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The Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech. Barbara Ericson Georgia Tech History of ICE. Joint effort by the Georgia DOE and Georgia Tech Started in 2004 AP CS teachers needed training in Java and OO

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The institute for computing education at georgia tech l.jpg

The Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech

Barbara Ericson

Georgia Tech

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History of ICE

  • Joint effort by the Georgia DOE and Georgia Tech

  • Started in 2004

    • AP CS teachers needed training in Java and OO

      • Only 44 schools offering AP CS out of > 400

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Goals of ICE

  • Increase the number of qualified computing teachers in Georgia

    • Train teachers with no formal background in Computer Science

      • Typically business teachers

  • Increase the number and diversity of computing students in Georgia

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Original Computing Courses

Computer Applications

Word, Powerpoint, Excel

IT Foundations

History, Networking, Web Dev

Programming and Systems Management

Programming, database, GUI, etc

Advanced Placement Computer Science

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Curriculum Revision

  • An external review found that Georgia's standards

    • Did not follow national standards

    • Were too broad and shallow

    • Lacked rigor

    • Were content based – not performance based

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Revision Committee

  • A committee of high school computing teachers, university faculty, and DOE staff created new performance-based standards

    • Committee met 5 times from Sept 2005 to Feb 2006

    • Created 3 new computing courses

      • Based on the ACM model curriculum for K-12

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Comparing Curriculums

ACM Model Curriculum

Georgia Curriculum

Level 2 (II) Computer Science in

the Modern World

Level 2 (II) Computing in

the Modern World

Level 3 (III) Computer Science

as Analysis and Design

Level 3 (III) Beginning


Level 3 (III) Intermediate


Level 4 (IV) Topics in CS –

Advanced Placement CS

Level 4 (IV) Topics in CS –

Advanced Placement CS

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Professional Development

  • Summer workshops

    • Grown from two weeks in 2004

    • To four weeks in 2008

  • School-year workshops

    • LEGO NXT robots

    • Alice

    • Media Computation

    • Games

    • AP Exam

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Teacher Training Results

  • AP CS has grown from 44 schools in Georgia in 2004 to over 90 schools in 2009


  • 304 unique teachers from 199 schools and 12 states

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Summer 2009 Workshops

  • Computing in the Modern World

    • PicoCrickets, Scratch, Alice, and CS Unplugged Activities

  • Beginning Programming

    • Media Computation in Python and IPRE robots

  • Intermediate Programming

    • Media Computation in Java and Greenfoot

  • AP CS A

    • Alice and Media Computation, GridWorld, Greenfoot, etc

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  • Invention kit integrating art and technology


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  • Free software from MIT for creating 2D animations and games


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Alice 2.2

  • Free software from CMU for creating 3D movies and games


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Alice 3.0 Beta

  • Free software from CMU for creating 3D movies and games


      • Includes the Electronic Arts Sims characters

      • Can import into Netbeans IDE as Java code

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CS Unplugged

  • Free materials for teaching computing concepts without a computer


Binary Numbers

Network Deadlocks

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Media Computation

  • Writing textual programs to manipulate media

Soup-Audio Collage

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IPRE Robots

  • Parallax scribbler robots with color camera and Bluetooth


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  • Free software from the Un. of Kent and Deakin Un. for building 2D simulations and games in Java

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Alice and Media Computation

  • Teaching computing concepts in Alice first and then covering the same concepts in Java with Media Computation


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  • Advanced Placement Computer Science Case Study

    • Example of a larger program for students to learn from

    • Used to teach object-oriented concepts

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Wearable Computers

  • Developed by Leah Buechley

    • Now of MIT

  • Very small computers, sensors, and lights

    • Connected with conductive thread

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Pleo Robots

  • Devloped by Ugobe

    • The creator of the Furby

  • Now owned by Innvo Labs

  • Programmed using MySkit or the Pleo Dev Kit

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Lending Library for Teachers

  • We lend our LEGO NXT robots and PicoCricket kits

    • Up to 3 weeks at a time

    • Up to 12 kits per teacher

    • Must leave a deposit

      • And lose deposit if missing parts or not sorted

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Certification Issues in CS

  • Most states do not require training in CS for teachers

    • Georgia does not require any training

    • Business teachers are considered in field for CS

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Certification Issues in Georgia

  • In 2005 the Georgia Professional Standards Commission changed the rules so that only business teachers could teach AP CS

    • We would have lost an entire district of math teachers who were teaching AP CS

    • And we had a physics teacher and 2 music teachers

  • Georgia Tech was able to convince the GA PSC to allow anyone with a valid teaching certificate to teach AP CS

    • But, we wanted to ensure that teachers had sufficient training in computer science

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CS Endorsement

  • Committee formed to create an endorsement based on the NCATE standards in 2006

    • Teachers, university faculty, and Georgia Professional Standards Commission

      • Worked for 1 year

      • Posted for 6 months for comments

    • Endorsement passed in Dec 2008

      • Only voluntary for now

    • Can be added to any type of teaching certification

    • Two schools will offer it in Georgia

      • Kennesaw State University – fall 2009

      • Columbus State University – online in 2010

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Student Outreach

  • Summer Camps

    • High school since 2004

    • Middle school since 2006

    • Elem school (4th and 5th) since 2009

  • Weekend and after-school computing activities

    • Girl Scouts since 2005

    • YWCA since 2007

    • Cool Girls, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts 2008

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Summer Camps

  • Our camps always fill

    • So we started training and providing "seed money" to other colleges and universities in Georgia in 2007

      • From NSF BPC grant

    • We have started 8 additional summer camps in Georgia since 2007

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Girl Scout Outreach

  • 2005-2006 – 40

    • LEGO robots

  • 2006-2007 – 80

    • LEGO robots and Alice

  • 2007-2008 – 428

  • 2008-2009 – 455

    • LEGO, Alice, PicoCrickets, Scratch

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YWCA – Teen Girls in Tech

  • Afterschool program at 4 area middle schools

    • Worked with since spring 2007

    • Mentored 2 FIRST LEGO League teams

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Cool Girls

  • Low income middle school girls

    • Started in fall 2008

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Boys and Girls Clubs

  • Worked with nearby location

  • Also did webinar on Scratch

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Computing Competitions

  • AP Bowl

    • Practice Advanced Placement CS Exam

  • Scratch – new in 2010

  • Alice – new in 2010

  • RoboCup Jr. – proposed

    • Dance

    • Rescue

    • Soccer

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  • One of our summer camp kids from 2005 is now a 3rd year CS major

    • Just won most outstanding Junior

    • Wants to go to graduate school

  • We get statistically significant changes in attitudes towards computing

    • In just a 4 hour workshop

    • Using PicoCrickets, Scratch, and Alice

  • Kids report an increase in interest in CS

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CS Education Info

  • The 4 years of math and science push

    • Texas gives math credit for AP CS

    • Georgia gives science credit for AP CS (just removed!)

  • The 10,000 teachers by 2015 push from Jan Cuny of the National Science Foundation

    • Development of a new AP course in computer science

    • Want a course that appeals to more people

  • Rebooting unemployed IT workers to be teachers

    • Georgia's alternative teacher prep program

  • High School Program

    • Training high school students to be helpers

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Operation Reboot

  • Transform 30 unemployed IT workers into high school computing teachers

    • 10 per year for 3 years

  • IT worker

    • Paid a stipend of $3410 a month for 11 months

    • Co-teaches 2 computing classes / sections per year with the existing computing teacher

    • Earns initial teaching certificate through GaTAPP

      • And a CS endorsement


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  • First group of 10 selected by Thanksgiving

    • Begin training Nov 30th

    • Start in classroom in Jan 2010

  • Second group of 10 selected by June 2010

    • Begin training July 2010

    • Start in classroom in Aug 2010

  • Third group of 10 selected by June 2011

    • Begin training July 2011

    • Start in classroom in Aug 2011

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How can you help?

  • Visit schools for career day

  • Allow a computing teacher to shadow you

  • Volunteer to help your local AP CS teacher

    • Or get your school to offer AP CS

  • Mentor a robot competition team

    • Or assist

  • Do workshops for youth serving organizations

  • Offer summer camps

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  • Georgia Tech and the Georgia Department of Education have both supported this effort

    • Along with the Toyota Foundation, Microsoft, Atlanta Women's Foundation, and the National Science Foundation