Algorithm that Change

24 03 2014

How can you change brains to build the future?

The Ingenious Ideas that Drive Today’s Computers
- John MacCormick

“Is this Right?” – my 92 year old mother asks
“What do you think?” – my answer each day as she gets dressed

Are we helping children too much in the classroom? Are we so focused on the grade that it prevents thinking and creativity because they fear getting something wrong? My mother loves reading comics, so showed me this one. It reminded me of what my 4-year old grandson said when we looked at a sad plant and we talked about where it might be happy. I asked him where he was happy. He said in the garden. I asked where he was unhappy. He said where he gets in trouble. Algorithms are rules, and are needed to control computers. But kids are not robots and need an environment where they can mix paint and numbers, and learn about cryptography, Algorithm #3 in the book above.

Family Circus 3-24-14

Family Circus 3-24-14

Expanding Your Horizons

24 02 2014

The AAUW-WHC EYH Experience:

The current focus in accountability testing is on the 4 academic areas of math, science, English and Social Studies, which leaves out computing, engineering, creative design and algorithmic thinking.

The current focus in accountability testing is on the 4 academic areas of math, science, English and Social Studies, which leaves out computing, engineering, creative design and algorithmic thinking.

Coding Equity

30 01 2014

In the beginning, communicating your ideas in your own words to convince yourself is valuable. However, to convince others and reveal your thought processes, making your arguments more formal is beneficial.

University of Texas Linear Algebra w/ Computer Science MOOC Quote

Why Toy Startup GoldieBlox’s Historic $4 Million Super Bowl Ad Win Matters

- Claire O’Conner Forbes Staff

How do I make the argument for the need for computer science education equity clearer? Been saying this for decades …


5 01 2014

Dream, dream, dreeeammm – Who was inspired by the Everly Brothers? In the 50s two kids from Liverpool practiced being Everly Brothers imitators. Music, the soul of inspiration, the beginning of dreams. Do teachers have time to sing?

She cried because teaching was no longer fun.
She cried because she wanted more time to sing to her students.
June 9, 2011 Retirement Editorial

Teachers have the power to inspire imagination. As Einstein said, “Logic will get your from A to B, Imagination will get your everywhere.” I dream of eliminating A,B … C, D and F – Failure, to provide time for building the growth mindset. If I could connect with my former students, another dream, they might remember our motto poster that I hung in my classroom for decades,”sometimes we do things wrong, so we can tell the difference when we do things right” or my “Book of Errors” used to debug computer programs. “Back to the Future” – 2015 is almost here. At the 1999 AACE M/SET Conference I presented on using programming to teach math using that theme and am still advocating for computer science education. Now with and even the President on the band wagon, maybe I can at least inspire teachers locally to integrate coding Bee-Bots into their K-2 curriculum.

Michael Dell, Graduate of Spring Branch Memorial High School, founded the Dell Computer Corporation in 1984 with nothing more than $1,000 and an idea. The corporation was founded on the idea of “bypassing the middleman” to sell custom-built PCs directly to consumers. After graduating from Spring Branch Memorial High School, Dell attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he began selling computers from his dorm room. Another dream I have is to bypass the middleman in education, the school system, and connect learners and teachers directly. Maybe another SBISD student, teacher, parent or community member can make that happen. Maybe CS Education will continue beyond just one week and grow in 2014. Will you continue coding –

Computer Science Education Week

8 12 2013

The American Association of University Women – West Harris County Branch members working on community outreach are celebrating Computer Science Education Week. According to AAUW’s Why So Few research report, women remain severely underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. We are supporting K-2 teachers as Community Coding Mentors. PLease join us.

So, what are you doing?

Coded Graphic WHS 2004

Coded Graphic WHS 2004

Believe in Tomorrow

18 10 2013

To Plant a Garden is to Believe in the Future – Audrey Hepburn
She had a passion and made it grow.

Basketball Passion in the Garden

Basketball Passion in the Garden

How do I build a passion for gardening in my grandson?
Build a basketball garden
How do I build a passion again for science?
Make gardening a priority over testing in schools …

BeeBot How do I bring Busy Bees into the Classroom?
With Bee-Bot Coding and Computer Science Education in the Garden.

SBOE Testimony – Discrete Math

18 09 2013

WEDNESDAY September 18, 2013

(A) Committee of the Full Board – Office of the State Board of Education, (512) 463-9007, FAX: (512) 936-4319;

6. Proposed Repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013

This item presents for second reading and final adoption the proposed repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013, in order to remove the technology applications discrete mathematics course to correspond with the proposed adoption of a new discrete mathematics course in 19 TAC Chapter 111, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Mathematics.

Thank You SBOE for voting against this. And, thank you to my SBOE representative Donna Bahorich for taking the lead to change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science.

Question and why EVERY Educator needs to question laws that impact their teaching:
Who and why proposed eliminating the TA Discrete Math course in the first place? HB 5 requires TEA and SBOE to approve 6 CTE or TA courses to have a 4th year math credit. They only have 4. They approved the TA Robotics course for a math credit and changed our TEKS, which I did not agree with.

My Successful Testimony:

Hi, I am Karen North and have spoken before this board in the past to include computational thinking and programming in math and elementary school curriculum. I thank you again for the opportunity to address the board.

I respectfully request your consideration to
(1) Sustain inclusion of the Technology Applications version of Discrete Mathematics.
(2) Designate it as a fourth year mathematics credit.
(3) Change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science to distinguish it from the proposed mathematics version.

I had the privilege of serving on the TEKS writing team for the computer science courses. One of our goals was to provide students with a series of courses to prepare them for computer science at the university level. We know that statistics is a crucial mathematics for the social sciences and calculus is crucial for engineering. Discrete mathematics is the mathematics for technology, specifically computer science. In developing career paths it is appropriate for students entering a technology profession to receive secondary mathematics credit.

At the SBOE meeting today, Representative Patrick said, “What do we really need to teach in the TEKS?” In Discrete Math it is to see computational problems from a mathematical perspective. That is what the computer science version of Discrete Math does.

The article, Why Discrete Math Is Important, explains that because it does not figure prominently on “high-stakes” exams, nor on college admission exams it is often overlooked. Yet, Discrete Math has become increasingly important in recent years. Students who learn a significant quantity of discrete math before entering college are at an advantage when taking undergraduate-level math courses. University of Texas Discrete Math Instructor Dr. Myer believes the Technology Application Discrete Math is a great course for future CS majors. Discrete Math for Computer science is part of their core courses.

  • The mathematics of modern computer science is built on discrete math.
  • It allows students to very quickly explore “real world” problems that are challenging and interesting.

The Technology Application Discrete math course gives our Texas students the opportunity to study this increasingly important area of math and at the same time apply computer science concepts.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, computing occupations in the United States will grow by 21%, or about 800,000 new jobs, which is more than double the growth rate of all occupations in the United States. It is predicted that by 2018, over 71% of the STEM related jobs will be related to computing. However, according to the Texas Department of Labor, only 31% of the job openings in Texas that require computer science degrees can be filled.

With less than 2% of all Texas high school students taking a computer science course for each of the last four years, every effort should be made to enable Texas students to pursue a course of study in computer science. The topics covered in the technology applications version of discrete mathematics provides students with a good understanding of the mathematics that computer scientists use within their work and thus should be included in the curricular offerings for both technology applications and in mathematics.

Thank you for considering this request. I appreciate all you do on behalf of the teachers and students of Texas!

ISTE 2013 in San Antonio

23 06 2013

Ted E. @ ISTE

Ted E. @ ISTE


  1. Computer Science Advocacy K-12–Texas Style
    From lessons to standards, advocating for computer science education is essential. Texas has K-8 computer science programming in math standards, and nine CS courses. Texas HB 5 allows for students to take two courses in computing programming languages as a substitute for two courses in a foreign language. The word “computational” has been added in the phrase “critical and computational thinking.”
  2. SIGCT Forum: Computational Thinking, Cybersecurity, Scratch, Robotics
    The Forum will feature Michael Tempel of the Logo Foundation, and also educators, students and industry volunteers from San Antonio’s Cyber City USA team lead by Cliff Zintgraff. Find out how to infuse the nine core competencies rooted in computer science work in the classroom.
  3. SIGCT STEM Playground
    Visit student robotics teams, cyber security teams and developing CT/CS projects, CS Advocacy, Scratch projects, Logo and small robotics all focused around Computational Thinking.
  4. SIGCT Open House
    The SIG for Computing Teachers advances the practice of teaching computing and computer science in PK–12 education. I am the business officer.
  5. SIGCT Annual Meeting
    We need YOU!! All SIGCT members or those interested in joining are encouraged to attend. Assist in the planning of future activities.


  1. TEAMWORK: Find support groups and friends – you cannot do it alone.
  2. KNOWLEDGE: Read and Research a broad range of topics.
  3. CREDIBILITY: Write and research.
  4. ACTION and HEART: Be a change agent.



  • The BEAR Necessities of Business by Maxine Clark
  • Be Our Guest, Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Michael Eisner
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
  • Oh the Thinks you Can Think by Dr. Seuss
  • Math Monsters Collecting Data, Patterns, and Making Tens by John Burstein


Advocacy and the Law

23 04 2013

The Texas Computer Science Association (TCEA) is taking a lead in advocating for Computer Science and other Technology Application Courses by testifying at the Senate Education Committee hearing: on HB 5. Please support this by writing our Texas Senators.

To be a well-educated citizen as we move toward an ever-more computing-intensive world and to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century, students must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science. – from the ACM/CSTA “Running on Empty” report.

You can code a Green Circle in Red Square

28 02 2013

From the video below Starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg,, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi.

Learn about a new “superpower” that isn’t being taught in in 90% of US schools.

This superpower has been around for decades, the problem is educators keep waiting for Superman. They are looking in the wrong circles. I have been teaching programming for 30 years and know that Everyone can learn to code!! That is if your school introduces you to the world of computer science. Some kids are lucky enough to have friends or parents help them. In Texas there are 9 High School Computer Science courses. Programming is part of the Math TEKS and Technology Application TEKS. My 2005 research data shows that computer programming can increase mastery of algebraic computation skills.

  1. We need champions and change agents!!
  2. Please help make computer science part of the Texas HB5.
  3. Please write your legislators to add:

  • To Foundation High School Program SECTION 5(c-1) (1) add computer science endorsement. :)Added by Committee
  • To SECTIONS 52(b)(1)(B) and 53(b)(1)(B) add to “critical thinking ** and problem solving” *computational thinking*. NOTE: Computational Thinking is critical thinking + computing.
  • Go to and copy and paste this code:

    ;; Examples
    (circle 75 “outline” “green”)
    (rectangle 150 150 “outline” “red”))

    (circle 50 “solid” “green”)
    (rectangle 100 100 “solid” “red”))

    ;; GreenCircleInRedSquare number -> drawing
    ;; Draw a Green Circle inscribed in a Red Square
    (define (GreenCircleInRedSquare radius)
    (circle radius “solid” “green”)
    (rectangle (* radius 2) (* radius 2) “solid” “red”)))

    (GreenCircleInRedSquare 75)
    (GreenCircleInRedSquare 50)

    Please see my video on Programming Graphics and my web 1.0 site for more code.

    I am not alone, as there are many organizations that support CS education including CSTA and NCWIT. I am trying to help locally promote CS Education. More videos on Computational Thinking can be found at

    Teaching programming physically changed my brain by building dendrites that did not exist when I was in high school, thus creating an ability to write and think computationally.

  • We need all teachers, especially elementary school, to be able to think computationally to build C-STEAM researchers and entrepreneurs.
  • We need to reduce the Achievement Gender Effect.
  • We need to CODE FOR TEXAS. Try this computer program in WeScheme too:

  • (define star-side (overlay (star 45 “solid” “white”) (rectangle 100 200 “solid” “navy”)))
    (define stripes-side (above (rectangle 200 100 “solid” “white”) (rectangle 200 100 “solid” “red”)))
    (overlay (rectangle 300 200 “outline” “black”) (beside star-side stripes-side))