The WeTeach_CS Computer Science Principles Mini-Conference, being held in Austin, TX on February 20-21, will offer a variety of resources for teachers of AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP). Sessions will include panel discussions and hands-on workshop-style presentations. Attendees will also have an opportunity to collaborate across schools and districts to brainstorm plans for developing four-year CS pathways in Texas high schools.
We have many reasons to be excited about offering AP CSP training again this year, so here are our top three:
- In 2016, the Texas State Board of Education added AP CSP to the STEM Endorsement and decided that Texas teachers certified in Technology Applications OR Computer Science could now teach AP CSP, greatly increasing the number of potential AP CSP teachers in Texas.
- Recognizing that there may be a lot of new AP CSP teachers out there, this year’s CSP Mini-Conference features tracks tailored for both Rookie (new) as well as Veteran (experienced) AP CSP teachers.
- To address each cohort of teachers, we’re bringing in CSP instructors from around the state and the nation, including representatives of Code.org, the College Board, UTeach CS, Beauty and Joy of Computing (UC Berkeley), Mobile CSP, and Project Lead the Way.
- When – February 20-21, 2017
- Where – UT-Austin Pickle Research Campus, Commons Learning Center
- Cost – $120 per participant
- Registration Deadline – February 14, 2017
- Accommodations and Travel Reimbursement – Attendees may be eligible for reimbursement of travel and accommodations expenses. See event page for details.
- Agenda – Get a preview by downloading the CSP Mini-Conference Agenda
Curriculum / Speakers
College Board – CSP Framework
AP Computer Science Principles offers a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation. The course will introduce students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns, and computing impacts. AP Computer Science Principles will give students the opportunity to use technology to address real-world problems and build relevant solutions. Together, these aspects of the course make up a rigorous and rich curriculum that aims to broaden participation in computer science.
The AP CSP Course and Exam Description (.pdf/3.61 MB) provides an in-depth look at the course content, through-course assessment and end-of-year exam.
Beauty and Joy of Computing
The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) is an introductory computer science curriculum developed at the University of California, Berkeley, intended for non-CS majors at the high school junior through undergraduate freshman level.
Computing has changed the world in profound ways. It has opened up wonderful new ways for people to connect, design, research, play, create, and express themselves. However, just using a computer is only a small part of the picture. The real transformative and empowering experience comes when one learns how to program the computer, to translate ideas into code. This course teaches students how to do exactly that, using SNAP! (based on Scratch), one of the friendliest programming languages ever invented. It’s purely graphical, which means programming involves simply dragging blocks around, and building bigger blocks out of smaller blocks.
But this course is far more than just learning to program. We focus on some of the “Big Ideas” of computing, such as abstraction, design, recursion, concurrency, simulations, and the limits of computation. We show some beautiful applications of computing that have changed the world, talk about the history of computing, and where it will go in the future. Throughout the course, relevance is emphasized: relevance to the student and to society. As an example, the final project is completely of the students’ choosing, on a topic most interesting to them. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. We are especially excited about bringing computing (through this course) to traditionally under-represented groups in computing, i.e., women and ethnic minorities.
John Owen & Deborah Kariuki
WeTeach_CS, Center for STEM Education
The University of Texas at Austin
Code.org is recognized by the College Board as an endorsed provider of curriculum and professional development for AP® Computer Science Principles. This endorsement affirms that all components of Code.org CS Principles’s offerings are aligned to the AP Curriculum Framework standards and the AP CS Principles assessment. Using an endorsed provider affords schools access to resources including an AP CS Principles syllabus pre-approved by the College Board’s AP Course Audit, and officially recognized professional development that prepares teachers to teach AP CS Principles.
The Mobile Computer Science Principles course (Mobile CSP) satisfies all requirements of the College Board’s new AP Computer Science Principles course, which has been designed to help broaden participation in computer science among high school girls and underrepresented minorities.
The Mobile CSP course uses the visual programming language, MIT App Inventor for Android, to provide a rigorous, programming-based introduction to computer science using a project-based curriculum. Students learn computer science by building socially useful mobile apps. In this way, student learning will be associated closely with their interests and grounded in their schools, their homes, and their communities.
Project Lead the Way
Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. Computer Science Principles helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation. PLTW is recognized by the College Board as an endorsed provider of curriculum and professional development for AP® Computer Science Principles (AP CSP). This endorsement affirms that all components of PLTW CSP’s offerings are aligned to the AP Curriculum Framework standards and the AP CSP assessment.
The University of Texas at Austin
UTeach CS Principles is a year-long high school course that fully addresses the seven “Big Ideas” and six “Computational Thinking Practices,” as specified by the College Board’s AP Computer Science Principles Curriculum Framework. No materials costs are assumed, and project-based lessons and materials are used throughout. This pedagogical approach actively engages students in a collaborative learning process that encourages problem solving, critical thinking, and group communication.
We’re also excited to thank Google for their generosity and support in sponsoring the 2017 CSP Mini-Conference.