Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

September, 2007

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    2007 FIRST Women in Science and Technology Forum


    While FIRST is best known for there amazing robotics competitions they have been running an annual event to encourage young women to enter the science and technology fields for a number of years now. This may be mostly of interest to people, especially young women, in the Northern New England area.

    I received the following announcement in email recently. I've heard great things about this program.

    FIRST and UNH-Manchester will host our seventh annual Women In Science and Technology Forum on Friday, November 2, 2007 from 8:30 AM to 2 PM. The event will be held at FIRST Place and UNH-Manchester, both located in the historic mill yard section of Manchester[, New Hampshire]. This event is devoted to sharing valuable information that will inspire and motivate young women toward science, engineering and technology careers, as well as discuss women's professional initiatives and achievements.

    For high school girls approaching a decision about what college to attend, what major to pursue, or what career paths might be open to them, the Women In Science and Technology Forum will provide a unique opportunity to meet professional women and receive guidance through workshops, panel discussions and interview sessions. Also, Forum participants will hear about a variety of programs from colleges and universities, and learn about resources that are available to help them achieve their education and career goals.

    This year's speakers will include women involved in a variety of science and technology fields with equally diverse backgrounds and paths that have led them to where they are today.

    For registration and more information visit the FIRST site here.

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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Road Trip - CCSC Eastern 2007 Conference


    One of the really great things I get to do is to attend conferences. I find these to be great experiences for me. The people who attend education conferences are among the smartest and most interesting people I get to meet. In October I am going to be at the CCSC Eastern conference at St Joseph's College in Patchogue New York. I'm even going to make a presentation and take part in a panel discussion. That should all be fun.

    But most of all I am looking forward to listening to others talk. The banquet speaker is going to be Dr. Robert Metcalfe who will talk about "The Ethernet and Beyond." One doesn't get to hear speakers like Bob Metcalfe every day! There are a number of other very interesting looking keynotes and concurrent sessions. If past history is any indication there will be interesting and educational conversations in hallways, at meals and around the exhibit hall as well.

    One of the other exciting things about this conference is that there are special sessions available for K-12 teachers and pre-service teachers. Colleges and universities are really getting onboard with supporting pre-collegiate computer science and this is evidence of that. If you are in the area or if attendance at this conference is practical for you and you are a pre-college computer science teacher this will probably be a good use of some of your professional development time and money.

    I hope to see some of my readers there. If you are coming please make sure to look me up and say "hi!"

    And by the way, the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC) has ten regions and I believe they all have conferences. So if you are not in the eastern region you may want to visit their web site and look for a conference near you. I've been to a number of them over the years and they have all been well worth my while.

    (Microsoft is a national level sponsor and it looks like members of my team will be at several of these conferences this year. If you see them tell them I said to say hello.)

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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Computer Science Education Day 2007 is Coming


    Brian Scarbeau the man who came up with this great idea recently reminded me that Computer Science Education Day is coming up this December 7th, 2007. This particular day has been selected because it is close to the birthday of Grace Murray Hopper - computer science pioneer who through the course of her career educated more than a few people about the issues involved with computer science.

    Possible ways to celebrate the day (borrowed from the web site - see the PDF and html posters near the bottom of the page) include:

    • Poster contest
    • Fastest to debug a program
    • Guest speakers from the Computer Science Field
    • Essay contest about the life of Grace Hopper
    • Recognize an accomplished school alumnus working in CS with a press release and certificate
    • Invite past students in to "tell it like it is" about CS careers or college
    • Collaborate with the lunch room to rename the items of each day's menu to some clever computer related term. For example: just for fun infinite loop spaghetti or Grace Hopper Pie

    I was a guest speaker at a local high school last year and it was a lot of fun. Professionals in my reading audience you may want to bring this day (with an offer to speak) to your local high school. It is a great way to encourage students to try out a computer science course and to look into the field.

    Admiral Hopper was a personal hero of mine who I was fortunate to meet in person on a number of occasions and that makes the day even more special to me.

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