Wednesday, July 20, 2016

AP CSP teacher summit

I was invited to join approximately 70 other computer science teachers at the AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) Teacher Summit immediately prior to the annual AP Annual Conference held in Anaheim, CA, July 13-17, 2016.  I must admit other than attending a webinar in the winter about the CSP course and upcoming test I had not previously focused my energy on AP.  I specifically was targeted on making my own class work and was not yet worried about the AP CSP alignment or whether my students would pass the test.  Actually, I didn’t even know there was a new AP computer science course on the horizon until AFTER I selected my curriculum to teach a new computer science course at my school.

What I found was AMAZING! During this meeting I had a small opportunity to share my experience piloting Harvard’s CS50 as an AP course but more importantly I got to hear about the journey of all the other computer science teachers using other curriculum. I talked to teachers that had not yet taught CSP, some already submitted a syllabus and selected curriculum and some had not selected curriculum yet.  I got to hear from teachers that have been involved with testing curriculum over the past 3 years, and teachers that have been on this journey for 8 years.  I got to hear about the revisions of the test, the curriculum framework, and WHY different curriculum works in different situations. This was such a wonderful professional experience to hear and learn about the process and to join a community of educators all teaching the same course with the same objectives including The White House initiative of #CSforAll.

Now, I’ve discussed communities a lot over the last few blog posts and the last thing I wanted to do is have one more community to participate in but this is worth it!  I now not only have a connection with people that are teaching the same CS50 curriculum but also a community of educators to draw ideas on topics just in case I need another angle whether it be for a certain student, a group of students, or my entire class. I am very thankful to be included in this experience.

If you are teaching AP CSP I strongly encourage you to join the teacher community. If you are looking to bring an entry level computer science course to your school look into AP CS Principles.  It is well thought out!

Something I learned about while at the AP CSP meeting was about bridging diversity in computer science.  I learned about programs I had not yet heard about that I can use in an array of my computer technology courses.  In addition to CSP I teach software applications, and 4 – 8 computer technology. I encourage parents and other teachers to check out these resources as well.
  • Facebook’s Tech Prep initiative has resources for teachers and parents as well as ideas of where to start.
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology has resources for encouraging women in the field.
I appreciate the efforts of College Board, Lien Diaz and the AP CSP team, the pilot educators, and the community surrounding this course. I look forward to getting further connected in this computer science community. 

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