San Diego Quarterly Meeting (May 2014)

The San Diego CSTA held its quarterly meeting Memorial Day week at UCSD’s Supercomputer Center. Some of you may be aware of legislative bills with large potential changes in Computer Science K-12 education curricula and requirements. Our agenda included:

Guest Presentations

  • Dr. Diane Baxter: “Supply Side” – Brief analysis of current educational institutions’ supply of needed talent in Computer Science for San Diego and California
  • Bill Riedy: San Diego Maritime Alliance “Demand Side” – Brief analysis of current needed talent in Computer Science for industry in San Diego and California (Blue Jobs/Blue Economy)
  • Jason Weisz: from the office of Toni Atkins, Speaker of the CA State Assembly and District 78 rep (lower San Diego coast) regarding various proposed legislation [see below] on CS curricula in the K-12 system (discussion)


  • AP Computer Science: Principles status under the National Science Foundation grant
  • ComPASS CS Principles CE21 San Diego
  • UCOP (Ray Kinne’s promotion of the AP Principles pilot course to A-G UC status)
  • Women’s International April 26th Hackathon @ CSUSM (Dr. Youwen Ouwang CS/CSUSM)
  • Ange Mason: Upcoming Summer Institute @ San Diego Supercomputer Center report

Summertime personal development/project ideas

  • Google’s $100-$2,500 offer to any high school teacher mentoring Kahn academy’s online tutoring in programming for 5 or more high school girls– nice summer occupation for students that earns your classroom money to use as you see fit
  • Kevin Bowen of Porpoise Robotics / Office of Naval Research for middle & high school students
  • Intros to Mobile Programming Tutorials: MIT AppInventor2, Wenderlich, AppCoda
  • Arduino / Raspberry PI & Mathematica
  • Computer Based Mathematics
  • San Diego STEM Symposium (Sept 22,23)


Computer Science BillsSix bills before the state Legislature would make computer science a more significant part of the K- 12 curriculum in California.Source:
Bill     Offered by                  Bill description
AB 1764 Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto Bill would authorize school boards to award students a third year of math credit for satisfactory completion of a computer science course.
AB 1530 Ed Chau, D-Monteray Park Bill would add computer science to the required course of study for grades 1 to 6.
AB 1539 Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills Bill would require California Board of Education to adopt computer science standards for grades 7 to 12.
AB 1540 Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills Bill would allow high school students to earn computer science credit through a local community college.
AB 2110 Phil Ting, D-San Francisco Bill would require California Board of Education to include computer science content in existing curriculum frameworks.









Google CS4HS Initiative

The College of St. Scholastica is pleased to announce that it will be offering a free 4-week online workshop on using Android App Inventor, supported through Google’s CS4HS initiative (  App Inventor is free software used through your browser to create cell phone apps by snapping together blocks of code (see demo at  It is an engaging and fun way to interest middle school, high school and college students in computing.  The workshop will begin on June 30th with a Getting Started unit on how to use the course tools and be followed by 4 weekly units on integrating App Inventor into curricula, finishing the last week of July.  This workshop is particularly relevant to those just beginning to include computing in their curricula.

Workshop Goals:

  • – to provide computing education professional development to educators
  • – to create a network of teachers interested in computing education
  • – to share best practices for computing in 5-12th grades, including inclusive pedagogy for underrepresented groups
  • – to empower educators to advocate for computing education in their community

Participants completing the workshop will earn continuing education credits and those completing a follow-up project with students have the option of earning low-cost graduate credits.

Interested? See more details and register online at

Please forward this announcement to your professional development coordinator and others that might be interested in participating.

Thank you,
Jen Rosato,
Chery Takkunen,

Mobot_A kits

Thanks to technology developed at the University of California, Davis, with funding from the National Science Foundation, educational robots are now available to make 21st century skills accessible to students at a reasonable cost.

The launch of the Mobot-A kit follows a successful Beta program where over 300 robots were used in more than 30 high schools and middle schools to teach STEM subjects. As 3D printers become more and more common place in the classroom there’s a need for engaging projects and curriculum to tie this powerful tool into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Here is a video that shows how instruction in math aligns with building and using robots in the classroom:

MobiSocial Computing Lab at Stanford University

The MobiSocial Computing Lab at Stanford University is pleased to announce a video competition for high-school students, as a first-step in our high-school outreach program.

We are inviting high-school students to show off their imagination with a short video, no longer than 3 minutes.  You are encouraged to collaborate and enter the competition as a group.  There will be two awards: the People’s Choice and the Judges’ Choice Award.  Each winning group will receive a $1000USD scholarship, thanks to our sponsor Google.  Submit your video at  by May 20, 2013.

Why Imagine Mobile?

Our research lab is in an excellent position to get high-school students interested in computer science. Our research focus is mobile and social, two topics that young people are interested in. In addition, we have developed various app platforms that make it easy to create mobile and social games. How cool would it be if a student can create a game that he or she can play with a friend on their mobile phones!

As a first step, we want to invite high-school students to brainstorm about future mobile experiences. Students only need to submit a concept video — there is no need to know anything about programming. We want to get their creative juices flowing, help them tinker and they will naturally want to take programming courses to learn more.

More information about the Stanford MobiSocial Lab can be found at

Email contact: Joy Kim

XSEDE13 National Computing Conference

UCSD Invites High School and Undergraduate Students to a National Computing Conference
XSEDE13 National High Performance Computing Conference Student Day

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – San Diego Marriott Marquis Hotel and Marina

The San Diego Supercomputer Center, the University of California, San Diego, XSEDE and the National Science Foundation is inviting high school and undergraduate students to participate in one of the premier high performance computing conferences in the country as part of XSEDE13 Student Day. This exciting opportunity provides students with a chance to immerse themselves in the field of computational science research. Student participants will have a chance to meet peers with similar interests from across the country during a day filled with hands-on science, a bioinformatics panel discussion with national leaders in the field, student focused talks, a luncheon where you will share a table with a researcher of your choice, a student poster session, highlighted internships and a visualization showcase. Hurry and sign up today for this great opportunity! Space is limited.
Registration fee: $25.00 

The complete registration fee is being subsidized by the National Science Foundation.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2013

For complete conference information and to download the Student Day application, please visit

AP Computer Science Principles @ UCSD for Teachers

High School Educators are invited to attend a special seven-part TeacherTECH workshop series focused on AP Computer Science Principles. Be on the cutting edge and learn the skills you need to engage your students in computing as you bring computer science principles into your classroom.
Tuesdays, April 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2013 4:30pm- 6:30pm
San Diego Supercomputer Center Training Room
University of California, San Diego

Parking will be provided free of charge.

Course Description 

Nationwide, the CS10K movement seeks to increase the technology preparedness of all high school students, and engage more students in an interesting, relevant, and rigorous computing course, which will both prepare them for college in any major and give them an idea of how fun, exciting, and relevant studying computing can be.

The proposed AP CS Principles course has been designed to meet these needs and in 2010-2011 was piloted with 1,000 students at UCSD and at 4 other universities.  We have grant funding to support San Diego area high schools in developing teachers of all disciplines to teach this course.  Prior experience teaching computing or programming is not a requirement, though it’s certainly fine.  We are seeking to train teachers who can teach this course at their school this fall or the following year – and we can work with your principal to figure out the scheduling. Already, we have support from San Diego Unified and Sweetwater Union to help teachers teach this course, even if it isn’t in the upcoming master schedule.

You should take this 7-week TeacherTECH series if you want to teach the course next year. 

How much work will it be?  That depends on your computing background.  If you teaching programming courses like C, Java, Python, then you may not need to spend more than 30 minutes per week beyond class time.  If you have never programmed before, you will need to “do homework” to prepare between each class, which is estimated at a few hours.  The meetings will model the actual design used in the course – it is based in active learning and supported by initial pre-class preparation.

Those completing the course will be eligible both to attend the summer pedagogical content knowledge training week, to “guest teach” in a summer program for high school students, and to apply to be a sponsored pilot teacher next year.  Pilot teachers receive a stipend, textbooks, clickers, and UCSD-tutor support for their classrooms.

Course Outline 

  1. Session 1:  Welcomes and getting to know you.  Overview of learning goals of the course. Introduction to Alice on the computer – setting up worlds, DoTogether and DoInOrder control structures, how to engage with peer instruction questions.
  2. Session 2: Methods and Parameters.  How to use methods to organize and abstract complex programs, how to use parameters to make methods more flexible and useful.
  3. Session 3: Events.  How to make programs interactive (ala video games).  Reprise of methods and parameters as needed.  Introduction to Technology and Society assignments (explorations and written reflections by students).
  4. Session 4: If statements.  How to support programs that sometimes do one thing and sometimes do another.  If statements are used in website signup pages to check if your passwords are the same.   They are also used in ATM machines – the bank won’t let you withdraw money from an account with insufficient funds.
  5. Session 5: Loops.  How to gain power over the computer by getting it to do things repeatedly.  Loops which repeat until a specific condition is true (You earn 100 points) or a specific number of times (3 chances to win in Angry Birds).
  6. Session 6: Lists in Alice and Excel.  How computers organize data to enable us to write programs manipulating large amounts of data.  Connections between Alice concepts and functions and capabilities in Excel.
  7. Session 7: Alice project, review of course components, discussion of concerns, review of sample exams.
  8. Session 8: Reflections, fun and camaraderie at an offsite location 

Note: Each week will involve both hands-on time at the computer and “peer instruction” based lecture – where participants develop their understanding through engagement with a set of questions and through discussion with each other.  Preparation before session will be required to the extent that it is needed to allow one to engage during the class session.

Please join us for eight exciting and informative sessions of hands-on learning presented by Tasha Frankie, Computer Science Lecturer, UCSD.

Registration is free. Please contact Ange Mason at to reserve your space. When responding by email, please indicate your school affiliation.

For information on other TeacherTECH workshops, please see

March 12 San Diego CSTA Quarterly Meeting

The San Diego CSTA meets quarterly at the UCSD San Diego Supercomputer Center. Our next meeting is

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 (4:00pm- 6:00pm)
UCSD San Diego Supercomputer Center Auditorium 9
University of California, San Diego

The agenda includes:

  •  Welcome
  •  Edward Abeyta – Director K-16 Programs, UC San Diego Extension is considering developing a series of undergraduate credit courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields for high-achieving high school juniors and seniors. We are seeking your thoughts about this initiative to ensure our effort meets the needs of the community we serve.
  • Tom Lauwers – owner of BirdBrain Technologies LLC, the company that makes the Finch Robot and Hummingbird Robotics Kit would like to meet with the San Diego CSTA group and demo one of the robots.
  • Summer course and internship offerings in computing at SDSC
  • Great videos to share with your students
  • Around the table

If  you would like to be apprised of future meetings and activities, you can subscribe at the top right of this page.

Membership in the CSTA is free for individuals. You can register online here.