CS Pathways video for NSF Showcase

Akira Kamiya produced this video to highlight our project for the NSF “Advancing STEM Learning for All” 2016 Video Showcase. Enjoy!

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Farzeen discusses career trajectory with Ms. Bell’s class

Project research assistant Farzeen Harunani visited Courtney Bell’s classroom on March 11, and led a discussion about her career trajectory, from computer science student to industry professional to researcher.

As described by Akira Kamiya, project teacher learning center directory, Farzeen discussed “her experience as a woman of color, and the students were completely engaged, asking questions for almost 20 minutes after her presentation was over! I especially liked the fact that it was mostly the girls of color in the class that were doing most of the talking.”

Ms. Bell added, “Farzeen was amazing! The kids were so engaged the whole class and they were making connections between their interests and potential futures in computer science.”

farzeen-20160311

Team presents at MassCUE 2015 conference

The CS Pathways team members at MassCUE, October 21, 2015. L-R: Erin Natale, Dawn Munro, Akira Kamiya, Denise Salemi, Molly Laden, Lori Blank, and Fred Martin.
The CS Pathways team members at MassCUE, October 21, 2015. L-R: Erin Natale, Dawn Munro, Akira Kamiya, Denise Salemi, Molly Laden, Lori Blank, and Fred Martin.

The CS Pathways team delivered a successful presentation, Middle School Project-Based Computing, at the MassCUE 2015 conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on October 21, 2015.

The session immediately followed the opening keynote, and more than 40 conference-goers attended.

The presentation was organized by Akira Kamiya, who led the session itself. Molly Laden, Fred Martin, and Everett teachers Denise Salemi and Dawn Munro also contributed.

The session covered the goals of the project, provided an overview of the curriculum, and offered live demos of student work from Ms. Salemi’s and Ms. Munro’s spring 2015 classes.

A copy of the presentation slides and other handouts from the session are available.

CS Pathways summer camps were a huge success!

We hosted 72 Everett and Medford middle school students for our 2015 CS Pathways summer camps!

The camps were held July 6 through 10, at Medford High School and Everett High School.

At Medford, project teacher Mike Scarola was joined by PhD candidate Mark Sherman, along with Jessica Hamerly (Medford Public Schools) and Damian DeMarco (Revere Public Schools) in leading the session. UMass Lowell undergraduate Katherine Brunelle assisted.

At Everett, project teachers Denise Salemi and Dawn Munro were joined by Prof. Fred Martin in leading the session. UMass Lowell undergraduate Qiana Curcuru assisted.

Akira Kamiya, the project’s Teacher Learning Center Director, made sure all of our technology worked as smoothly as possible.

The Everett Independent published a lovely article about the kids’ work.

Thanks everyone!

Three pairs in Azita’s class begin their final apps

Azita, at Andrews Middle School in Medford, is nearing the end of her Middle School Pathways curriculum. Students yesterday did their usual free-typing exercise for the first five minutes of class, then they either continued with a tutorial of their choice (one with a similar functionality to their own intended app) or, just jumped into programming their app itself. Azita typically projects the day’s agenda onto the whiteboard:

azita-agenda

Her students – using the pair programming approach – are at varying stages of producing their final apps. One team is working on a game where the user can help elderly people cross the street. Here is their app layout so far:

crossing-street-design

And here is the beginning of their code:

crossing-street-code

Another is working on an extension of the Digital Doodle app, where you can import a picture of your friend’s face, trace over it, and then remove the picture to reveal a Picasso-esque drawing. It’s like a drawing-helper app. Maybe we will see some similar things come out of Debbie’s art/technology classes over at McGlynn Middle School.

Another team found an image from an amusing potato meme online, and used it to test out loading pictures into components. This evolved into an idea for a fitness app, where the user’s avatar begins as a “couch potato” and turns into a stalk of asparagus once they finish their workout.

potato-design

The user will click a button, which triggers a text-to-speech function that gives an instruction to start walking. Then it sets a timer to count down the seconds, and ultimately change the potato image into an asparagus image.

“Okay, to de-potato-fye yourself please start walking at a moderate pace for 10 minutes.”

The pair can’t stop giggling! While they are having fun with the sometimes unexpected path of their creative process, their main focus is getting the timer function to work. Here is their code so far:

potato-code

The MSP curriculum with Azita’s class has certainly flown by! Other students are excited to incorporate the tablets’ GPS functionality into their apps. Stay tuned – more to come.