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.

Technology Curiosity Museum

On display at Spring Branch Middle School during CS Education Week Dec. 6-12th.

Why a Technology Curiosity Museum? To inspire a student to ask questions. It is touch and explore to motivate you to learn more. In middle school Michael Dell saw a teletype machine that inspired him to learn about computing.  Hopefully students will see something in this museum that sparks their interest.

Michael Dell is a 1983 graduate of our SBISD Memorial High School. At the age of 15, he purchased an early Apple computer to take it apart to see how it worked. He helped launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with the creation of the Dell Computer Corporation. Learn more about how he did it from this interview. 

I too am a 1966 graduate of MHS, my brother graduated in 1965 and my grandson will graduate this year. My brother, like Michael Dell was an entrepreneur. The computers in this museum are from my brother’s Computer Base stores started after writing software for his construction business in 1970s. Learn more about Jim Kerver at the Coffee Shack in Hawaii, his current venture.

How has computer memory and input devices changed over time?

1977 Apple starts. Being able to have a computer in my classroom to program in Logo and Basic was my inspiration to become a computer science and math teacher.  Keypunch cards are from 1968 when I programmed a mainframe at the University of Texas. The exhibit includes historical software, peripherals, and these computers:

  • 1983 Apple IIE – 5 1/4 inch floppy disk
  • 1984 Apple IIC – 5 1/4 inch floppy and 3.5 inch floppy disk
  • 1984 Mac – 3.5 inch floppy disk
  • 1998 IMac – CD Drive
  • 2001 IPod and IDog
  • 2007 Iphone
  • 2010 MacBook (Pick this up to feel the weight.)
  • Software, the instructions inside all computers.

One key to future success will be your ability to understand and innovate to create solutions. That is why you should learn about computer science!!

Can you create a Timeline about your past and future computer history?


History of Computing

Your Career, Your Future! May 2015 SBMS Presentation
My history began when my children were in elementary school. Today they are a math teacher, a music teacher, and a magazine editor. My grandchildren are in Kindergarten, 6th grade, 10th grade and 12th grade. My brother was in construction and wrote software to run his business.  No computer store in town, he started one.  That is where my father’s first computer came to his house and mine.  My other brother was a programmer.  Stories need to be told. Classroom teachers are heroes.  Please write a thank you note to a teacher from your past, as storytelling is your superpower.

What inspires kids now?

A little history – note the dates when created:



Jonathan Blaze Harker

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
When you’re 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet.
When you’re 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million. At 52, the Korean War starts and five million perish.
At 64 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for many years. Four million people die in that conflict. Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.
As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above.
Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through this. In the history of the world, there has never been a storm that lasted. This too, shall pass.


A trip to the original “Mayberry”

Babbling on … I do that when I see a neighbor or hear from a friend.  For me it is brainstorming.  Afterwards sometimes on second thought, I regret what I said.  I fear it was perceived differently from what I meant.  What is the secret language with people – trees have a secret language.

Babbling on is a quote from Chapter 7 “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” our October 2021 AAUW book for conversation.  … adventure and curiosity … war … building things together.

Friends, when I babble on, please let me know.  I am working on tolerance and patience and I need to know what you think as that is the best way to learn and grow from our differences.  Help me to pause, breathe and listen as I do tend to go on, and on.

Thank you!!


What do I want?

Music and Flowers on my Pathways

WANT: I ran into 4 angels today on my Bella walk pathway.  Now I can share the answer.  I want to be able to live by myself when I am 90 and not be a burden to my children and grandchildren. Asked a friend and she said, “I want to be able to sleep all night.”  I did a high-five as I do too.

OBSTACLE Roadblock:  Listened to Brene’ Brown. Watched a Masterclass on sleep and one solution is to write down worries.  Stress trying to do too much. Trying to decide if my times goes into free discussion or if I should censor my voice. My problem is I act on too many ideas, I do open my mouth. But then maybe that is what I want, to have fun sharing my ideas and find little steps I can help others where needed.

NEED: Educated voters!  Listening to 21 Lessons for the 21st century that inspired me to going to continue on my quest get laws in place.  We can ask these excellent questions form Chapter 7 and start the discussion in high school classrooms.

  1. If you are elected what actions will you take to lessen the risk of nuclear war?
  2. If you are elected what actions will you take to lessen the risk of climate change?
  3. If you are elected what actions will you take to lessen the risk of disruptive technologies such as AI and bio-engineering?
  4. How do you see the world of 2040?  What is your worst case scenario or vision for best case scenario?

“If the politicians don’t understand the questions, or talk about the past instead of vision for the future, don’t vote for them.” – Why not use 5 simple words instead? I don’t agree with some of the ideas in this book such as the Post-Truth and Science Fiction chapters. Would love to have a chat about this.

NEED: Inventors and Entrepreneurs





  • If 1% can change the name of the Indians to the Guardians in my father’s place of birth, 1% can change the education system. Will the cost of doing that be worth the time and money?  What if those same resources were put into education instead? We can all learn from the Indians as their culture is the best. It should be an honor to be called an Indian!!!
  • By adding Oxycontin …


Paul Castro said every random act helps. #RAKDavid

“All of those things are making the world better. And those are the things that give us the energy and the strength to face the next day. It is impossible to explain to anyone what it’s like to lose a child. I don’t know where we would be without the support of our friends and family, and really, strangers.”

‘Love is greater than hate’ | David Castro’s father calls for kindness after deadly road rage shooting


Here are a few RAKs:

  • I spread the word about #RAKDavid at the Memorial Villages Farmers Market as I introduced Stephanie to my Plant-it-Forward farmer and other entrepreneurs . Met her at a UNICEF CFCI assessment workshop she was facilitating where safety was one of the questions.  Met a family with their young daughter moving back to Annapolis shared the message with their father.
  • I picked up a dog mess that was left on a pathway I walk daily. In the past I went by angry, especially when I almost stepped in it. I shared this idea with a teenager who was helping her little brother explore tadpoles. Said maybe they didn’t have a bag as I have experienced that problem or didn’t realize their dog went. As we chatted, she said she was interested in scaling the acts of kindness. Said she was in the Red Cross Club at Memorial High School where my grandson attends and I graduated. I said I would help. Maybe this can help other students be the best dude around and aspire to be like David.
  • Thank you Paul for inspiring me to make the world a better place.  Watching the launch today inspired me to call a teacher I know about a project Idea that connects to our passions. Hoping that chatting can help her through a difficult time. That was my RAK, to take time to see how she was doing and share an idea. She is now going to do the same thing and call another teacher to help her. We chatted about suggesting to Bezos to take a teacher up in the Blue Origin.  Amazon is already one of their school partners with the https://www.amazonfutureengineer.com/ program. Who knows, maybe a teacher at WHS could be the one to go and take music memories of David.
  • What I know I can do is scale my work from decades ago with friends who are still scaling education with Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. and The Last Mile Education Fund.

I am on the watch to give a helping hand when I can and share my ideas. And hope David’s memory grows kindness.

Searched the word “KINDNESS” on Ted.com and this 2009 talk was first. Researched Jonathan Zittrain and discovered he is a professor at Harvard. This is where one of our NCWIT AiC winners is going to go. Then saw he is looking for a research assistant. What a connection to make. The award application asks “Describe a problem that you would like TO SOLVE using technology and explain HOW you would solve it.” I would like to add:

  • “How can you spread kindness using technology?
  • How can technology help prevent road rage?
  • How can you help teachers deal with anger management in the classroom?

Please help me answer my questions as a computer science teacher since 1985 who had an Internet connection in her classroom since the beginning. The administration did not trust teachers to have a telephone in their classroom. I asked for an Internet connection and modem to hook up to an Apple IIE. So I got a telephone in my classroom and teachers asked me how I got one when they didn’t have one.

  • Do grades and testing build the empathy need to be kind?
  • Is the competitiveness of classroom increasing anger for those being left behind?
  • How can the competitiveness of sports build kindness?
  • Does it need to be a priority for the current 20th century school systems need to finally make that paradigm shift to the 21st? That is what Paul is building through his work.
  • Are schools teaching the history of kindness?

My goal is to learn to be a better listen!  Sit on a bench and offer RAKs as needed.  To listen to the benches in social media.

Here is one of my brainstorms for #RAKDavid, but never felt right to add so storing here as a way to share with those who build future engineers.

Watching the launch today inspired me to call a teacher I know about a project Idea that connects to our passions. Hoping that chatting can help her through a difficult time. That was my RAK, to take time to share an idea and she is now going to do the same thing . We chatted about suggesting to Bezos to take a teacher up in the Blue Origin.  Amazon is already a partner with the https://www.amazonfutureengineer.com/middle-high-school program in their schools.

What do you think?  Testosterone vs Oxycontin challenge?

Houston Prep

July 14, 2021 – Houston Prep presentation on Zoom after years of F2F.

Brain Break – Dancing with the Bees.

I am a teacher.
I love creating and sharing lessons.
But most, I enjoy talking to students and seeing what they create.

I use EPL methodology created by Ridley Scott. That means, go with the flow. Plan as you go based on current events and the audience questions. When it snowed I took my students outside to taste the snowflakes and cancelled my lesson plan. We researched snowflakes and created digital art instead of the scheduled activity. Please ask questions to go down your pathway!!

Environmental Planning 4 Learning is our future paradigm shift classroom, I hope.  Are we Frozen in time? Do you think you might want to be a teacher? My first job was as at a brokerage firm analyzing markets. After 3 children attended a career interest course and it pointed to being a teacher. Best decision I ever made.

  1. Who am I?
    1. Resume through the years
    2. White House Champion of Change for CS Education
  2. What are my values?
    1. Your values are your quality control.
    2. Brene BrownDo you Dare to Lead?
    3. Activity to discover yours
  3. Where do you spend your time?
    1. Learning to solve problem in Technology Systems
    2. Furled through Time Poem
  4. ACTION:
    1. Speak up – today’s nanny story
    2. Create a Business Card – my 4th card below
    3. Create a Website
      1. Research ideas – tweet to @TedE4CS your scavenger hunt find
      2. Post your values
      3. Please tweet your URL or talk to me
    4. Find an Internship – I am looking for interns.
    5. Invite Feedback
      1. 2021 Talent Show

“Poppy” Northcutt

Frances “Poppy” Northcutt

Frances “Poppy” Northcutt is a Texas attorney who began her career as a “computress” and then an engineer for the technical staff on NASA’s Apollo Program during the space race. During the Apollo 8 mission, she became the first female engineer to work in NASA’s Mission Control.

“… one-time rocket scientist, some-time lawyer, and full-time feminist.”

American Association of University Women -West Harris County

Keynote Luncheon Presentation June 21, 2021

Returning to Earth – My Journey from Moon Missions to
Women’s Rights Advocacy

… Loud Mouth, Warrior, unusual cases, refugees, proof, Africa, realities of the world … So … what do you think?

Rocket Scientist … Computress

… Hidden Figures, Code Breaking, Women’s Studies, 954 Wage Laws, Promotion, Technical Staff, Team Work Advocates, Progressive Contractor Advocate, Who is best? …  Does this bring to mind anything on this blog site?


Stereotypes, STEM Program Expanding Your Horizons Valuable, Equal Pay, $7 million, Custom Yoga Pants, Secure Future, Discrimination, Lucky One – Why Involved in Women’s Rights, AAUW Great History, Equal Rights, Equal Pay Act failed by one vote this week, Violence Against Women Act still unfunded, Speed Dial Congressman, text with resist.bot, Voter Registrar, … Do you think being an educated voter should be a priority?

… Backward with computer science, dropped in 1/2, why? as money goes up women go down. You can register people in high school, do something where earn a living, need role models, that is what women do, if teaches a women to read will teach her child, her husband, her parents. If teach a man stops there … 

Poppy is an inspiring champion of change!.  Our next steps for AAUW-WHC can be heard at our New Member Coffee on August 28, 2021 … Please let us know if you would like to join our group of WISE Leaders.

Small Wins

Keystone Habits … Safety … Mindset … Quality Control …

My current listen to book while gardening – best place to have small wins when a flower grow. To grow minds education’s focus should be on quality control and feedback giving the opportunity for learners to share their small wins. For me it’s about the tiny tweak change agents. I found one of the best which comes next.

Now that was fun …

…. What was fun?

…………Having a Great Day in Houston Cleaning.

Listening to story telling from the heart with Debra Duncan as she connects the dots :))

If you would like to find out why Debra came to sit in my kitchen having a conversation with me, you will just have to log onto Great Day Houston.

Now to ingrain the habit of keeping my house clean as if there was a party happening. So, let’s party everyday. Keep the small wins going.

And the smiles continued …

… with this video from my daughter who arranged for my carpet to be cleaned.

Want to be part of creating small wins for you youth?

Debra Duncan

Had a fun day watching the filming by Great Day Houston.

While J.J. Zavalla the Producer was capturing footage, I had an opportunity to chat with Debra Duncan. One takeaway was the suggestion of laying water lines when the oil companies laid pipe lines.  My 12 grade grandson Gage knew her son from the after school program at Idea Lab where he learned to code Mindcraft.