ISTE Computer Science Network

August 2020 edition

What's in this issue?

  • Table of Contents:

    • ISTE20 Live - now changed to Nov. 29 - Dec. 5, 2020

      • Fill out our volunteer form for the following activities in support of ISTE 2020

        • Creating with CS - half day focused on doing, creating and making with the power of code

        • CSN CS/CT Playground - many exhibits focusing on building featuring CS and CT in your classroom

        • CS/CT Strand throughout the conference

        • Panel on CS and STEAM in collaboration with the STEM PLN.

        • CSN Members Discussion Forum at ISTE 2020 - talk with the CSN Leadership

      • Additional activities including focus on new ISTE CS Educator Standards, ISTE PLN network fair, activities around CS/CT book series, K-8 activities and other collaborations

    • ISTE CSN New and Events

      • updated → CSN Members Discussion - What’s hot in the Discussio Forum recently?

      • new → Call for CSN Newsletter Articles needed

      • updated → ISTE Expert Webinar series including list of webinars over last school year

      • reminder → ISTE Standards for Educators: CT Competencies

    • Computing Education News

      • new → #csk8 podcast

      • updated → CSforALL Call for 2020 Commitments and upcoming webinars

      • new stuff → CSForAllTeachers News - newsletter and information updates

      • new →Video interview of Fred Martin on AI for kids (AI4K12 Initiative)

    • Student Opportunities

      • Coming soon → Cyberpatriot XII registration closes Oct 15, 2020

      • Bebras Computational Thinking Competition

      • ACSL (American Computer Science League)

      • Hour of Code Dec 7-13, 2020

    • Professional Development/Conference Opportunities

      • Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference

      • Grace Hopper Celebration of Women Conference

      • FETC 2021

      • SIGCS TS 2021

      • CSTA 2021

      • Scratch Conference 2021

    • new → Your homework - Action Item

      • Grace Hopper Celebration 2019 Impact Report

    • new → NCWIT Resources

      • Counselors for Computing Equity Webinar and 10 Ways to Engage Counselors to increase student opportunities in computer science

    new → Link: Foundations of Data Science set of videos

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Computer Science Network Activities

  • Creating with CS - Come join us to learn about new approaches to computing education that combine the magic of doing, creating and making with the power of code in a way that engages every student in active computational thinking. Engage in activities that use coding to create. Cycle through learning stations to get hands-on exposure to a range of new ideas and coding projects. Play, learn and create with coding projects. Co-leaders again will be Rashmi Pimprikar <> and Kimberly Lane <>.

  • CS/CT Playground - The team of David Lockett, Karen North, Heidi Williams and Joe Kmoch continues to plan our 11th annual playground. Our playground will enhance the Build theme of ISTE20 Live, will engage those attending and increase interest in computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT). We always are interested in new exhibitor possibilities for our Playground, so please forward them to Joe at <>. We look for opportunities to engage students and educators to demonstrate exciting technologies being used in classrooms. Teachers and students talking to other teachers!

  • CS/CT Strand​ throughout the Conference - Our leadership team will again publish much nearer to the annual conference a list of activities we believe are particularly interesting and appropriate to CS and CT in addition to other CS-oriented strands based in other domains.

  • Updated The Fourth Annual CSN Excellence in Education Award. ​The CSN Leadership Team has chosen one educator for 2020 and she is Dr. Jessica Redcay (see photo and more info about her at the top of the June newsletter <>).

  • Panel on CS and STEAM - Our CSN leadership team is collaborating with the STEM PLN to produce a panel during which the inclusion of CS will be included. Jorge Valenzuela is our leadership team member involved. Please contact Jorge <> with suggestions and questions.

Other CSN activities at ISTE 2020 will include:

  • Focus on the ISTE Computer Science Educator Standards

  • Involvement in the ISTE Communities Networking Fair (Professional Learning Networking Fair) on a date to be determined.

  • Activities around our CS/CT book series - Meet the authors at the Playground

  • Specific K-8 Activities and Discussions.

Activities with our collaborators - NCWIT, the local CSTA chapter and
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ISTE Computer Science Network News and Events

CSN Members Discussion​ - We are gathering volunteers who are passionate about discussing relevant CS topics. For this volunteer activity, ISTE Connect CSN members will be asked to moderate 1 question, 2 times per year on a topic you are passionate about. A calendar will be sent out so that you know which months you are responsible for. See the list below of recent topics.

New discussions ​ CS Network Discussion Forum on ISTE Connect

Click here to access ISTE Connect

Recent topics have included:

  • Lesson Plan Advice
  • Curating CS Tools
  • Robotics/CS grades 4-6
  • CS Summer Learning Initiatives
  • Black Lives Matter

CSN Newsletter articles - We continue to engage members of our community to write a short article which we would publish in our newsletter as our lead item. This is an opportunity for you to focus on some aspect of computer science and computational thinking - maybe you have a favorite plan or unit that you could share or an idea you’d like to give your opinion about. Our leadership team is here to help you put a great article together - who knows - this could be the beginning fame and fortune for you (well, maybe not fortune…)

ISTE Expert Webinars. This series, produced by ISTE itself has several upcoming webinars which teachers of computer science and computational thinking should find useful. <>

Broadening Participation in Computer Science Description: Underrepresentation in computer science education is compounded by a K-12 system that is unable to make significant changes to build a sustainable pipeline, a shortage of qualified teachers, a masculine culture of computation that creates barriers for women and people of color, and a lack of opportunities for teachers to learn computational thinking. This study focused on the experiences and perceptions of K-12 teachers who integrate computing and computational thinking into pre-existing, non-computational courses (recontextualizing programming). There were two models of recontextualizing code: teachers who use programming as a new medium for student communication and self-expression (Communicators); and teachers who weave programming into content standards as a computational tool (Weavers). This session will discuss the successes and challenges as perceived by teachers throughout their experiences, describe the cultural, social, and economic implications of Communicator-style recontextualization, and provide recommendations for teachers who want to start coding in their non-CS classes. Here is a link to the recording of this June, 2020 webinar.<>

...more webinars from 2019-2020 thay may interest you...

During 2019-20 the following were of great interest and are available on the ISTE Expert Webinars website - also see the Browse Archives section for previous webinars. You can read descriptions of each of the following in previous CSN Newsletters or on the Expert Webinars site itself

Recent ​→Topic: Engaging students with Interdisciplinary, Creative Computing Using SCRATCH

Recent ​→Topic: FUNecole - a computer science/computational thinking curriculum for K-5 with embedded SEL

Topic: What's Up in AI for K-12 Education?

Topic: Developing Authentic Learning Experiences With Middle School STEAM

Topic: Using Computational Thinking to Deepen Student Learning Experiences

Topic: Top 10 PK-12 Priorities for 2020

Topic: How to Develop Computational Thinkers


Computing Education News

#CSK8 Podcast

The #CSK8 Podcast explores research, experiences, and perspectives on computer science education with a focus on grades K-8. The host Jared O'Leary supports and promotes the #CSK8 and #CSforALL community members by interviewing guests and unpacking scholarship in relation to computer science education. You can download individual podcasts or subscribe from your favorite podcast distributor or go to <>

CSforALL Call for 2020 Commitments

CSforALL is excited to announce the Call for 2020 Commitments is now open. All stakeholders are invited to participate and the deadline is August 31, 2020. These will be presented on the website in mid-November, 2020 (The CSForAll Summit for Fall, 2020 has been canceled).

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Commitments are a way to drive action. They play a key role in bringing together the entire community of CS stakeholders to amplify the progress made, announce new goals and initiatives to advance the mission, and provide visibility to community efforts both large and small. Making a commitment gives organizations an opportunity to announce a new effort on a national stage which can be leveraged to bring new partners to the table, increase impact, and grow the footprint of engaged stakeholders. CSforALL commitments should be made to align with the mission of Computer Science for ALL, not to CSforALL the organization. Our goal is to lift up the efforts of those doing the work on the ground.


CSforALL commitments are new, specific, and measurable actions taken by community stakeholders in support of achieving the ultimate goal of computer science for all US students. Commitments can be large or small and don’t always require large investments or funding. They must represent new work or be additive to existing work, such as expanding a program to a new audience or significantly growing the reach of a program. For more information see <> and


Submit A Commitment

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Lots of new and updated stuff → CS for All Teachers Newsletter. This excellent resource is available if you Join the CSForAllTeachers Community and sign up for the CS for All Teachers Notifications and the Newsletter. Recent blog posts, upcoming webinars and resources are noted in their weekly newsletter. Here is a recent email summary from CS For All Teachers. Previous Newsletter issues list previous resources and activities, many recorded.



  • WEBINAR: Computing While Black on 07/28/2020) Description: Join us on Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT for a roundtable discussion about best practices for inclusion and equity in computer science education. We will delve into how the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted our students that will be entering and continuing in CS educational spaces (and schools) and identify necessary supports to facilitate high quality instruction for diverse populations. We will also identify how teachers can change CS pedagogy to meet the needs of Black students as well as how they can work collaboratively to dismantle the patriarchal white-centered mindsets that plague the tech industry and society writ large. Though this language may make some uncomfortable (i.e., “patriarchal” and “white-centered”), we encourage you to join this webinar for an open, honest dialogue about how we can best teach all in our classes, but especially our Black students.
  • Online PD for UTeach AP CS Principles (August) on 08/03/2020) Description: Join UTeach Computer Science for 40 hours of engaging, in-depth professional development in a flexible, online format from August 3 - September 11, 2020. Teachers meet once each week for a 2-hour synchronous online session, then complete self-paced modules throughout the week with on-demand support from PD facilitators. During the 6-week PD, teachers master foundational course content and AP requirements while practicing collaborative, project-based instructional strategies. UTeach CS is a College Board–endorsed provider of AP CS Principles curriculum and professional development, which means that the PD may be substituted for an AP Institute. See all online PD dates: Ask questions or request sample lessons: Register:



Fred Martin on Artificial Intelligence for Kids

Fred Martin, one of the leaders of the AI4K12 initiative, was interviewed in a two-part video in late July. The first part was a discussion of AI explorations with kids and the five big ideas of AI. He provided great insight and resources for the middleschool classroom but really useful for other levels. In the second part Fred provided excellent explanations and a nice walkthrough of two very accessible and creative tools (Teachable Machine and Machine Learning for Kids.)

Watch his first interview on YouTube or on Facebook

Watch his second interview on YouTube or Facebook


Student Opporunities

Cyberpatriot XIII Security Competition - Registration Closes October 15, 2020

​CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. ​At the core of the program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation's largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks. Other programs include AFA CyberCamps, an elementary school cyber education initiative, a children’s literature series, and CyberGenerations –a cyber safety initiative geared toward keeping senior citizens safe online

Bebras Computational Thinking Competition

​ November 4-20, 2020→ Bebras US Computational Thinking Challenge. Bebras is an international​ computational thinking​ challenge that started in Lithuania more than 10 years ago. Last year about 1,000,000 students participated globally. You can register as a teacher at <​>. All USA students are welcome.

There are contests for about 20 other nations, also. You can find the other nations’ contests by going to <​​>

If you go to <​ > you can register for the November US competition and can try the Practice Challenge (login not needed for practice).

More details​→ Bebras is an international initiative whose goal is to promote computational thinking for teachers and students (ages 8-​18 / school years 3​-12). The challenges are made up of a set of short questions called Bebras tasks and are delivered via the cloud. The tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking or computer science but are clearly related to computational thinking concepts. To solve the tasks, students are required to think in and about information, discrete structures, computation, data processing, and algorithmic concepts. Each Bebras task can both demonstrate an aspect of computational thinking and test the talent of the participant.

ACSL - American Computer Science League

ACSL organizes computer science contests and computer programming contests for elementary, junior, and senior high school students. The 2020-2021 school year will be our 43rd year of continuous operation. Each year, about 300 teams in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia are participating in various divisions ACSL is on the approved activities list of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and is an institutional member of CSTA. More details are on the website <​​>

Their year​long contest is in 4 rounds. The last day to give and score round 1 is Friday, December 18, 2020. This is worth checking into even if to just have access to their wealth of short answer and programming problems over the years. <​​>

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What is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.

When is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2020 Computer Science Education Week will be December 7-13, but you can host an Hour of Code all year-round. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).


Professional Development Opportunities

Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing

Officially known as the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, this will be held in virtually on September 16-19, 2020. The Tapia conference has always been a premier venue to acknowledge, to promote and to celebrate diversity. Given the current global academic, professional and societal climates, the Tapia 2020 conference theme, “Inclusion Drives Innovation”, reminds us of the critical role that diverse perspectives play in driving innovations in computing and technology. Creating teams, organizations, and societies that are inclusive and respectful of differences leads to greater innovations that benefit the world. <>

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women Conference

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC 20). This is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. This year for the first time vGHC will be presented virtually. vGHC is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM. Attendance has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2013 there were 4500 attending and in 2019 there were nearly 25,000 attendees. Many more ate expected since the conference is virtual. The dates are Sept 26, 2020 and then Sept 29-Oct 2, 2020. If you weren’t able to secure a registration, learn more about Virtual GHC 19. <>. At Virtual GHC 19 you will be able to Stream the Opening and Closing Keynote sessions as well as other sessions; you’ll be able to interact with presenters and other virtual attendees, and more!

FETC 2021

This is the 41st national Future of Education Technology Conference which will be held in Orlando, FL from January 26-29, 2021. Now available online is the schedule of events. Similar in some respects to TCEA and ISTE, FETC does include sessions involving computer science, computational thinking and teaching IT. There will also be a CS Firehose focusing on Creating with CS <>


Survey - A message from the Program Committee: As you know, the SIGCSE TS 2021 is currently scheduled for March 17-21, 2021, in Toronto, Canada. In anticipation of potential travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 TS chairs and the SIGCSE Board are considering multiple delivery options for the symposium.

To help inform our decisions, we ask the community to complete a survey collecting your views for participation in the SIGCSE TS 2021 and possible options for offering the symposium. It can be found at:

CSTA 2021

Get ready for this always excellent conference totally focused on K-12 computer science. The conference will be held in July, 2021 in Chicago, IL.. Plenty of workshops, sessions, opportunities to network and have fun together with colleagues from across the country who share the same joys. Registration and more information will be available soon. <>

Scratch Conference 2021: Let's Create Together

Join us for the Scratch Conference 2021 - July 22-24, 2021. This is a playful gathering of educators, researchers, developers, and other members of the worldwide Scratch community. The conference comes at a time of great opportunity but also great challenge for education and learning—so we're excited to come together to share ideas about how to support creative learning experiences for young people around the world. We're planning a very participatory conference, with an entire day of hands-on workshops and lots of opportunities for peer-to-peer discussion and collaboration. July 22, 2021-July 24, 2021 at the MIT Media Lab, Cambridge MA Registration fee will be $250 and registration will open on March 1, 2021. <>


Your Reading Assignment - Call to Action

Grace Hopper Celebration 2019 Impact Report

Grace Hopper Celebration is the premier event or women technologists worldwide. The GHC19 Impact Report provides an overview of the conference as well as its impact on the goal of achieving 50/50 intersectional gender equity by 2025. Anita Borg Institute and the Grace Hopper Celebration support and inspire women to further their careers, break boundaries and transform the world of technology. Nearly 25,000 attended this conference in 2019 and additionally over 3000 watched the stream.
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Reading from the June, 2020 issue...

Intersectionality in Tech 101. From NCWIT “Intersectionality is a critical and necessary concept to develop effective programs to broaden the participation of women and girls in computing. This resource provides a background and overview of he concept in addition to including key readings and resources related to women and girls of color in STEM and computing”. Though the focus here is on females, the thinking and strategies apply to all marginalized students, male and female. Consider reading the links to other papers that are provided in this resource. <>



The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 1,240 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase girls’ and women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.

Counselors for Computing (C4C): Collaborating for CS Equity and Access (Webinar)

Did you know some of your greatest allies in advocating for computer science (CS) might work right alongside you every day? CS educators across the nation are finding that collaborating with their school counselors yields positive results in directing students to viable education and career opportunities.

Top 10 Ways to Engage School Counselors as Allies in the Effort to Increase Student Access to Computer Science Education and Careers

School counselors are eager to direct students to viable education and career opportunities. Consider these key points for collaboration as you plan to meet with counselors to discuss ways their professional responsibilities align with your goals to increase student access to computing.


Links to Resources

The Foundations of Data Science

The first collection of videos from provides accessible and non-technical overviews of the field of data science and its facets, such as common programming languages and applications, the practical aspects of data sourcing, important mathematical concepts, and common statistical approaches. The 5 videos are

  1. Data Science: An Introduction
  2. Data Sourcing
  3. Coding
  4. Mathematics
  5. Statistics