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Speaker Presentations and Keynotes
from the 2011 CS & IT Symposium

Click here for the Monday workshop sessions.

Opening Keynote

Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age
Presented by Douglas Rushkoff

We continue to accept new technologies into our lives with little or no understanding of how these devices work and work on us. We do not know how to program our computers, nor do we care. We spend much more time and energy trying to figure out how to use them to program one another, instead. And this is a potentially grave mistake. Just as the invention of text utterly transformed human society, disconnecting us from much of what we held sacred, our migration to the digital realm will also require a new template for maintaining our humanity. In this talk, Rushkoff shares the biases of digital media, and what that means for how we should use them.

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The ABC's of AP CS A
Presented by Renee Ciezki & Lester Wainwright

The Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A course is an essential component of a comprehensive computer science program. Renee Ciezki and Lester Wainwright bring their experience as APCS teachers, readers, question leaders, and development committee members to current and potential AP teachers. Discussion topics will include achieving equity when recruiting students into an AP CS A course, going through the AP Course Audit process, teaching with the GridWorld case study, and instructional strategies to help students learn computer science content at a deeper level.
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Teaching Cell Phone Programming in the High School Computer Science Program, Starring AppInventor
Presented by Kelly Powers & Padmaja Bandaru

Cell Phone programming using Google's AppInventor may successfully be used in the high shool computer science program. This past winter 2010-2011, students at AMSA charter school embarked on an exciting journey into a new course in Java and cell phone programming. Kids worked with AppInventor to create all sorts of fun and entertaining Android apps. All of the apps were tested and created using an Android emulator, without a physical phone. Come hear about our experience working with our students and Google's AppInventor! Hear student testimonials and review some of the project work.
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Student Learing and Computational Thinking: How do you know they know?
Presented by Gail Chapman, Nora Comelli, Joanna Goode & Anthony Pagan

The session will provide an overview of Exploring Computer Science, a high school computer science course targeting underrepresented groups of students in Los Angeles. We will then focus on what we are learning about the student learning of computer science. Our panel will share their experiences of teaching and supporting students through teacher professional development, looking at student work, videotaping teaching and learning, and coaching. We will also discuss issues of equity as it applies to student learning and engagement. Finally we will dialogue with the audience about the challenges of assessing student learning in computer science and best practices to support students as they move beyond simply "doing stuff" in computer science to being able to articulate and explain what they are working on and how it all connects.
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Bootstrap: Algebraic Programming for the Middle School Classroom
Presented by Emmanuel Schanzer

Many computer science educators would love to see their students algebra scores improve...but there's little evident to suggest that learning Java or Python will actually make it happen. This talk will discuss Bootstrap, a curriculum which has been designed from the ground up to focus on algebraic skills and concepts through a carefully-chosen programming language. Bootstrap now reaches hundreds of students each year, in half a dozen states. Participants will get an in-depth look at the scope and sequence of Bootstrap, explore the lessons and activities, and speak directly to the program's author about implementing Bootstrap in a classroom setting.
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How to Make Computer Science Rock at your High School
Presented by Donna Thomas

Are you desperately seeking answers? Are you frustrated because your enrollment counts are low or are expected to be low? Does anyone at your school really understand what computer science is? Does anyone know what you do at your school? Do they know how important computer Sscience is to your students' future? Do your administrators and counselors sufficiently understand what computer science is and how important your classes are to teir students' educational future? Come to this session and you will begin to discover ways of creatively answering these questions and getting the results you desire because computer science rocks!
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Connecting Workplace STEM Needs to Classroom Practice
Presented by Joe Ippolito, Irene Lee & Joyce Malyn-Smith

Computational Thinking in America's Workplaces, funded by the National Science Foundation, builds on and strengthens efforts to define CT by expanding the conversation to include STEM workers in a variety of settings who engage in computational thinking as they perform routine tasks and solve problems in their daily work. Grounding the ongoing efforts to define CT in real work activities can provide educators with illustrations of what CT looks like "in action" and inform the development and sequencing of CT instruction for both academic and technical programs. Moreover, contextualized examples of CT can help non-computer scientist educators recognize CT when it presents itself in their classrooms. This newly developed awareness of what computational thinking looks like in action can help us all to understand better the degree to which youth empowered with technology are developing foundations of CT through their intensive, long-term, informal use of technology tools and systems. This, in turn, can provoke new research ideas and generate new research questions that can facilitate the integration of CT in K-12.
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Greenfoot, An Approach for Introducing Java
Presented by Adrienne Decker, Stephanie Heoppner & Fran Trees

Greenfoot is a combination of a framework for creating two-dimensional grid scenarios in Java and an integrated development environment suitable for novice programmers. Greenfoot provides a graphical environment in which to develop simulations and games. Neither students nor educators need to focus on the graphical elements of the programs; they simply focus on the behaviors of the actors in the grid. The Greenfoot environment provides the graphics. This tutorial is intended to give educators (middle school, high school, and college) an introduction to the Greenfoot environment and a demonstration of how and where it can be integrated ito an introductory programming course.
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Web Design Skills: A 21st Century Communication Tool for Every Classroom
Presented by Peggy Fisher & Pat Phillips

Add 21st Century tools to your students' "communication toolbox" with skills in modern web design and development. It's easy and free with Microsoft® Expression® Web when used with teacher-created and classroom-tested teaching resources. In this session you will see websites created that demonstrate a variety of features including templates, layers and CSS plus Silverlight features, Deep Zoom images, and interactive panoramic Photosynth images—-all easily taught with the collection of free web design curriculum resources. Ideas for using web design as a communication tool in any curricular area will be presented. Expression Studio is provided free to qualified schools.
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Quick Start to Small Basic
Presented by Damian DeMarco

This seminar presents a brief overview of the new software development environment, Small Basic from Microsoft. Small Basic is a programming language that affords high school computer programming teachers a straightforward, easy-to-use environment to present fundamental programming concepts that quickly get students "up and running" with coding. Small Basic is an ideal forum to discuss and demonstrate important topics like conditions, branching, loops, events, subroutines, arrays and stacks, allowing a quick and easy transition to more complex languages such as Visual Basic, C#, or Java.
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Engaging Girls in Robotics Programming
Presented by Ricki Goldman, Helen Kwah & Eric Nauman

The number of women entering the field of computer science continues to decline. This presentation addresses this trend with strategies intended to provide more compelling and meaningful experiences for middle- and early high school-age girls in an introductory robotics course in which students use Cricket Logo (a text-based programming environment) to program Super Cricket microcomputers. Students in this course engage in several activities that are designed to engage them in all aspects of designing and programming their robots. First, students are given parameters within which they invent their own meaningful robotic applications with an emphasis on real-world contexts. Second, students develop graphical models and role play scenarios that articulate their projects as systems in different formats. Third, students use a pseudo-code-like format written from the robot's perspective to develop effective programming algorithms that more accurately take into account the robot's constraints. Throughout the project cycle, special attention is given to the instructor's physical gestures to model and articulate programming concepts, emphasizing visuo-spatial cognitive processing strategies that deepen students' understanding of these concepts and aid in diagnosing misconceptions. Participants will see examples of student work in different phases of this process and have an opportunity to experience aspects of the program during the session.
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Beyond Robots - A Smorgasbord of Introductory Computer Science Experiences
Presented by Matthew Meyer & Elizabeth Sklar

Over the last 5 years, the Bridges to Computing program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York has developed and implemented a wide range of contextualized curricular modules in several different courses offered to inner-city high school students. Our own research has indicated that offering a wide variety of computing experiences within one class is beneficial, as no single topic will appeal to all students. For example, some students respond negatively to robotics as they consider robots to be toys. In our presentation, we introduce our modules, which focus on the use of free software tools in order to minimize costs and maximize students' access to tools outside the classroom.
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Game On: Three Years of Game Development at the Secondary Level Using Visual Studio
Presented by Rodrigo Anadon

How can high school students get engaged with computer science? The answer is game development. By using Visual Studio from 6.0 to 2008 and SDL, the instructor has started a curriculum that is based on the fundamentals but then infused with game programming so that students learn how to code, how to problem-solve, how to collaborate with others, and how to empower themselves with proper programming concepts and skills.
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Tips from a CS Principles Pilot: Activities, Techniques and Strategies to Help Make Computing Ideas Accessible to All Students
Presented by Jody Paul

This session addresses the primary goal of making computational thinking skills and basic computer science principles accessible to ALL students. The session povides a candid report on piloting an introductory course in computing intended to be accessible and interesting for general students. It includes specific activities, techniques, and strategies; honest assessments of what worked well, not-so-well, and not at all; explanations for observed outcomes; and recommendations for classroom practices. Examples come from experiences teaching "Living in a Computing World", a first-round AP Computer Science: Principles pilot, to students with diverse backgrounds at Metropolitan State College of Denver--a public, open-enrollment, non-residential, 4-year college. The intent is preparing students to cope with and prosper in a world where computing is everywhere, empowering them with fundamental skills that are needed by everyone in the 21st Century, and to be applicable to all disciplines (arts, humanities, business, social and physical sciences, etc.) and all aspects of 21st Century life (health, entertainment, employment, family, law, etc.).
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This Does Compute! Developing and Implementing a K-12 Computer Science Curriculum for Girls
Presented by Peter Aronoff, Eric Walters & Francesca Zammarano

In this session, participants will review the development and implementation of the Marymount School Computer Science Initiative, a comprehensive, research-based, K-12 computer science curriculum targeted to develop girls' long-term interest in computing. Curricular connections such as robotics; Scratch and Alice programming for middle school students; advanced programming studies in CSS, HTML, JavaScript and Ruby for upper school students, as well as mobile computing will be discussed in light of both "how girls learn" and "exemplary computer science education."
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Modular Arithmetic and RSA Encryption
Presented by Stuart Reges

In this talk the speaker will present a set of topics that have entertained a wide range of students and teachers. Think of it as a "nifty lecture" that you might want to incorporate into your own teaching. The central theme of the talk is a presentation of the RSA encryption system, which is the best-known public key encryption system in use today. To understand RSA, we end up exploring Fermat's Little Theorem and the properties of primes. This requires some clever computer science to allow us to work efficiently with the large integers needed for modern cryptography. And we'll touch on the idea of testing for primality which is now done with a probabilistic algorithm (testing that something is probably prime rather than insisting on proving that it is prime). The coding will be done in Python, but could easily be done in any language.
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Excite Students About Programming in a Fun, Easy and Free way! Use Kodu From Microsoft® Fuse Labs®
Presented by Peggy Fisher & Alfred Thompson

Kodu Game Lab is a fully visual 3D creative environment where children can design and build their own games, tell engaging stories, and explore interesting concepts. The Kodu Game Lab appeals equally to girls and boys, and helps children realize greater self-confidence, expressiveness and creativity while simultaneously learning the fundamental critical thinking, technology, and creative design skills so essential to their future success in the 21st century. As a programming language specifically for creating games and designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for everyone, Kodu is a cool and interesting way to inspire young people to pursue future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In this session we will review an existing curriculum that can be used in the classroom and discuss how it can be used as an introduction to other object-oriented programming languages.
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The Future of Collaboration
Presented by Jeffrey Harris

This talk will focus on what's happening as applications move online and specifically on the new types of functionality that are only possible when apps are built for the cloud from day one.
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Using Manipulatives to Enhance Pedagogy (Teaching with Toys)
Presented by Robb Cutler & Deepa Muralidhar

Teaching with toys, objects first, immersion, role plays, and game playing are just some of the techniques that have been successfully used in teaching object-oriented programming and computer science. Deepa and Robb will provide concrete examples of these and other techniques that they have used quite effectively in their classrooms.
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Computational Thinking by Analogy
Presented by Michelle Hutton

This session presents a curriculum using traffic lights as an analogy to teach scheduling algorithms. Scheduling is normally far too complex to introduce at the middle school level, yet by relying on analogies, students were able to easily understand the concepts. Additionally, students gained a significant appreciation for the role of computer science in daily life, such as governing traffic flow. Students engaged in many computational thinking tasks, including data collection, using and modifying simulations, and applying and evaluating various scheduling algorithms in diverse settings. Demonstrations of student work will be shown along with discussion of the impact of having students modify existing NetLogo programs rather than creating their own code from scratch.
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Computer Science Education Week 2011: A Call to Action
Moderator: Debra Richardson; Panelists: Padmaja Bandaru, Ruthe Farmer, Dan Garcia, Joseph Kmoch & Josh Paley

CSEdWeek is a Call to Action to raise awareness about computer science education and computing careers. CSEdWeek 2010 was endorsed by the U.S. House of Representatives, designated as December 5-11 in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906). CSEdWeek aims to eliminate misperceptions about computer science and computing careers; communicate the endless opportunities for which computer science education prepares students in K-12, higher education, and careers; and provide information and activities for students, educators, parents, and corporations to advocate for computer science education at all levels. This session will explore the range of activities and events that teachers, students, parents and others participated in for CSEdWeek 2010 and provide attendees with ideas about how they can participate in CSEdWeek 2011, to be held December 4-10, 2011. The session will include brief presentations from several panelists who actively participated in CSEdWeek 2010, and allow interactive discussion time for session attendees to brainstorm about how they might join in the fun for CSEdWeek 2011.
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Closing Keynote

SPIRAL: Combining Learning, Play and Exploration
Presented by Ken Perlin

Teaching science can create a beautiful upward spiral, in which young learners discover that they have the power not just to learn from what others tell them, but also to find things out for themselves, and even to create new knowledge. But true exploratory learning requires playfulness--something that is too often overlooked in curriculum design. We will look at how playfulness and the thrill of discovery can be used to bring out the full potential of budding young scientists.

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CSTA works at many levels to support computing education.

Elementary and Middle school
(problem solving &
computational thinking)

High school
(computing &
computer science)

(enrollment &

(engagement &