Posted by CSTA Conference Committee on May 13, 2022

Chicago skyline against Lake Michigan 
Text reads: CSTA 2022 recommended sessions
Check out these CSTA 2022 session recommendations from our Conference Committee.

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CSTA 2022 features over 200 sessions, and you don’t want to miss it! We know that navigating that much content can be overwhelming, so the Conference Committee has highlighted these sessions they think you’ll love.

Nifty Assignments

Baker Franke
July 17, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Nifty Assignments is a project to gather and distribute great assignment ideas and their materials by K-12 CS teachers for K-12 CS teachers. Each year a few assignments are showcased by the authors at the Nifty Assignments session held at the annual CSTA conference. It is intended to be a replica of (and homage to) the highly successful, and longstanding, Nifty Assignments session at the Annual ACM SIGCSE conference devised by Nick Parlante.

Build an Equitable and Inclusive CS Program with Intentionality

Shaina Glass, LeoLin Bowen, and Tonya Davis 
July 16, 2:30-3:30 p.m. 
Just as we teach kids how clouds form or what the organs in our body do, every 21st-century student should have a chance to learn about algorithms, how to make apps, and how the internet works. This is foundational knowledge for the world students live in. In this session, participants will learn about the importance of CS education, identify barriers to entry, and explore resources to help advance the CS program at every school.  Studies of K-12 students show that learning computer programming improves student creativity, mathematical skills, metacognition, spatial skills, reasoning skills, and chances of going to college. Black students constitute 15% of the national student body and 13% of students in schools that teach CS, but they only account for 6% of students taking AP CS exams. Even when Black students have access to CS education, they remain less likely to take the AP CS exams. Local commitment to CS can increase participation and equity, particularly when students are exposed to CS in the early grades. Learn how to implement CS education into classrooms at every level, sharing resources and strategies that can help build an equitable and inclusive CS program.

Computer Science as a Lever for Social Justice 

Presented by Alexandra Holter and Andrea Wilson Vazquez 
July 16, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. 
This session shares the results of a partnership between Minnesota school district Brooklyn Center Community Schools (BCCS) and a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization, Code Savvy, who worked together to leverage science/computer science justice and science capital as a framework for expanding equitable K-12 CS education. Code Savvy and BCCS believe that the next generation of CS leaders are already in our communities. Through accessible programs and services in local neighborhoods and schools, our future tech champions will be able to take the next steps toward a fruitful career in the world’s fastest-growing industries.  We will discuss our process for counteracting preparatory privilege, including the use of an equity audit based on the CAPE (capacity, access, participation, and equity) Framework. We’ll identify our journey to equity using tools like teacher professional development, educator coaching, curriculum design of student-centered activities, tech skills progression, intentional resource procurement, career connections, enrichment activities in and outside of school, student training and certification, and involvement of family and community. We will highlight examples of ways that CS justice has transformed the CS educational pathway for K-12 learners, staff, and families in BCCS and across the Twin Cities metro area. Participants will leave with examples and resources related to implementing CS justice in their own communities.

Building your Equity Advo-KIT

Presented by Joshua Childs, Carol Fletcher, Anne Leftwich, and Sarah Dunton 
July 15, from 1-2 p.m. 
Teachers have the power to influence key decision-makers when it comes to prioritizing CS, but we all need to be prepared with our talking points when those opportunities arise. Join this session to build a CS Advo-KIT that lets you effectively advocate for CS for all. Teachers will learn the basics of educational policy advocacy strategies while capitalizing on what they do best: teaching!  Attendees will leave this session with a toolkit of strategies to enable stronger advocacy for equitable K-12 CS education. The workshop will engage attendees in the Expanding Computer Science Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance’s five-stage model for change, which serves as a framework for statewide change and is also effective at the district level. With continued interest from state agencies and policy makers from across the country, increasing diversity in K-12 CS must remain a top priority. Teachers will build their own Advo-KIT to support place-based advocacy and action toward CS for all, informed by ECEP’s focus on broadening participation in computing through an equity lens. The facilitators of this session will engage participants in activities that identify student needs while considering how to create sustainable change beyond the classroom. Advo-KITS incorporate teacher voices into larger, statewide efforts in order to bolster systemic change, implement equity-centered frameworks, and build sustainable educational policy.

If You Build It, They Will Code: How to Develop a District CS Scope and Sequence

Presented by Lisa Schwartz and Eric Santos 
July 17, 9-10 a.m. 
As more and more states (over 30 states and counting!) adopt CS standards, every district needs a cohesive plan to ensure that all students receive equitable access to a computer science curriculum, from the foundational elementary years through advanced programs in high school. Whether you’re already heavily invested in computer science education, just dabbling and looking to get organized, or still searching for an entry point, this workshop is for you.  We will model strategies for creating a district curriculum map with scope and sequence for computer science, then walk you through the thought processes, conversations, and decisions you’ll need to consider. You’ll receive templates to guide your planning and explore examples to inspire your conversations. We’ll practice brainstorming and organizing thoughts around curriculum mapping, and we’ll crowdsource ideas from participants during the session. You will return to your district with a plan of action, examples to build from, and an approach to the conversation that keeps student and teacher needs at the center of curriculum planning.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Presented by Saul Duarte 
July 17, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
In alignment with the “digital citizen” standard of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)’s Standard for Educators, this presentation will discuss how digital citizenship and issues of copyright intersect in the classroom. Educators often use online resources to teach CS without considering the behavior they’re modeling for students around ownership of intellectual property. It’s imperative for educators to understand the legal and ethical implications of using digital resources for instruction, projects, and social media. Participants will explore and apply the roles copyright and copyleft play in commonly used digital tools, discover resources to teach students about copyright, and learn how to leverage digital resources safely through the understanding and use of Creative Commons licensing.

Fun, Formative Feedback and Assessments to Improve Learning

Presented by Leslie Brommer and Sharon Jason 
July 16, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. 
Discover how to implement formative feedback and assessments such as Parsons problems, pair programming, code commenting, rubrics, code visualization, and more! Attendees at this session will walk away with an increased theoretical understanding of the importance of formative feedback and assessment, as well as classroom-ready activities that put these ideas into practice.  This session focuses on feedback as an essential instructional tool in computer science education. Parsons problems task students with rearranging a set of scrambled code fragments and are an excellent way to provide built-in formative feedback for students. Rubrics allow teachers to communicate specific feedback to students, giving them a clear idea of their strengths, areas of need, and paths to improvement. Pair programming brings students into the feedback cycle! Peers offer each other feedback and support on problems, and the immediacy of the feedback allows students to find and correct mistakes on their own. Formative assessments like multiple choice and fill in the blank can provide immediate feedback to students, including the rationale for correct and incorrect answers. Participants will explore these feedback tools and broaden their understanding of the tools they can use to check for student understanding.

Social-Emotional Learning in the Computer Science Classroom: Nurturing the Natural Connections

Presented by Whitney Dove 
July 17, from 9-10 a.m. 
Social and emotional learning (SEL) has long been a priority of educators. But with so many competing initiatives swirling around us, it can sometimes seem like just too much. In this session, we aim to help educators support students’ development of social and emotional skills, by exploring the natural connections that exist between the CSTA CS standards and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s SEL framework.   Our session begins with an exploration of the CASEL SEL framework. Attendees will reflect on their current implementation of social and emotional learning and collaboratively define what this type of learning looks, feels, and sounds like in the classroom. Next, attendees will identify the verbs present in CSTA standards and discuss what kinds of classroom activities might support students in reaching the level of cognitive complexity implied by those verbs. Mapping classroom experiences to verbs in the standards will lead to rich dialogue about natural connections to the SEL framework. For example, attendees might discover that the verb model presents an opportunity to teach and reinforce specific self-management skills. Educators will receive a variety of instructional strategies for the computer science classroom, and the session will conclude with a collaborative discussion of how to use these and other strategies to address CSTA standards and the SEL framework.

Engineered Inequality and Rethinking Our Relationship to CS

Presented by Jared O’Leary 
July 16, from 9-10 a.m. 
Discussions around the digital divide often revolve around the inequalities created by a lack of access to technology or CS education. However, access alone does not create equitable learning experiences. This session unpacks some of the (un)intentionally engineered inequities in CS and encourages a rethinking of how we engage with CS and technology. We’ll discuss concepts like the digital divide, rhizomatic learning, technological determinism, and more. Teachers will learn how to fight against engineered inequality in CS and will walk away with recommended resources that further unpack the topics introduced in this session.

The Lending Library: Building Toward Equity in Physical Computing

Presented by Katrina Miller and Rebecca Bailey 
July 17, from 9-10 a.m. 
Aiming to create equitable experiences for our teachers and students, Chicago Public Schools created a lending library in 2019, allowing teachers to borrow physical computing devices and try them out with their students. While the lending library could not be used in the 2020-21 school year, it has now returned, and we’re reinvigorating our commitment to build equity. In addition to aggregating resources for teachers, the lending library now hosts short, virtual micro-professional development sessions for teachers to help them feel comfortable and confident in using the library’s devices.  This session explores the central question: how has creating a robotics lending library of devices and collected resources helped our district build equity in physical computing?

Empowering Student Voice through Data and Practice

Presented by Jacqueline Corricelli 
July 16, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
CAPE (capacity, access, participation, and equity) is a framework designed to assess equity throughout the computer science education ecosystem. Based on work initiated by the University of Texas at Austin and supported by a grant from Google, the CAPE framework was used to perform a large-scale analysis of CS equity in the state of Texas.  This session will highlight some of the ways regular CS educators can use CAPE’s data points, strategies, and tools to better understand their own school districts and empower student voices. Whether you are a classroom teacher or an advocate for change at the institutional or district level, CAPE can help illuminate inequities and inspire solutions. Attend this session to learn how to use data to expose, understand, and solve problems with and for students.

Using Data in a Research-Practice Partnership to Support New York City’s CS4All Mission

Presented by José Angel Olivares Gómez, Michelle Kennedy, AiMei Chang, Tunisia Mitchell
July 15, 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
New York City launched the CS4All initiative in 2015 with the mission of bringing high-quality computer science education to all students, particularly female, Black, and Latinx students. To support this effort, Education Development Center and the New York City Department of Education engaged in a research-practice partnership (RPP), with a focus on expanding equity in AP CSP while supporting school teams in providing equitable computer science experiences broadly. Problems of practice targeted by the RPP include scaling curriculum and professional development, diversifying student recruitment for AP CSP courses, and designing supports for CS school teams, including teacher leaders and school administrators. By engaging in targeted data collection and analysis for each of these problems of practice, the RPP has informed the broader CS4All work in three main ways: how to look at data to derive learning and inform practice; how to integrate data and disseminate results to ensure equitable access in informing instruction and policy; and how to develop school-level and district-wide approaches to increase engagement among stakeholders. This presentation will encourage the audience to think strategically about how to inform practice in these three ways across varying problems and contexts, all with the goal of providing equitable computer science education across grades K-12.

Digital Learning Coaches: How to Build Capacity and Leverage Impact

Presented by Katherine Gomez, Corinna Saiz, and Kalmy Romero 
July 17, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
In this session, district and site leaders will learn about the position of a Digital Learning Coach (DLC). We will discuss the importance of understanding and nurturing a DLC, reflect on the cycle of coaching within the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) coaching framework, and consider how a DLC can positively impact an entire district. Technology has become central to learning in all environments, but traditional professional development for teachers often misses the mark. The presence of a DLC, or any on-site coaching support, provides teachers the ability and confidence to use new digital learning tools in a safe and relevant environment.

Being a Reflective Teacher

Presented by Dan Blier 
July 15, from 9-10 a.m. 
This session offers a hands-on opportunity for participants to engage with the CSTA Standards for CS Educators. Participants will be guided through the five standards while reflecting on their CS knowledge and skills, classroom practice, and ability to be a continuous learner while building a welcoming classroom environment. Based on these reflections, we will identify possible pathways for professional learning. Designed to support teachers and provide administrators and instructional coaches with the tools to do the same, this session will allow participants to make informed decisions about which CSTA 2022 standards fit best with their learning needs.

Lessons Learned from Leading a District-Wide Computer Science Initiative

Presented by Sophia Mendoza 
July 15, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
Hear directly from leaders from the nation’s second-largest school district who are leading their computer science education expansion to ensure district-wide equity, access, and opportunity. During this session, attendees will learn about one district’s social justice implementation strategy, next steps, and what they would have done differently if they had it all to do again. Presenters will share the top ten takeaways for leading a computer science initiative, and participants will walk away inspired to implement their own computer science education initiatives.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel! CS Curriculum Evaluation Done for You!

Presented by Melissa Zeitz, Jacob Foster, David Petty, Anne DeMallie, and Lisa Manzi 
July 16, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. 
Finding a quality CS curriculum that aligns to standards, meets the needs of diverse learners, and contributes to a coherent progression of learning can be a challenge. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! The Massachusetts Department of Education has developed a Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Guide to help K-12 educators choose quality curricula that meet their CS program goals. Come to this session to learn how our work can help you select a high quality curriculum for your school.  The curriculum guide includes DLCS core and supplementary curricula spanning across grades K-12. Each curriculum summary attends to state standards alignment, teacher and student supports, and accessibility for diverse populations. Central to this work is a set of criteria and a review process that help educators understand the strengths and limitations of a curriculum.  In this session, we provide an overview of this work, the process and criteria used to review CS curricula, and the publicly available curriculum guide. Participants will apply a portion of the review process to assess a curricular unit for several criteria focused on equity and inclusion. This is an area of continual development in our efforts to enhance the review process and its outcomes, so we will also illustrate how emerging resources are incorporated into our process. This session and the curriculum guide can be useful to all CS educators as they choose curricula for their classrooms.
While we’ve selected a few sessions to highlight, we encourage you to check out the full agenda on the website. You can filter by grade band as well as CSTA teacher and student standards. Be sure to check out our equity-focused sessions across all grade levels. Be sure to register for CSTA 2022 before July 10!