Building Computational Thinking Brains … If you care about jobs and the economy, you should care about computer science education…. Computers Control the World. But, who controls the computers? Computer Scientists!
In 2011 Karen North was a 28-year computer science, math, technology systems and business teacher. She is an officer with ISTE SIGCT and is on the CSTA Committee working on K-8 Model Curriculum. She is currently a Technology Specialist at an elementary school in Houston ISD, allowing her the opportunity to put into practice her CS research on the K-5 level. Ms. North began her advocacy for computing in the 1980s programming BASIC, Logo and the T.I. Calculator in math courses. She also sponsored the recycling club at her school and is chair of the education committee for Keep Houston Beautiful. Retired now still advocating for outdoor and computer science education. See her home site www.build-a-brain.com for her on going advocacy.
My friends tell me I talk in circles and they can’t follow me. I explain, that is how my mind thinks. And that makes me even more curious. When I don’t know something I have to find the answer. When I get anxious having to make a decision I can’t stop thinking about all the options.
Decision Making requires curiosity.
Curiosity requires opportunities.
So provide opportunities so children can learn to make decisions.
All I know is I have to breathe. In-out every 5.5 seconds, if I am to do it right.
What question lights your fire?
That is the quest of every teacher. To give you fuel so you know.
A comment by a neighbor that I was not breathing right. Then my dentist looking at my x-ray said you have small nostrils. Fast forward, as it seem we are doing in life, led me to a solution to help me solve my health problems. PE teachers. I was looking on the website to find the name of art teachers in SBISD to send a book by a fabric artist and AAUW-WHC friend. Could not find it, but did see an athletic tab with many choices. My grandson’s life is basketball so posting this to perk his interest in The New Science of a Lost Art. That is a circular idea like many of my posts. So, please enjoy looking around in circles to find which of my ideas you trust. And Breathe …
Zoomed with amazing educators at the CSTA – CS4TX Houston meetup. They are feeling good about the school year and their students. My biggest take-away is the need for 20% innovative time to scale ideas and passions of both teachers and students. A time to debate, research, create common ground and action. I feel my place is to support as needed with tiny tweaks. It is the teachers who know what they need, and sounds like today they feel the start of the school year is looking good. Onward Houston to making CSforAll a reality and scaling Aspirations for young women.
Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Do you know the story of Rose Marie Kennedy? Do you trust the experts who know best for your child’s education? What is it that you have changed your mind about and why? What gives you goose bumps?
Time to debate, research, to create common ground through action. To learn to change your mind and understand why. A place to grow Mr. Rogers and feel goose bumps. Time to build RootsandShoots.
Time to build TRUST …
Quotes from Daniel Boorstin, who I learned about in “The Great Pretender” author of Brain on Fire:
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.
Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.
Attended a Children @ Risk seminar on STEM education where the panelists rated Texas with a “C” including Lucinda Presley from the Innovation Collaborative who is doing great work that needs to be scaled. Question is how to make all schools get an “A” in STEAM. Along with education policy.
Procrastination is the reorganization of priorities.
Why do we wait until disaster hits to do what needs to be done? Houston is so lucky Laura went East. SSPEED Center director said in an article by Lisa Gray, “Though storm surges pose an extraordinary threat to Houston, there is no political will to address them … Bedient sounding resigned said, “I understand the physics, I just don’t understand the politics. Physics is straightforward.”
Students from Bellaire and St John’s high school recently coordinated a Hackathon with the theme Disaster Relief and Response! One organizer was a Houston NCWIT aspirations.org winner who wants to do something NOW to help. See ehack-for-charity.devpost.com/project-gallery for the projects they created in one weekend. Just think what they could do with freedom to innovate. Here are a few of their apps.
Hackathon leader Annie understands we can no longer procrastinate bringing CSforALL skills to every student. A team from ConocoPhilips shared their support as well as many volunteers to encourage students to study computer science, especially girls. They and others know that our future depends on problem solvers in the classroom. And that future depends on the teachers who I fear the best will retire due to stress. We need to do what we can to help them now deal with the politics of education.
The disaster of teachers and students unprepared for online learning could have been weakened if computer science education K12 was part of every school week a decade ago. Like Houston that just avoided a nightmare scenario, we can begin today to prepare our students for the future which we know is changing with AI. To do that requires reinventing the education system and providing time for R&D and conversation based on student’s questions, not test questions.
Find one high school student who you think is a creative thinker and share about NCWIT Aspirations.org. Like ripples in water, if that student encourages 3 of her friends, in 20 iterations, we can reach the divergent thinkers who are being left out of computational thinking skills that every student needs now. And help with the politics by writing those you elect to make this a priority. Most important being your local school board.
Walking Bella today, I went by a house and observed movers, and since I like to talk found out they were moving a piano. I shared my son tunes pianos and guitars and is a music teacher. They said they have to wait two weeks before turning the piano to get acclimated to the new environment. I loved learning something new, and said I wish that music time was required in schools. They smiled. I observed their careful attention to details and problem solving as they were loading the piano. On the continuation of my walk I ran into them again delivering the piano to its new home. I then commented that it is too bad the owners did not move the trucks out of the way so you could get in. They are a nice family, and probably were rushed and did not think about it. But I did note this wasted the workers time. But being understanding they said yes, but it is what is. Didn’t get the picture of the problem as sat on a bench in our future communication area to check and got side-tracked. Started talking to a couple walking by and surprise, surprise, my phone captured what was on my mind.
I see the same thing happening in classrooms, teachers are the workers and every thing should be done to save them time so they have more to give that 1:1 TLC that every child needs. Not being forced into a time scheduled day. I taught on the block schedule, and my son teaches on the block schedule, and I wonder why every secondary school does not move to this. With teaching both F2F and online students at the same time and dealing with attendance and logging in, 90 minute classes every other day make a lot more sense than 45 minute classes every day.
Teachers are the movers who can reinvent the school system. But parents are the ones who need to shake up the system and help the teachers earn time.
Just talked to H-E-B curbside customer service to share a tiny tweak that could make their amazing customer service even better. Being of that vulnerable age, I no longer go F2F to stores. One reason is those who choose not to wear masks for their own personal beliefs not caring about others and their feelings. I noticed a person out of her car helping the attendant load, and not only that pat the worker on the back. I could see this young person was uncomfortable, but not saying anything as she needs her job. So, I called for her. I suggested that a penalty notice be sent saying, that “we observed that you were not following the rules. The third time you do this your privileged of curbside service will be removed.” The customer service person I was talking to then shared how they have this problem in the stores, and when trying to escort customers out, it causes even more problems. But, they are working on solutions. Wendy, also a grandmother, said she would send my suggestion in to the decision makers. I asked her if Wendy would be my champion and follow-up in a month to see if any action happened, and let me know. I ended my conversation with the quote, Do you want an Adventure now or Shall we have our Tea First? – Peter Pan
“No, I am not doing that!” “It is not the best use of my time to empower my students in this knowledge economy.”
Data … Information … Knowledge
Sometimes we have to give up things we love because of safety. That is why I sold a love of my life for the last 20 years, my Mazda Miata. But I did arrange visitation as the adoptive parents have been friends for decades. Just said that to my husband, that he may have to give up his Segway, which he loves. We returned from a walk with Bella where he usually takes his wheelchair as safer for both of us, but the experiment just did not work.
I fear that is going to happen with our creative dedicated teachers that have enough years to retire. But they stay in the classroom because they love their students and teaching. For safety reasons, they may have no choice. And I am concerned about the students who have a teacher who stays for the money they need to survive, but do not have the tech skills to make the adjustment to online education. I know that the block schedule is a better option than the 7 period day. I know there are amazing online engaging lessons. I know that the education system must be reinvented. In this social experiment of opening schools, please give the teachers the freedom to design a new system. And that will take entrepreneurial teachers and students. Which includes the parents and grandparents who have become home-schoolers. Administrators, please use block scheduling to give more time.
First a solution: www.ehackforcharity.org – I am so proud of our NCWIT Aspirations.org young leaders. To think high school students can do this. And second change the environment. All secondary schools should be using block scheduling, with 90 minute classes every other day instead of 45 minutes every day.
TicTok, TicTok … Procrastination is the reorganization of priorities. Time is now to reinvent the education system!! My brain is ticking with Jared’s #CSK8 Podcast with Joyce McCall who seems to have faced same roadblocks as I have the past decades. Valid vs. Invalid information and decision making is our future.
Meeting parent and teacher needs while remaining safe … that is the dilemma. Below are a few PD and online solutions I recommend that I have been part of. But then I watched CBS Sunday Morning 8/2/20 … Email me if you would like to Zoom action ideas. I am always up to a brainstorming conversation on reinventing the education system.
Internet Access was a focus of the Austin based Texas Computer Education System when I first started teaching math and computer science in 1985. That was the start of my political activism which continues today. And this is still a problem … why aren’t the decision makers listening to the teachers who are the direct line to students and parents?
I could get mad at the coffee maker. But instead re-poured my coffee through another filter since it went crooked and coffee grounds were in the pot. That is what schools need – filter problem solvers. That is the systems model I have been writing about since I first started teaching. In fact, I helped a friend with her doctoral these and presented with her at a math conference in 1990 on this. As well as continued to present at TCEA, ISTE and other conferences for decades. What keeps me going are feedback like the one from a teacher who said I was going to change the world with what I was doing after our presentation at a TCEA Conference with my amazing friend Pamela. The linear binary education system is not working, we need a circular education system that includes continuous quality control and feedback.
Now to focus on finishing my favorite show, CBS Sunday morning. Something every teacher needs to start their lessons with to inspire learning. The learning is in the details. So what inspires you to write and blog? Sunday mornings inspires me:
I created this post to prepare for my interview with TED. They contacted me because I shared some recommendations. These were their questions sent to prepare, and added other excellent thinking questions.
That made me feel good… 3 people… great questions. Will be interesting to see where this goes. They even brought up my reviews and asked why I did them. Now motivated to do more. Love conversations not presentations. This is what should happen in classrooms with students. And they were there on-time and ended on-time, 30 minutes. After my interview with TED, I know that this tech Development and Design team researching a community engagement platform, would be the very ones to share a solution to opening up schools.
What did TED pick out for me today? Solutions: Cooperation, Power to negotiate, successful economics are gardens, uses money to change laws … things I have been blogging about to change the education system. Nice!! Thank you AI TED. Action Idea: law having a school garden be part of accountability. COVID is opening up testing funds to go other places. Teachers use your power to negotiate for your students.
AI used by TED know what interests me. Picked this out today, as must have known misquotes were on my mind, and body. This is hands-on research who uses local workers and puts team of young scientists together. That is my goal, to find the bugs in classrooms and give teachers the tools to eradicate them. But to do this, I know I need to be my grandson’s at-home science teacher. And make waves to change the policy to change the education system based on Carnegie Units to problem solving PBL integrated units.
Knowing what to protest by digging down in the misinformation to the science.
My first job was at NASA when I graduated from high school in 1966. That led to an aspiration to apply for the teacher in space program. And continues today as I try to motivate young leaders as a Houston Aspirations.org award coordinator.
What do they do on the ISS?The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.
We need an Integrated Communication Loop in Education too. … Can we get almost all the way up? And create capsule art.
Let this be the start of a new Journey in the Classroom that will change education for All! Thanks for your patience as I push to debug a system that must change the tangled mess I see. The current education system is not working. Time to get Elon Musk type thinkers to make it happen. Where is the control center standing by? Where is Cyber Security?
Women can be the leaders that can design new pathways. What beautiful days full of art and inspiration. Thank you to all!!
So, what is missing in the education system? A lack of quality control and feedback. The busy bee is the quality control agent. We can learn from nature. We can learn from Space. We can learn from the voices not heard!