Day 1 at #CSTA13

The location is the Marriott Hotel and Conference Centre in Quincy, Massachusetts and there are close to 300 Computer Science educators from around the world gathered for two days of unique and intense learning opportunities devoted exclusively to the discipline.  If you’re a Computer Science teacher, this is absolutely the place to be.

Check out the day’s agenda here.

Day one was actually a great deal of work for me.  This day is devoted to three hour workshops and my role on the committee was to serve as workshop chair.  So, I was on my horse continually visiting the rooms especially before the sessions started making sure that the presenters were all set.  As to be expected, there were some last minute gotchas.  Needed post it notes, tape, ability to connect a laptop into the audio system in the room, problems connecting to the data projector, and extra display tables needed to be brought into rooms.  Happily, nothing was insurmountable and everyone did a great job.  As could be predicted, internet access in a hotel had its own challenges.  Fortunately, we managed to encourage people to limit themselves to one device and that seemed to make a big difference.

Twitter messages from the day can be enjoyed here.

I didn’t count but I’m sure that Alfred Thompson was the most prolific content generator.


The conference was well documented by Peter Beens’ camera and abilities.  He’s shared his work on his Google Plus page.

I did get a chance to sit into a couple of sessions that interested me for a few minutes.  I really enjoyed Tom Lauwers’ session on robotics and programming with Finch, Hummingbird, and Snap in the morning.  In the afternoon, it was watching folks learn about Greenfoot with Neil Brown and Stephanie Hoeppner.  Of course, I saw bits and pieces of all of the sessions – it was great to see discussions about HTML5, App Inventor, Computing Thinking, and more.

The day culminated in a bus trip.  We headed to the Microsoft North East Research and Development Centre for a reception hosted by Microsoft.  We circulated through demonstrations of various Computer Science related stations featuring Visual Basic and TouchDevelop and were greeted by very friendly Microsoft employees and the mayor of Cambridge.  It was somber when we heard that there were thousands of jobs unfilled at Microsoft alone due to a lack of applications.  For those in Computer Science, this is a real call to action.  Why isn’t at least one course compulsory for graduation?

The view of the Charles River from the 11th floor room was spectacular.  Lots of boats and rowers made for some great pictures.


You had to be there!  It would have been nice to have got a lot closer to the get a better view.  Alas, time was not on our side and a couple hours later, we were back to the hotel where a few of us proposed solutions for all of the ills of the world.

It was a great Day One.  Looking forward to Day Two…


OTR Links 07/17/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.