3 powerful words can unlock computer science success

CSforAZ co-chair Janice Mak recently authored an article titled 3 powerful words can unlock computer science success that was featured on ISTE.org. Provided is an excerpt:

I was reminded recently of the three powerful words that capture the everyday miracles of learning and teaching. It happened as my sixth graders were just beginning to create ordered and unordered lists during their first lessons in HTML. All at once, I heard a chorus of voices exclaim with joy, “I did it!”

There you have it. Three powerful words. I did it.

It struck me in that moment that this is what learning is all about. It’s about being able to do something that I was not previously able to do. It’s about surprising myself with what I am capable of doing. It’s about stretching beyond what is currently possible and continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible. That is empowerment.

The most incredible thing is that pretty soon these “I did it’s” will imperceptibly lead to a shift in mindset to “I can do it.” And, as a computer science educator, this shift is precisely what is most needed to expand participation in computing. This shift will allow students who previously could not envision themselves as computer scientists to do computer science in creative and innovative ways to solve problems in personally relevant ways.

Please visit ISTE.org to continue reading


CS Education Week 12/4/17 – 12/10-17

CS Education Week is coming up Dec. 4-10. Let’s use this celebration to making a lasting change in schools. CSTA has partnered with Code.org and Family Code Night to start a movement – thousands of teachers are sharing what courses their school offers and are pledging to expand computer science at their school for CS Education Week. Put your school on the map and join the movement at code.org/yourschool.

You can also join the pledge when you sign up to host an Hour of Code event. The Hour of Code is a great way to raise awareness of computer science education with administrators, counselors, parents, and your community. And, it’s a tool we can use to recruit diverse students who may never have thought of enrolling in CS.

Here are some other ways you can celebrate CS Education Week:

1. Host a school-wide event
The students in your classroom are learning computer science, but what about the other students in the school? Consider hosting a school assembly to let all students see how much fun it is to not only use technology, but to help create it. Contact a volunteer speaker or organize hands-on Hour of Code activities for beginners.

Your students can help lead the activity! Pair your classroom with a non-CS classroom to have your students take on the role of teaching CS to beginners. Or, use the “unplugged” activities to teach computational thinking without computers. (And, print out certificates for the students to take home!)

2. Host a Family Code Night
There’s still time to plan a great evening program for your K-5 school community during CS Ed Week, or later in the year. To learn how, please sign up here for a free 30-minute Family Code Night webinar for CSTA members, this Tuesday, November 14, or visit the website to learn more and download your free Family Code Night Event Kit.

3. Use the week to make lasting change
Beyond signing the pledge yourself, can you encourage your school or district administrator to make a commitment to expand computer science? If so, share your commitment with us and we will gather announcements as part of the CS Education Week kick off event.

4. Do something fun and different with your class for CS Education Week
Organize a hack-a-thon, build a cool project, or just take a day to try the Hour of Code activities for experienced classrooms. Your students can try out a different language (Python? JavaScript? Java?) or take a concept they already know and apply it in a new way.

Every year during CS Education Week, tens of millions of students try computer science for the first time. This is the largest event of the year for computer science education and you, your students, and school can be a part of it.


AZ K-12 Computer Science Standards Development

The development of K-12 Computer Science Standards is set to begin. The Arizona Department of Education is seeking public comments to guide the process of developing K-12 Computer Science Standards. Please take the survey by November 30, 2017 to help inform and guide the development process.

The ADE is currently accepting applications from K-12 educators, higher education/post-secondary educators, business stakeholders, and parents/community members to serve on working groups and focus groups. We hope you will consider applying for the opportunity to participate in this important work. We would like to have representation from around the state. The standards review process will use an accordion model for committee selection; an individual might be selected to serve once or multiple times, depending on the focus of the work and their expertise. Members unable to serve for a particular meeting due to schedule conflicts or other concerns are still eligible to be selected to participate in future meetings. Applications will be accepted throughout the entire development process. Working groups will convene starting in January 2018.

Please visit ADE’s Computer Science Standards Development page to access the applications and for more information.


Community Call and CSEdWeek 11/16/17

To kick off CSEdWeek that will take place between December 4-10, 2017, we are inviting you all to join a CSTA AZ community call. We will facilitate a discussion where CSTA AZ members can share resources, ideas, and strategies to have a successful CSEdWeek. Please mark your calendar for November 16, 2017 at 4 pm – 5 pm. We will send out a link to join the call within the next week.