Yesterday was the meat of the conference. There were lots of sessions, all good things. I especially liked the two keynotes. The first was by Yasmin Mafai, who’s right down the road from me at UPenn. I’ve been watching her work for a while. She talked about deepening participation, thinking about the contexts within which the teaching of computer science occurs. Here are just a few of the Tweets from the session, which should give you a taste of it:
After the keynote, I headed to a session on game design, where I saw some interesting aspects of GameMaker. I’ve tinkered with GameMaker, but haven’t really dug into it. It looks pretty fun. I’ll have to think about using it. Then I went to a session on recruiting students to CS. Lots of interesting ideas. An important take-home: use students to recruit students. Also, if you’re struggling with underrepresented groups, go where those groups are. Go to the sports teams or the clubs and recruit there. Very interesting.
Then, I had lunch, where this picture was taken. I met Ben at CMK and Alfred I’ve known for years. His blog is one that has always guided me in my thinking about teaching CS.
— Ben Smith (@Chronicbeard) July 15, 2014
After that, I proctored a couple of sessions, one on using the CSTA curriculum, which was actually very helpful. I’ve used the curriculum a lot, and I plan to have my department take a look at it in the fall to use as a benchmark for our work. Then, I attended a session about how the UK is building a professional development network to prepare teachers for the new computing curriculum. It’s a really impressive system they’ve built, which is completely face-to-face and makes use of intimate, local workshops to prepare teachers. We could learn a lot from their work.
I have a bit more to say about the closing keynote and a #makered chat from the hotel bar, but I’ll save that for tomorrow. Stay tuned!