricula for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are broad and allow scope for teachers to inspire pupils and help them develop interests in Computing, many pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database. This is mainly because:

    a. the current national curriculum in ICT can be very broadly interpreted and may be reduced to the lowest level where non specialist teachers have to deliver it
    b. there is a shortage of teachers who are able to teach beyond basic digital literacy
    c. there is a lack of continuing professional development for teachers of Computing
    d. features of school infrastructure inhibit effective teaching of Computing

    2. There is a need to improve understanding in schools of the nature and scope of Computing. In particular there needs to be recognition that Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance to the future careers of many pupils. The status of Computing in schools needs to be recognised and raised by government and senior management in schools.

    3. Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.

    4. There is a need for qualifications in aspects of Computing that are accessible at school level but are not currently taught. There is also a need for existing inappropriate assessment methods to be updated.

    5. There is a need for augmentation and coordination of current Enhancement and Enrichment activities to support the study of Computing.

    6. Uptake of Computing A-level is hindered by lack of demand from higher education institutions.

    The text of this report is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and you can download the entire report from:

    It is well worth reading.

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

    November 07, 2011

    Picture Me In Computing Day

    As the tenth of November approaches (111011), we are again preparing for Picture Me in Computing Day. Picture Me in Computing Day, also referred to as "picmecomp", began last year in an effort to raise awareness as to how wonderful the computer science and IT professions are for women. We initiated a worldwide digital flash mob, having people tag all of their social interactions with #picmecomp, hoping that the tag would eventually reach teenage and pre-teen females and spark their curiosity.

    The first year of the campaign, 2010, happened to coincide with the release of Computer Engineer Barbie (tm). Mattel gave us their enthusiastic support and allowed Barbie to serve as our celebrity spokeswoman. The wonderful people at Mattel even arranged for tweets and Facebook posts from Barbie, encouraging people to participate. Hundreds of women around the world tagged and uploaded images of themselves with Computer Engineer Barbie, showing their dedication to women in STEM.

    This year, we have decided that instead of focusing on just one vivacious "woman" who ventured into computer science, we would shift our attention to an entire group of women who have chosen to focus on technology. That's why picmecomp will be broadcasting live this year from the Grace Hopper Celebration in Portland, Oregon! We will continue to ask both women and men to submit images of themselves with technology, but this year we will also be video blogging with women who have made their livelihoods in the industry. To find out more about this year's activities, follow @picmecomp on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.

    We are inspired by Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper for many reasons, not the least of which was her unrelenting thirst for challenges. In 1944 at the age of 38, when most women would have been consumed with baking and ironing, Hopper was helping to pioneer the field of computer programming by tackling the Harvard Mark I . At the time, electronic computers were new and relatively unexplored, but that didn't hold her back. She stood up to critics who believed that she was too old for Naval service and made a name for herself as an outstanding computer scientist.

    Between the campaign for Picture Me in Computing Day, where we bring STEM to girls of all ages, and Grace Hopper, who showed us that courage is more important than age, we hope to show everyone that you are never too old or too young to consider a career in technology.

    Kiki Prottsman

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

    April 29, 2011

    Please Vote

    The CSTA Board of Directors are elected for two year terms. And, as opposed to many corporate Boards of Directors, where the vote of the individual shareholder doesn't really matter, your vote does count.

    By now, all members should have received an e-mail from providing you a unique url at which to vote. We have just sent out a second reminder to vote from this e-mail address. Please spend a few minutes to go to this url, look over the candidates, and vote for who you think will be best to represent you. If you did not receive an electronic ballot (a unique url at which to vote), please e-mail

    Steve Cooper
    CSTA Nominations Chair

    Posted by cstephenson at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

    November 18, 2010

    Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

    Many years ago I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Anita Borg and, although I did not realize it at that time, she had a tremendous impact on my career and my life. This is why I am truly delighted to share information about a scholarship program created in her name.

    Dr. Anita Borg (1949-2003) devoted her life to revolutionizing the way we think about technology and dismantling the barriers that keep women and minorities from entering the computing and technology fields. In honor of Anita's vision, Google has announced the 2011 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship for First Years, awarding a group of female students each a $10,000 scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year. All scholarship recipients will also be invited to attend the FUSE Networking Retreat at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA in 2012.

    Who Should Apply?

    Applicants must be female high school seniors and meet the following eligibility criteria:

    * Intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student at a university in the U.S. for the 2011-2012 academic year
    * Intend to be enrolled in or accepted for enrollment in a baccalaureate Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering or related program
    * Able to demonstrate a commitment to and passion for computer science and technology

    For complete details, please visit Google a:

    Deadline to apply: Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Questions? Email Google at:

    You can also visit

    for more information about Google's scholarship programs.

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

    October 18, 2010

    Google Announces Google Code-In

    I'd like to introduce myself - my name is Carol Smith and I'm the Google Summer of Code program administrator. I recently helped announce the launch of a new program, Google Code-in, which is starting on November 22.

    If you've ever heard of our Google Summer of Code

    program, Google Code-in will be very familiar. Much like Google Summer of Code, Google Code-in aims to reach out to student developers and get them involved in working on opensource software projects. The opensource organizations that we work with will create tasks for the students to claim and work on. The students will get points for each task they successfully complete. For each 3 tasks completed, the students will be given $100 up to a maximum of $500. The top 10 students with the most points at the end of the contest will also be awarded a grand prize of an all-expenses-paid trip for themselves and a family member to Google's headquarters.

    We'd love to get your students, children, friends, and family involved in the contest. This is a global program we're hoping we'll get lots of students involved in this year.

    Please contact me if you have any further questions, and thank you!

    Carol Smith
    Google, Inc. | Open Source Programs Office | 650-253-1856 |

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

    October 17, 2010

    Exploring Computer Science Website Arrives!

    Exploring Computer Science is a K-12/University partnership committed to democratizing computer science. Our mission is to increase and enhance the computer science learning opportunities in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the country, and to broaden the participation of African-American, Latino/a, and female students in learning computer science. While we partner to deepen capacity of the LAUSD to support these reforms, we are developing a model and repository of best practices that can help spread and inform similar efforts in other school districts.

    Our website is now available at:

    There you will find a virtual cornucopia of topics that include:

    * Teacher Support
    * Curriculum
    * Our Mission
    * Resources
    * News & Events
    * Bringing ECS to your school
    * NING for ECS teachers

    Please take a look at it and let us know what you think!

    The Exploring Computer Science Team

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:04 PM | Comments (1)

    February 07, 2010

    K-12 Events at SIGCSE

    By Steve Cooper

    I'd like to let everyone know that the early registration deadline for SIGCSE 2010 is coming up at the end of January. While SIGCSE runs from March 11-13, there is a special K-12 teachers day on Friday March 12 (and a cheaper registration fee for teachers who can only attend this one day).

    Some of the exciting sessions that day include:
    - a keynote address by Nobel prize winner Carl Weiman
    - a paper session (and a separate panel session) on middle school issues
    - a special session on the future of computing
    - a special session on the proposed new AP CS course
    - free lunches from Greenfoot and Alice (I think you're only supposed to get one, but for the hungry among you....)
    - a paper session on K-12 instruction
    - a special session on Google's new App Inventor
    - computational thinking in HS
    - lots of great workshops (unfortunately, the cost for these isn't included as part of the registration for SIGCSE)
    - lots of other sessions (that my way of saying I'm probably leaving out some cool sessions)

    The program is available from

    There is also the wonderful opportunity to talk to nearly all of the textbook authors from the texts you are using in your computing classes. (I cannot guarantee all of us will be at SIGCSE, but most of us will be there.)

    If you can get to sunny Milwaukee (yes, I know the organizers chose an interesting location for SIGCSE, but at least we'll be indoors), I strongly recommend it!

    Steve Cooper
    CSTA Vice President

    Posted by cstephenson at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

    October 07, 2009

    Sadker Awards for Teachers and Students

    The Myra Sadker Foundation has established teacher and student awards to support the creation of teaching and learning materials that advance educational equity and social justice.

    Myra Sadker was one of the early researchers examining gender bias in the classroom. Her work uncovered the subtle and not so subtle biases that shape the lives of girls and boys. The foundation, established in her name, is dedicated to promoting equity, eliminating gender bias, and enhancing the lives of children.

    The Sadker Foundation teacher award ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. It is designed to promote and support teacher projects (K-12) that help students learn about and respect group differences, promote fairness. Each project must include a gender dimension.

    The student awards range from $100 to $1,000 and are designed to encourage student ideas, activities and projects (K-12) that promote respect for group differences and fairness.

    Both awards are intended to support projects that build upon the values and contributions of Myra Sadker's work.

    You can find more information about these awards or apply for one online at:

    The awards are distributed throughout the year.

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

    April 02, 2009

    Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, Engineering Mentoring

    If you know an organization or an individual who is doing outstanding work mentoring underrepresented students in computing, you might want to nominate them for this important and prestigious award.

    The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) is the highest federal recognition award for mentoring in the country. The award is made to recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to mentoring of students at any of several educational levels from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

    Nominations can be made for individuals or organizations. Awards are intended as a symbol of recognition at the highest level and to highlight the achievements of individuals and organizations that serve important function of developing our future scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

    Awardees are invited to Washington, D.C. for a visit to the White House, photos with the President (his schedule permitting), presentation of a citation signed by the President and a working session on mentoring at the National Science Foundation.

    For more information about this award, go to:

    The nominations deadline is April 21, 2009.

    If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Daphne Rainey.

    Daphne Y. Rainey,
    Ph.D. Program Director
    Division of Undergraduate Education
    Education and Human Resources
    National Science Foundation
    4201 Wilson Blvd
    Arlington, VA 22230
    Phone (703) 292-4671 FAX (703) 292-9015

    Posted by cstephenson at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

    August 27, 2008

    CSTA Looking for Local Volunteers

    If you are interested in working to improve K-12 computer science in your state, now is the time to get involved by working with your new CSTA local teacher leaders.

    In January, CSTA was awarded an exciting new two-year grant with the overall objective of developing a cohort of K-12 teachers who will serve as educational leaders at the state level. Thirty-two people representing 17 states participated in a leadership-building workshop in July. The workshop focused on the leadership qualities needed for effective advocacy, identifying and building partnerships with appropriate stakeholders, and developing a toolkit of advocacy materials to be used in each state. (Individuals from the remaining states will be invited in winter 2009 to participate in a workshop during summer 2009 and continue their work through 2010.)

    Since the workshop, participants have begun implementing outreach plans in their respective states focused on establishing K-12 computer science as an essential academic discipline and participating in a cohort online community to share experiences, strategies, and successes.

    These local leaders are now working toward organizing local and state chapters of CSTA. CSTA chapters will meet on a regular basis, and address key issues such as community building, curriculum reform, and professional development.

    In order for all of these efforts to be effective, members of the leadership cohort will be seeking volunteers to assist them. We will need the combined forces of all CSTA members in order for this project to be successful. For further information on participating states and contact information for local teacher leaders, please visit

    Gail Chapman
    Leadership Cohort Coordinator

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

    June 24, 2008

    New Journal From SIGCT

    ISTE's Special Interest Group for Computer Teachers (SIGCT) has announced the rebirth of its journal, which is aimed at enhancing precollege computing instruction. JCT is a K-12 oriented online periodical where the emphasis is on teaching about computing.

    The name for the publication was formerly the Journal for Computer Science Education. Starting with the spring 2008 issue, the title was changed to the Journal for Computing Teachers (JCT), which is more indicative of the scope of SIGCT and JCT. Besides the name change, the previous practice of posting papers as they became available was replaced with several issues a year containing multiple papers and other materials of interest. A third change is that JCT is now available to everyone. Previously you had to be an ISTE member in order to access the publication. Now everyone has direct access to JCT. This change will dramatically increase the size of the readership.

    Submission topics include but are not limited to:
    * Academic and research articles relating to the teaching of computing in K-12 education
    * Pedagogical articles describing and explaining the rationale for some teaching practice, approach, or lesson
    * Theoretical articles explaining or arguing particular principles or models of learning, teaching, curriculum development, content perspective-taking, etc.
    * Explanatory articles providing teachers with professional development information (e.g., understanding hardware and software, conceptual understanding, etc.)
    * Reports concerning computing (e.g., curriculum and policy recommendations)

    Submissions are either editor reviewed or peer reviewed. The author decides which one. In the “editor reviewed” process, articles are reviewed by the editor. In the "peer-reviewed" portion of the journal, manuscripts are acknowledged by the editor upon receipt and, after a preliminary review to judge their appropriateness for JCT, are sent to at least two members of the Editorial Review Board. Following the completion of the review process, the editor contacts the author(s) to accept the paper for publication, to accept the paper conditional on the completion of any recommended revisions, or to reject it.

    For additional information about the journal and submission guidelines for authors, go to Potential authors do not have to be members of ISTE or SIGCT to publish in JCT. The submission deadline for the fall 2008 issue is September 1, 2008.

    Also, members for the Editorial Review Board for the Journal for Computing Teachers are sought. Your name would be included in the list of members of the Editorial Review Board. The quality of JCT’s peer review process is reliant upon the efforts of qualified professionals.

    For further information on submitting papers and/or the Editorial Review Board, contact:

    John Thompson, PhD
    Editor, Journal for Computing Teachers

    Posted by cstephenson at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

    May 05, 2008

    Two New Resources for Information Sharing

    ACM's SIGCSE conference is always a great place to meet people doing interesting projects and creating new resources that may be of interest to teachers and students. Over the last year, CSTA has been building up a collection of podcasts featuring people and project we think will be of interest to our members.

    Here are two new addition to our podcast collection that you can check out at:

    The CSTA Web Curriculum Repository
    Medium: MP3
    Listening Time: 7 min.
    Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
    Interview Date: March 2008
    Joe Kmoch, Milwaukee Public Schools

    The CSTA Web Repository is a dream come true for busy CS teachers. To promote the sharing of resources among members of the community, CSTA developed a searchable database of K-12 CS instructional materials, lesson plans, and other resources that have never before been collected in one place for use by all CS teachers.

    While anyone may browse the repository by curriculum classification or search by keyword, title, author, or publication date, only CSTA members may download the actual resources.
    Teachers who wish to contribute original materials, for which they have the copyright, are encouraged to submit.

    In our visit, Joe Kmoch describes what you’ll find in the Repository, how to get to it, and how to contribute your own teaching materials. Be sure to visit the CSTA Web Repository to jump-start your next teaching lesson and please consider sharing your good ideas with your colleagues at

    The Computing Educators Oral History Project with Vicki Almstrum
    Medium: MP3
    Listening Time: 10:30 min.
    Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
    Interview Date: March 2008
    Vicki Almstrum, University of Texas at Austin:

    Vicki and her colleagues are venturing into uncharted waters and the result of their work has the potential to impact an entire generation of young women curious about how their life might unfold as a computer scientist. The Computing Educators Oral History Project is a growing collection of audio interviews with women computing educators. "This endeavor will eventually create a body of narratives to serve as role models to attract students, in particular women, to computing; it will also serve to preserve the history of the female pioneers in computing education."

    In our visit Vicki describes the impetus for the project and explores ways that teachers might use the interviews to create teaching opportunities for retaining and supporting individuals at all stages of the pipeline. The interviews are available at

    Pat Phillips,
    Editor, CSTA Voice

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

    April 11, 2008

    Cool New Podcasts for Teachers and Students

    Over 1000 computer science educators gathered recently in Portland Oregon for the 2008 ACM Sigcse conference, giving us a chance to interview more people thinking and doing interesting things for our CSTA Snipits podcast collection

    The 39th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education provided a wide selection of technical sessions and opportunities for teachers to network and to learn. The topics ranged from innovative strategies for increasing classroom diversity to hands-on techniques with applications and curriculum. I love the excitement of SIGCSE, the opportunities to catch up with friends, and the discovery of new and innovative teaching strategies. I managed to catch up with a few presenters and participants who I thought you would value hearing from.

    Check out our growing CSTA Snips podcast collection and listen in on these new conversations about teaching and computer science at:

    Using Mario Brothers to Teach Inheritance Concepts with Terrence Mason and Bruce Johnston
    Medium: MP3
    Listening Time: 8 min.
    Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
    Interview Date: March 2008
    Terrence Mason and Bruce Johnston, University of Wisconsin-Stout

    Bruce and Terry have a goal in their CS1 course to reduce the “excitement deficit” found in many beginning computer science courses. In our visit they describe how they use a familiar computer game to teach inheritance concepts and to reduce that deficit. The project worked so well that students were heard cheering at their own programming successes. Now that’s something to look into!
    While inheritance is generally a difficult concept for beginning students to master, it remains an important CS concept to teach for the utility and power it brings to CS. The familiarity of the game functionality enables students to more easily comprehend the topic, identify objects, and construct the inheritance hierarchy. More information is available at

    Teaching Students about Electronic Privacy with Flo Appel
    Medium: MP3
    Listening Time: 9 min.
    Interview Location: ACM Sigcse 2008 Portland, Oregon
    Interview Date: March 2008
    Florence Appel, Saint Xavier University

    Why is it most important for educators to teach about privacy issues? How do educators teach these concepts? How do we get our students to value their privacy? And how do we teach them to balance their privacy and security with convenience? As I listened to Flo, I found myself thinking that her words were valuable not only for me professionally, but also personally, as I deal with these modern-world issues. She describes how public spaces including the internet impact students, invade privacy, and ultimately, impact personal security. Recommended resources for parents, teachers, and students are available at the Federal Trade Commission (

    Pat Philips
    CSTA Podmeister

    Posted by cstephenson at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

    February 12, 2008

    CSTA Sad to Lose a Much-Loved Member

    We were very sad to receive the following email from our friend Don Allen about the passing of a much-loved CSTA member.

    It is with an incredibly sorrowful heart and tears in my eyes that I must report that the teaching profession and the world has lost a wonderful human. Within the past two days, Dave Wittry while training for a triathlon became distressed while swimming. A fellow swimmer was able to get Dave to shore but rescue efforts to revive Dave failed and he was pronounce dead.

    I had the privilege of working with Dave for several years at Troy High School and can attest to the fact that as helpful as he was to those posting question, he was order of magnitudes better in person.
    I consider one of the greatest privileges of my life to have work and an even greater honor to have known Dave.

    As I get information on any memorial services (Dave grew up in the Chicago area and I believe there will be a service in that area), I will pass on any information as I get it. I also understand a memorial service is possible in Orange County, CA. Once again, I will pass on any information as soon as I get it.

    Please feel free to email me for more information at

    In addition, Dave's mom has asked anyone with pictures or stories to please email her at

    Posted by cstephenson at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

    December 17, 2007

    Gaming Conference Open to High School Teachers

    The last two winters Microsoft and Microsoft Research have partnered to host a conference on game development in computer science education. This year, for the first time, Microsoft's Alfred Thompson reports that he has been given leave to create a special high school computer science track for the conference and to encourage high school teachers to attend.

    Between the academic papers and the support through attendance and participation of commercial game development and game tool creating companies, the Microsoft Academic Days on Game Development in Computer Science Education conference has become one of the much anticipated conferences of the year.

    In the past, the conference has been attended by only a small number of high school teachers. This new track, however, should make it much more accessible and interesting for teachers. Thompson says he is still working on the track but already there are some great things lined up that will make this a valuable experience.

    The current list of confirmed GDCSE 08 general session and tech talk speakers includes people from the Alice project at Carnegie Mellon, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Bungie (the people who create Halo). A large number of university faculty will also be talking about how they use game development to teach computer science concepts. Beyond that the networking possibilities are amazing. Here is a chance to discuss how game development can be used to teach and attract students in computer science with some of the best in the field.

    Please look at this page ( ) for information on the conference and contact Alfred ( if you have any questions.

    BTW High school teachers can get a 50% reduction in the cost of the conference. Oh, and did I mention that the conference is on a cruise ship leaving from Florida?

    This year's conference is co-sponsored by ACM/SIGCSE and Electronic Arts.

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 03:14 PM | Comments (2)

    July 10, 2007

    Job For Curriculum Developer

    We don't usually post these kinds of messages but the folks at GirlStart contacted us to let us know about an interesting job they have available. Here is the job description. Please contact the folks at GirlStart for more information.

    Wanted: Contract Educator to create cutting-edge curriculum. Girlstart’s Project IT Girl program ( needs fresh and creative lesson plans to introduce programming to high school girls. Ideal candidate must have a strong background in computer science and programming, the ability to explain programming concepts to novices in innovative and exciting ways, and the desire to expand the minds of young people. Ability to adhere to a tight timeline is a must.

    Project IT Girl is an after-school program run by Girlstart in Austin, TX, for high school girls to provide hands-on training in math, science, and technology. The focus of the IT Girl program is on making a difference in the world and helping people to understand concepts through technology and information visualization. During the 2007 - 2008 school year, Project IT Girl participants will be introduced to programming through designing and creating short, educational games using Python and Pygame.

    For a full job description, go to To apply, please submit a cover letter, references, resume, and hourly rates to Zakiyyah at

    Posted by cstephenson at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

    June 22, 2006

    Interesting Summer Job

    I don't usually post job notices, but I was speaking to Dawn Butler from Johns Hopkins University and they are offering a really interesting opportunity for computer science teachers looking for something interesting to do this summer.

    The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) has a sudden opening for a summer computer science teacher in Los Angeles, CA at their site hosted by Loyola Marymount University. It begins immediately and ends July 15. They will provide travel to and from the location, room and board at LMU, and a salary that ranges from $2,040 to $2,940 (depending upon education and teaching experience). A second position from July 15-August 5 is also available at nearby Cal Lutheran University and so the Center is willing to offer employment for the entire summer.

    These three-week courses are designed for academically talented students ages 12-16 who took the SAT as 7th or 8th graders and scored at or above the mean for college bound high school seniors. Algebra 1 is a pre-requisite. There are 15 students in a class, and each instructor has a full time teaching assistant, usually a computer science major. Additionally, every instructor is paired with a teaching assistant.

    More information about the course is available at:

    Desired qualifications are a bachelor's degree and experience teaching computer science. Interested candidates should immediately email a resume to ctycarlos or call him 410-735-6194 for more information. More complete information on the position is available at

    Chris Stephenson
    Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

    January 31, 2006

    New Brochure for Policy Makers on CS Education Needs

    CSTA has issued a new policy brochure that aims to alert local, state, and federal policymakers to the fact that Computer Science education in America sorely needs attention, and provides information to help them convey the need for action.

    Among the suggestions for policy makers to help communicate the need to improve computer science education are:

    * Emphasizing that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills include computer science and not just using computers across the curriculum
    * Asking what state and local school authorities are doing to ensure that students are acquiring the technological skills they need to succeed.
    * Encouraging students to pursue computer science careers as an important source of the nation's leadership and competitiveness in the global economy.
    * Explaining how outsourcing technology jobs can be combated by focusing on the education of future workers.

    Policy makers are encouraged to assess the future needs of their states and to ensure that schools of education and on-the-job professional development opportunities are adequately preparing computer science teachers. They are also urged to prepare their communities for future opportunities by pointing to the resources of nonprofit groups like CSTA, that provide curriculum models and other supports to computer science teachers.

    The brochures are being distributed through organizations representing policy makers, such as the National Governors Association, and through caucuses and committees of the US Congress and state legislatures that oversee technology education.

    Chris Stephenson
    Executive Director

    Posted by cstephenson at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

    January 24, 2006

    Introducing The 2006 Project Hoshimi Programming Battle

    What is the Project Hoshimi Programming Battle?

    The Project Hoshimi Programming Battle is a competition (exclusively for US high school students) that brings together an imaginative background story, comic-style graphics and fun programming challenges allowing students to compete online, with students from all over the country. Student will devise strategies and write code for navigating a team of nanobots through life-saving missions and objectives through a map of the human body.

    This is a great opportunity for your students to learn the basics of game programming while further building their programming and problem-solving skills. Students will get the thrill of competing and interacting with students from across the country. We know that as Computer Science teachers, you're always looking for new ways to get and keep students engaged. Whether they compete or not, your students will have lots of fun and learn a lot about things like algorithms and object-oriented design concepts as they work with the Project Hoshimi SDK.

    How does the competition work?

    Teams of 1-2 students will write programs in Visual Basic 2005 (VB 2005) or Visual C# 2005 (C# 2005) to create an artificial intelligence strategy using the provided Project Hoshimi Software Development Kit (SDK). Once the submission period opens, teams will submit their entries to be scored and ranked (against other entries). Each team entry will be uploaded to a scoring server that will run the executable (DLL) file. The entries will then be ranked highest to lowest based on the success rate of the nanobots performance of prescribed tasks like evading enemies, collecting objects in the map, and achieving the mission objectives. The competition is open to US high school students 14 to 18 only. Each team must have faculty sponsor from their school.

    How can you help your students get started?

    The Project Hoshimi Programming Battle presents a great opportunity to teach students about game programming concepts like binary trees and min-max. To make it easier to introduce these concepts, we created a set of Teaching Objects that use the Project Hoshimi SDK. Each Teaching Object includes a technical article on the topic (for background), PowerPoint slides, sample code and exercises. You will be able to find the latest Teaching Objects in the MainFunction Project Hoshimi Resources library. All of these Teaching Objects and the Project Hoshimi SDK are compatible with both the full version of Visual Studio and Visual Basic 2005 Express.

    Daryll McDade

    Posted by cstephenson at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)