May 1, 2013

CSTA Conference Coming Up!

CS13_logo-bigThe 2013 CSTA Annual Conference (click here for conference link) is fast approaching. This lively get-together provides professional development opportunities for K-12 computer science and computer applications teachers who need practical, relevant information to help them prepare students for the future.

Here are some details you’ll want to know:

Dates: July 15-16, 2013
Location: Quincy, Massachusetts, USA

Conference Hashtag: #CSTA13

Important Dates:

Registration: Opens February 25th, 2013
Registration: Closes June 16, 2013
Housing: Opens February 1st, 2013
Housing: Closes June 10, 2013

July 15: Hands-on Workshops
July 16: Keynotes and Breakouts

I confess–this will be my first year attending and I don’t know what to expect. So, I asked my good efriend, Patrice Gans, teacher/Library-Media Specialist at Fraser-Woods School in Connecticut, Connecticut Educators Computer Association Chair, and CSTA K8 Task Force Chair, if she could share her thoughts on this stellar conference:

This past March, I had the good fortune to attend my first SIGCSE conference (Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education). Dr. Margolis, a senior researcher at Center X in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA, presented the closing keynote address. In her address, Professor Margolis affirmed that computer science (CS) education is essential for all students and that early exposure is key. I knew that, as a K-8 computer science educator, my role was more important than ever. Validation that a CS education needs to start pre-college, and that K-8 teachers are an important part of the discussion, is gradually gaining support. But in order for K-8 teachers, or for that matter, any teacher, to be successful, proper professional development is essential.

To create quality lessons, computer science teachers can obtain training and access to professional learning communities by joining an organization that focuses on computer science education. CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) does just that.

CSTA, under the auspices of the Association for Computing Machinery, was founded in 2005 with the primary goal of promoting the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. Over the years, CSTA has helped to build a strong educational community united behind the goal of supporting and improving computer science education at all levels.

Research shows teachers’ participation in a professional community provides them with important knowledge and psychological support. (Inos & Quigley, 1995). On a more personal level members in CSTA offers individual teachers:

  • a strong community of computer science educators who share their knowledge.
  • advocacy at all levels for a comprehensive computer science curricula.
  • a say in the development of critical policies concerning computer science curriculum, standards, and certification.
  • preferred access to vital professional development opportunities, such as national symposia and workshops.
  • access to more relevant resources, including instructional materials.
  • access to cutting-edge research about current teaching practices and technologies
  • membership in CSTA makes you part of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) family of 80,000 educators, researchers, and professionals world-wide

This coming July 15th and 16th, CSTA will host its annual conference in Quincy Massachusetts, at the Boston Marriott Quincy. This gathering, with topics ranging from pedagogy, curriculum, and equity for students of all ages, along with important developments in mobile applications and robotics, is the ideal opportunity for K-12 computer science and computer applications teachers who need practical, relevant information to help them prepare their students for the future. The event will feature hands-on workshops, break-out sessions, and two amazing keynote speakers, Hadi Patrovi, co-founder of, and Selena Deckelmann. As the co-founder of, Hadi Patrovi’s vision is to fill the world with computer programmers. is a non-profit dedicated to expanding computer programming education. Selena Deckelmann is a woman who knows what it is like to be a woman in high tech. She is a major contributor to (PostgreSQL) [] and a data architect at (Mozilla) [], maker of the Firefox web browser. She speaks internationally about open source, databases and community. Don’t let this wonderful opportunity pass you by. Workshops are filling up fast.

Now is the perfect time to start planning for the next school year. Join CSTA and become part of a community of educational professionals who all share a common goal – computer science education for all. What are you waiting for?

Patrice Gans, Chair CSTA K8 Task Force

Follow me

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for, featured blogger for Technology in Education, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.