Call for Proposals: Annual CSTA Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium

CS&IT 2011 — Call for Proposals: Annual CSTA Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) invites you to participate in the 11th Annual Computer Science & Information Technology Conference. This event will be held July 11-13, 2011, in New York, NY.

The CS&IT 2011 Program Committee seeks proposal submissions related to the practice of teaching and learning computer science and information technology in K-12. Proposals will be accepted for one-hour presentations or panels or for three-hour workshops.

The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2011. Review of proposals will occur shortly thereafter and notification of decision will be made on or about March 1, 2011. Successful proposers should expect to be asked to submit a reasonably final copy by June 20 so as to minimize any last minute complications.

We desire a varied program of interest to all teachers of computing in K-12 education. All submission will be evaluated on the following criteria:
· technical quality,
· writing and presentation,
· relevance to CS&IT (focus on K-12 computer science or information technology).

Proposers are required to:
· identify all presenters
· provide an overview of the session
· describe the intended audience (level, knowledge, …)
· indicate session activity in sufficient detail for an informed decision
· discuss presenter background and presentation experience

All proposals will be submitted through the online symposium submission system that can be found at:

If you encounter a problem, contact Duncan Buell at:

Presenters at the Symposium will have the use of a computer projector and screen. Proposers should describe any unusual infrastructure, A/V equipment, or lab facility needed; it may be possible to accommodate such requests but this cannot be guaranteed.

Additional conference details can be found at:

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to your attendance at the symposium.

CS&IT 2011 is generously sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute, Google, and Microsoft Research.

Chris Stephenson,
Josh Block,
Duncan Buell,
Doug Peterson,
Philip East,
Betsy Frederick,
Dave Reed,

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Will #RCAC2010 Make a Difference?

It’s the Saturday following the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Symposium 2010.  Over 400 people jammed the meeting rooms at the Lamplighter Inn.  Many more followed the hashtag #RCAC2010 online as the event unfolded.  Many others may have stumbled on the stream by accident or go looking for the comments this weekend.  For the day, the stream was very active during Symposium and was seen to be trending on Twitter.

We engaged some of the brightest minds in education that we could.  In this case, we had a pair of notable global keynote speaker/authors and many progressive educators from the Western Ontario region sharing their visions and best practices.  As one of the members of the organizing committee, I’ve always wondered about the impact that attendance at any of these sessions  might have had.  Every attempt has been made to make the day conducive for focussed learning.  Yes, there is technology theme to the day but the use of technology is minimalized so that the day is all about ideas and hopefully some thoughtful planning for the future.

To that end, I ask…

  • What will you do to manage the explosion of information and the advancement of technological innovation that Moore’s Law describes?
  • Do you have a plan for technology being a fluency in your school or is the computer lab an event that everyone books to do computer stuff that may not be related to anything else that’s happening in the day?
  • Will you advocate or plan for increasing the use of portable technology at the point of instruction?  Can your students use their own devices?  What is a computer anyway by today’s standards?
  • Are you going to take some time to explore the titles that OSAPAC licenses to see if there’s a fit to your curriculum?  Will you lobby your system to get things installed correctly and made available in a timely manner?
  • Are you ready to really leverage the Read/Write web and harvest the potential?  Does your class or school have a Facebook or other social media presence?  How does your class network and interface with the world outside your classroom walls?
  • If you’re a principal, are you ready to break down the isolation that can be your school to network and grow professionally with others in your position worldwide?
  • How will your students deal with the concept of Infowhelm?  Is an “I’m feeling lucky” search going to suffice?  Or, will you turn instead to the rich resources that Knowledge Ontario is amassing to make the online experience the best learning experience that it can be?
  • Is a pen just a pen?  Are you ready to embrace and advocate for new technologies that free students from the drudgery of making yet another note and, instead, turning the process into one of deeper understanding with a more level playing field for all?
  • What sorts of Habitudes do you and your students need to be successful a year, 5 years, 10 years from now?  Have you assembled your dream team yet?  How can you make sure that genius is never educationally beat out of your students?
  • Do you use technology for technology’s sake?  Or, are you leveraging it with curriculum expectations for a richer experience?
  • Can you justify exposing the contemporary digital mind to an educational career devoted to the analogue learnings of the past?
  • Can you step back and make the connections so that students become the lead learners in their own right?  When was the last time that you partnered with others who are ready to share what they know and you don’t but wish you did?  Can secondary school real life experience model citizenship for younger students?
  • Are you able to put aside pre-conceived notions about what a piece of software was and look at what’s new and available right now?
  • Is your interactive whiteboard a 21st Century Drive-in Movie theatre or is it a tool for engagement like no other?  Can it be a literacy tool or just an expensive place to display movies?
  • Are you prepared to access the wisdom of a province and rich resources that can help you stop reinventing the wheel when dealing with new topics.  Can you accept that great resources don’t always come printed on the pages of a textbook or teacher’s manual?

Probably the biggest question would be – is #RCAC2010 a hashtag for December 9?  Or is it the catalyst for a continued, professional discussion?   I blogged recently, Are You Passionate for Professional Learning? Instead of a day that’s done, can this be a launching pad for things that are new and exciting?  If you’re not connected now, will this be your personal tipping point?  Can you tip your school?  If you are connected, are you ready to really make this discussion a part of your professional arsenal?

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Coming Together #RCAC2010

Sometimes when you plan an event, real life just gets in the road.  In a few short hours, the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Symposium 2010 event will take place.  As a planner for this annual event, there always seems to be something just around the corner that seems poised to make the wheels wobble and potentially derail things.

This year was particularly eventful.

As you post the program and open registration, that little voice in the back of your mind always asks the question “What happens if you throw a party and nobody comes?”  But, it’s a credit to the educators in South Western Ontario that over 400 folks eventually registered and will join together in a great day of learning.

Along the way, things just kept popping up that make you question whether we’re able to go ahead.

Weather – Not only is this always a concern when you hold a conference in December, but this year was particularly eventful in London, Middlesex County, Oxford County, Huron County, and Perth County.  But, a window opened and people started to descend upon London yesterday.

Flight Cancellations – It’s such a short distance between Detroit and London.  It’s just a quick up and down when you’re in an airplane!  However, you can’t finish if you can’t start.  Thanks to some brainstorming and a cell phone conversation, alternative travel plans are made and a shuttle trip solves the situation.

Getting into the Country – Our borders are secure.  But, it did take a whack of phone calls, and a fax from school to convince the agents that we had room for one more person on December 9.

Getting airflight times correct – Even though London International Airport is small by Pearson International standards, there are multiple arrivals from Canadian airports.  My partner in this learned the importance of getting the times right.  Airports are such fun places to kill some time!

USB Memory Keys – Everyone loves to go paperless and resources on a memory key seems like such an easy thing to do until the realization that someone has to open 420 packages and copy the content 420 times.  Paper doesn’t look so bad anymore.

In the end, it does all come together.  A nice late supper had the committee and the best part is the opportunity to talk and learn with each other as it happens.

Me with Angela Maiers – thanks, @Ron_Mill

Ian Jukes, Ron Millar and Andy Forgrave – thanks, my HTC Legend

When I hit the hay last night, all seemed to be coming together nicely.  It’s always awesome to have a great committee and great friends to help pull it all together.

The audience will be full of very active, and I mean very active, Ontario Educators.  Even in the picture above, @aforgrave is getting a jump on the action!  If you’re not able to join us in London or you do join us and feel like you’re missing something, track the event using the Twitter Hashtag #RCAC2010

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Western RCAC Symposium 2010

Every year, the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee hosts a one day Symposium of teaching with technology for leaders in the South Western Ontario Region of Ontario.  The plans have been finalized and we’re looking forward to the day and welcoming ~400 principals and educational leaders on Thursday, December 9.


The venue is again the beautiful Lamplighter Inn in London, Ontario.  The events of the day include a couple of external perspectives through keynote addresses and then breakout sessions highlighting some of the great things that are happening in schools from Windsor to Waterloo; St. Thomas to Owen Sound.

Keynote addresses this year will focus on our students.  Ian Jukes (@ijukes) will explain why today’s students are not the children that our current schools are designed for and will offer suggestions about how to address this.  And, Angela Maeirs (@angelamaiers) will help us understand the “Habitudes” of a 21st Century Learner so that the table can be set for success for them.

Breakout sessions will provide ideas for motivation and leadership for schools showing actual practice in Ontario.

  • Literacy is not Enough; 21 Century Fluency for the Digital Age
  • iPad in the Classroom
  • Tapping into Your Curiosity, Imagination, and Expertise
  • Facebook in Waterloo Classrooms
  • A Personal Learning Network for Principals
  • Knowledge Ontario Update
  • Live Scribe Pens in the Classroom TPAC Project
  • Getting it Right: Aligning Technology Initiatives for Measurable Student Results
  • Young Minds, Digital Times
  • Getting Along Digitally – WECDSB Peer–Led Electronics Awareness Program
  • The Writing Process and Assessment with
  • Read Alouds and the Interactive Whiteboard
  • Have you seen the OERB lately?

We are excited by the program this year and know that the audience for the day will leave inspired and motivated.  Registration is now open and complete details about the day are available on the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee website.

What to do now?

This year, more than ever, there was so much followup discussion following the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Symposium.

I must admit that I’m taken aback by the tone of some of the comments,  There are comments like “I doubt that things will change” and “Here are reasons why it won’t work” and “I’m concerned about equity” and “It’s all the Technical Department’s” fault and probably more than what I know about.

I think of this powerful quote.  A good friend of mine uses it as the default tagline on all of her messages.

“Our task is to provide an education for the kind of kids we have… Not the kind of kids we used to have… Or want to have… Or the kids that exist in our dreams.”  Mary Kay Utecht

It’s not a big leap to translate “kids” to “technology” and “connectivity” and “access”.

As educators, we face challenges every single day.  Many of these challenges are imposed from the outside and there’s not always things that we can do about it.  But, we need to embrace and take charge of those things that we can’t challenge.  I truly hope that the discussion was meant to be sensational and spark some conversation.  I hope that folks aren’t going to roll over and say “We can’t do it because things aren’t right…”

Things will never be right.  Things will never be perfect for all people.

There are challenges all over the place.  Yes, I get frustrated that I can’t just hop onto Google Images when I need an image for a presentation or a document.  But, you know what…there are plenty of other sources for images that are available to me.

I hope desperately that the comments are borne in the desire to do the very best that we can and that there is optimistic hope that we’re moving in the right direction.  Things in education can be slow to move but they are moving.  I found out recently that the Ontario Mathematics teachers will soon have professional development surrounding Web 2.0 technologies in the Intermediate Years’ mathematics classrooms.  This isn’t something that would be easy to predict a few years ago but we have contemporary educators like Ross Isenegger of Mathfest who know what’s right and are behind this initiative.

There are givens.  There will never be enough computers, enough bandwidth, enough access, enough refreshing of hardware and technology, …

But, we are professionals and will do the best that we can.  We can always do more with more and we need to constantly communicate this to those who allocate monies to education.  We need to always be moving along.  To paraphrase Mr. Warlick, we cheat the kids when we don’t.

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