About knorth

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.

The new space

Design your habitat – Where will you be in the future?

How amazing was today! #LaunchAmerica

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.

Today was also the NCWIT 2020 National Award Ceremony.  The keynote conversation with Ruthe Farmer and Limor Fried was powerful, like the Falcon that launched a new future. Limor Fried asked, How will you use the power you have?  And this boost was continued with the voices of 4 inspirational aspirations.org winners! 

My boost was fueled when I was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education.  Ruthe was also a Champion of Change and the power behind recruiting me to start the Aspirations program in Houston a decade ago. Please use your powers to design a space for you and my grandchildren. Oh, the places we will go!  … Launch2020


My questions perked by #LaunchAmerica:

Search the space of Internet to find your own answers –
Knowledge is answers to questions.

Accountability for schools should be based on the questions students ask.
Not worksheet questions created by others.

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!

The Bees Care and need you help!

A Different Way

Hindsight is 2020

A different way of using your voice …

“Stand still and wait until the way forward is clear.” – How long should I wait? Maybe going to Julie’s Library with my 4 year old granddaughter might help me find the right pathway.

… Finding that pathway for my voice by researching positive role models like Bill Gates.  And teaching teachers about the importance of learning about data science and quackery.  In other words, learning if information is valid or invalid. Changing the model of competitive education into collaborative.  Adding more librarians and counselors who can support students in research and building new passions and interests.  Maybe that just might be finding new pathways for health.  And that health includes our trees. Encouraging our youth to grow vegetables instead of choosing screen “candy” with this new found time. Our future depends on changing the system of education by finding a different way.

How to get ready?

2015 – We are not ready …


2020 – We still are not ready … tools?

Tiny Tweaks

Tweaking the EES and making it Essy.
  The trEES and the bEES + You

What can we do for our neighbors, our community?

What ask can we give instead?

 What happens when private interests take priority? We can learn from Sonia Shah and her book Pandemic. We must decompose COVID19. We can “touch” our friends, families and neighbors. Friends we choose, families and neighbors, I say be a scientist, not a politician. Be a leader!

I am so thankful I have a large network of online friends and my F2F friends who touch base virtually. Susan just shared her tweak for the day, a new Rosie book.

What pockets of control can you lead? What is in your heart? Share your TP? Questions from TED Conversations … Connections we need created rapidly by experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom.


Sent this to my son a math teacher in London:  knorth.edublogs.org/research/flu/ – maybe you can get your students on this computational modeling. Team with your CS teacher. Especially now that your royalty have the virus.  It really is going to take all of us finding tiny tweaks.  Focus on the Bugs, not the Budget. What is the profit motivation? An idea: Success is Something to Sneeze at– Influenze and the Super Bowl.


HOW – Build on Chris Anderson’s Tiny Tweaks.


  • How can we all pay it forward? Changing the way business is done… conviction to do what he believes is right, even if it’s unpopular. Mission to create a world where values-based companies reshape the economy, so business stops being about making the most money possible. Dan believes it’s not about doing business as usual anymore, but doing business better. His employees paid-it-back by offering to work for free.
  • What happened to finance education and only borrowing for needs.  And not living from pay-check to pay-check.

Social Distancing

WHY … It is a game of probabilities

“We MUST flatten the curve!
COVID-19 is scariest disease we have seen!!
We need bolder thinking – channel your inner mathematician!!!”


Shared by the experts … Computer Science Teachers Association – Like myself, many of us have been teaching online for decades. The video by BrainPops is informative for all ages.

WHY we must spread the motivation:

Bella is slowly learning social distancing. My house may not look good, as I have put up gates in order to survive puppy-hood.  I have gone through numerous trainers.  One who said she need behavior therapy and medication and told me to only listen to him.  I decided as the parent, I must discover what works.  And this virus reinforced the 3 basics: attention, exercise and consistent discipline.  I occasionally gave her an inch and let her say hi and then she took a mile.  No more … until she learns manners I realized her problem was my mistake in training. This AED is the same advice I give (as a grandparent hoping you want my advice) to parents who are new to the world of home-schooling.  Have fun … do some virtual Houston Children’s Museum activities everyday. And how about traveling with John Hartman. Or go to the Robotarium. Take an amazing University online course. Lets have a Dance Party!

It's all about Tiny Tweaks!

The Virus

Gives us a moment of silence

40 years … that is how long I have been teaching online.  How do I help teachers who are new to this world?  Pick a theme that connects your school and community.

How? Start with a lesson where parents and students watch CBS Sunday Morning 40th Anniversary together. Find one thing that speaks to your mind, your heart and post.  Find one thing that connects to your curriculum to share with your learners.  Inspire them to do the same thing. Next learn from the past and have a Do-Day with a little history.  – We need our armies engaged.

March 15th, the day my granddaughter turns four.  Where I am celebrating this day with her virtually. Made this video of her first year, such fun memories, and stories as she grows.



Both nature-made and man-made. 
That is why we need our NCWIT Aspirations.org problem solvers.


Our Houston Affiliate Aspirations Award event scheduled for Feb. 29th was cancelled than rescheduled.  Schools in Houston including UHD was closed Friday due to a water main break.  Then we were notified we could hold our event.  So, I had the privilege of announcing our Energy Day Academic Award winners who will receive a cash prize on Energy Day October 17, 2020.

Future awards competitions include the Energy Day Festival art and Media contest. I would like to encourage all our 156 Aspiration applicants to apply and share your solutions for the future.  Solutions to help repair our decaying infrastructure like our water pipes.  Solutions to build brains for the future – like our Aspirations winner from UH.

How do we stitch together all these beautiful piece of our future?

How do we find our Hidden Figures and grow our Rosies?


As I was walking Miss (Mistake) Bella I realized I needed to focus.  Multi-taking is not working.  When I was not watching she peed on her lease.  When I got home her new name was Amazing Bella as she walked and listened so good.  I ran into a neighbor who has been collaborating with me on computer science education in Spring Branch ISD for years, and Bella sat and waited patiently as I ran my mouth.  I shared SBISD was working a district strategic plan and asked if she wanted to go with me to meet with the community outreach coordinator.  Alas, she is swamped with her 4 kids and Odyssey of the Minds and said this summer maybe we can get back advocacy work. I shared an observation I made on the construction of a house close to her.  They put in a single gate to their backyard and I regret not suggesting they put in a double-wide, as this was a mistake I made on my house.

I fear school choice is a mistake that needs to be addressed before it is too late.  All schools need to create a home-schooling atmosphere with maker-space time.  And community service needs to be required for graduation.  As I am reviewing problems our 156 Houston area Aspirations applicants want to solve, I know these students are the solution we are looking for.  That and all the other young adults who see problems and want to help, if only they had the time.  About half the students wanted to solve Social or Health problems.  The other half were concerned with education, Environmental, Engineering, Economic and Cyber Security issues. Very few were interested in energy or politics. We need small talk time in every classroom for students to brainstorm.

There is too much I want to say and blogging in circles.  So if you see an action items you can implement to change the school system, please leave a comment.  Or better yet walk in to the closest school and volunteer to mentor a teacher. One thing I know is Together is Better.  The action lies with the teachers. That is my focus, helping teachers teach.  At least those who have the time to ask for help.  So that moves my focus to monitoring educational laws. And speaking up when I know as a 25 year classroom teacher, and still volunteering in the classroom, policy makers just don’t get it.

So back to my focus areas.  “They” say if you write it down more likely to happen.

  1. My family:  Sons who are both teachers, one of HS math and other college music. My daughter, a mother and school volunteer.  Grandchildren, 16, 13, 10, 4 years old. … Education.
  2. Health:  Cooking, gardening, exercising  … “green” solutions.
  3. Do what brings me joylearning, writing, creating, time with friends.

Inspirational videos that have solutions to inspire:

And History that needs to be heard:



My greatest curiosity is YOU. 
Young … Old … Unique
The Young and the Old.


Creative Play does not happen in 2D and that includes worksheets. Play is required to build curiosity. Watch James Taylor’s story and think of his sun. 2-02-2020 CBS Sunday Morning. Look at how all the animals get along on their Moment in Nature. Let’s all Plant a Seed of Kindness.

Book by Kadir Nelson

Increasing Women in CS

 2020 SCRIPT Symposium hosted by
University of North Texas Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Breakout Discussion on Increasing Women in CS

WHY? WHAT? HOW? – Where do you want to start?
Knowledge is answers to questions – Quintilian


Lessons / Ideas:

More thoughts:

  • Scale the networking – best part listening to other passionate educators.  Looking forward to seeing their stories.  Hope to see action partnerships with NCWIT, Code.org, CSTA and the ISTE CSN as we all have similar goals.

Creative Play does not happen in 2D and that includes worksheets.  Play is required to build curiosity. Watch James Taylor’s story and think of his sun. 2-02-2020 CBS Sunday Morning.  Look at how all the animals get along on their Moment in Nature. Let’s all Plant a Seed of Kindness.