Also more to learn than can ever be learned. I’m in Washington DC for the National Educational Computing Conference. Today, Saturday, is a day of pre-conference events and there are many of them. Something for everyone I’m sure. Several things for many of us. For me I had to choose between the CSTA CS & IT Symposium and EduBloggerCon. Both were today and both are the biggest and best of their kind anywhere. But since I can only be in one place at a time I had to pick one. I picked CS & IT.
CS & IT is the single biggest and best one day computer science teacher professional development there is. This was the 10th event and the ninth year it has been held. I’ve been to most of them and by now I know a lot of the regulars. Plus there are new people every year. Several people who read my blog where there and I was able to meet them which was great. It does so much to improve the online interactions to have a face and a voice to go with the Internet identity. That would be enough of a reason for me to go by itself. But of course there are the sessions. I attended an interesting session on K-8 computer science that was done by the people who put together the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) document on Computer Science For Grades K-8? With Curriculum Resources. They did some good work on that one let me tell you. Also I sat in on a presentation on using Adobe Flash in the classroom that was very interesting.
The opening keynote was by Jane Margolis and Joanna Goode is two of the co-authors of Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing. It was a great introduction to the learning's they cover in their book and the programs they are working on to address the problems they found. This book is highly recommended – I dare say almost mandatory – for people who want to really understand why the numbers of minority students in computer science are so low. It’s an eye opener to say the least.
The closing keynote was by Debra Richardson, Dean at UC Irvine, who gave an inspiring talk about the importance of computer science education for everyone. A lot of discussion at the end about the problems with making this happen. This rolled back a little in some ways to the kick off keynote. Getting schools to make CS more central in the curriculum is going to be tough but many of us really truly deeply believe it needs to be done.
My congratulations to the symposium organizing team. Job well done!
EduBloggerCon is also a great event and I went to the first one several years ago. I understand (been watching a little on Twitter) that there are on the order of 100 education bloggers and other Web 2.0 education practitioners there. I did manage to drop in on an after event party and saw a bunch of great people – some I met for the first time and some I know online and some I knew in person and online. They all agreed that this was a great EduBloggerCon. Perhaps next year the two events will not conflict. A guy can hope.