November 20th Minutes

On Wednesday evening (11/20), the Indiana Hoosier Heartland CSTA held a two hour Google Hangout. Due to technology issues, attendance for the meeting was not as high as was hoped. This issue will be addressed for future meetings. In attendance were the following individuals representing schools from across Indiana: Julie Alano (Hamilton Southeastern); Rodrigo Anadon (Penn); Ben Biddle (Bethesda Christian); Kent Palmer (Goshen College); Michele Roberts (IUPUI); Phil Sands (Purdue University); Nolan Taylor (Indiana University).

The minutes for this meeting are below.

  • There were problems with members connecting to the Hangout. It was unclear whether this was due to the invitations, or the software itself. The Google Hangout website does suggest that there is a maximum limit of 10 users. It was ultimately decided that there would be some private testing of this or other alternative programs before the next attempt at a virtual meeting.
  • With CS Ed Week and the “Hour of Code” approaching, the group discussed the tutorials. Ben Biddle and Julie Alano had both experimented with the Angry Birds tutorial and were positive about it’s usefulness for younger students.
  • Julie discussed her school’s $10,000 technology prize for her organization of their efforts to participate in the Hour of Code.
  • Phil mentioned that Purdue University was working on a web-based programming competition for CS Ed Week and promised more information when CS Ed Week grew closer.
  • Julie discussed her recent meeting with Indiana DOE’s Eric Ogle regarding a new Introduction to Computer Science course that Indiana is rolling out for next year. The course has been approved, but does not yet have an official curriculum. Julie suggested that it would be more geared towards an Exploring Computer Science (ECS) model than the upcoming AP CS Principles course.
  • In addition to the new course, Julie also discussed the possibility that the chapter could participate in professional development (PD) at the next Indiana Business Educators Association conference. This would be an opportunity to spread the message and the best teaching practices that we have developed to existing business educators. Julie suggested developing a computer science track of PD sessions.
  • Phil suggested that the chapter also build on potential connections to math teachers by developing presentations for the Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) conference. He has some connections in this group and had positive discussions about CSTA participation, and potentially the opportunity for a joint conference in future years between ICTM and the INCSTA.
  • During the discussion of advocating for more computer science through existing business and math departments, Julie mentioned the upcoming PRAXIS licensing exam that educators could use to pursue the opportunity to teach computer science. This fits in with Purdue’s desire to extend their methods course to in-service teachers.
  • Michele Roberts asked Phil for the opportunity to post material to the website. Any member that wishes to be a contributor should contact Phil ( about getting privileges set for their account.
  • Phil discussed the opportunities available for PD through massively open online courses (MOOCs). He discussed three current courses, and four upcoming courses. Hyperlinks to the course material will be linked in a future post to the website.
  • Julie brought the CSTA chapter mini-grant for advocacy to the attention of the group. The purpose of the grant would be to advocate for computer science through a regional or local event that engages new stakeholders. The three award values were $1,000, $3,000 and $5,000. A previous award deadline passed in November, but there is another opportunity in January that the chapter will explore. Michele and Julie agreed that more discussion was needed outside of the chapter meeting. Julie also said that she would send the criteria for the award so other members could peruse them.
  • Phil brought up an opportunity for Indiana high school teachers to help identify 2-3 students in the 11th or 12th grade that would be able to travel to Purdue to participate in a potential NSF funded grant. The opportunity involves computational work in Physics and Chemistry. Julie asked for more details, which Phil will provide at a future meeting.
  • Phil discussed a recently accepted proposal for a high school girls technology club and mentoring program that he will be starting next year. The grant from State Farm will pay for a group of Purdue undergraduates to travel on a weekly / bi-weekly basis to two high schools where technology clubs have been formed for female students. Rodrigo mentioned his efforts to improve the participation in CS by female students and expressed an interest in participating. Other teachers that would be interested should contact Phil for further information.
  • Rodrigo discussed his recent success in a Samsung sponsored program that encouraged students to design games for the greater good. His students will be creating games that raise awareness about an issue of their choosing.
  • In discussing future agenda items, Julie brought up the need for elections. CSTA members that would like to hold an officer position for the 2014 calendar year should contact Julie and Phil.
  • Michele suggested that she would work on finding a solution for the technology issues that plagued the meeting.
  • The next virtual meeting was scheduled tentatively for Wednesday, January 15th, 2014. More information will be provided on the website.