CS4HS @ UML 2013 • Wed thru Fri, July 24 – 26, 2013

Wednesday through Friday

July 24, 25 & 26, 2013

A Workshop and Conference on Computer Science
for Middle and High School Teachers
to be held on the UMass Lowell Campus


What is CS4HS?

Dear teachers,

CS4HS (Computer Science for High School) is an initiative sponsored by Google to promote computer science and computational thinking in the high school and middle school curriculum.

This year, our workshop will provide a deep dive into MIT App Inventor, the blocks-based programming system for Android devices.

We'll be working directly with App Inventor each of the three days. We'll also develop approaches for including App Inventor into your computer science, technology, mathematics, or science curriculum.

So this year's event is specifically designed for middle and high school teachers who plan to introduce App Inventor to their students during the 2013–2014 school year.

As part of the conference registration, we will require a letter from your department head or principal, attesting to your institution's support of your plans to bring App Inventor to your students.

As in past years, we will also have short, fun faculty research talks, networking and conversation time, and an evening social event.

Our event is supported with a grant from Google Education. We require a registration fee of $100 to help us cover workshop costs. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided all three days; plus, we will take you out to a restaurant dinner on Thursday night.

Thanks to the Google grant, we are able to provide lodging for a small number of non-local participants. If you live more than 90 minutes (one-way) commute to Lowell, follow the instructions on the registration form for requesting lodging.

Click the button below to register:




Conference Overview

Overview: The conference will consist of a three-day workshop on computational thinking with App Inventor including a participatory curriculum design strand, plus research talks, panels, and discussion sessions.

We'll study three aspects of computational thinking together with practical coding practices: (1) sequences and events; (2) representation and modeling; and (3) persistence and sharing.

We'll also introduce an infusion model where computational thinking approaches are integrated with other subjects (math, science, technology, or the liberal arts). Each participant will create an original lesson design based on this infusion approach.

Hands-On Sessions

1. Sequences, Events, and the Notional Machine
Most programming languages are based on the idea that instructions are executed in order (a sequence). App Inventor works this way, and also highlights the use of events. Code sequences are triggered when something happens (e.g., a screen button is clicked, the phone senses a shake, or a text message is received).

Learning objectives: Create programs in App Inventor, using its event-based programming model.

2. Representation and Modeling
One of the central ideas in computer science is that using data to represent and model the physical world and/or a computational process. This is analogous to representation and modeling in mathematics. We'll discuss this conceptually and concretely with programming assignments.

Learning objective: Be able to use variables and lists to represent real-world things (e.g., color; geospatial location).

3. Persistence and Sharing
Once you have data, you want to be able to preserve it—to have it stay around for the next time your program is run. Also, in the internet age, being able to share your app's data with other people is essential. We'll learn how to do these things.

Learning objectives: Be able to use TinyDB to save values from your app and restore them the next time it starts up, and be able to use TinyWebDB to share data across apps.

4. Mobile CT Rubric
We have developed a rubric for assessing the computational thinking embedded in App Inventor projects, including mobile-specific concepts. In this session, you'll be introduced to the rubric and use to code example projects.

Learning objectives: Be able to identify the Mobile CT concepts that are represented in a completed app using the rubric.

5. Curriculum Module Design
Using an infusion model, you'll develop a curriculum module that can be integrated into your mathematics, science, technology, or other subject-area teaching plans. Your module will include App Inventor starter code that will be given to your students, and an activity worksheet for them to complete. Four sample units (two in math and two in science) will be provided.

Learning objectives: Create an original curriculum infusion unit that combines computer science content with another subject.


Ask The Machine! Automatic Processing of Natural Language Text
Anna Rumshisky (UMass Lowell)
In the contemporary world, unprecedented amounts of electronic text are generated daily. The information contained in these text streams can facilitate many everyday and professional tasks. Anna will describe current challenges and latest advances in natural language processing technology that underlies the automation of many such tasks.

SciFi to HRI: Designing the Robots of Tomorrow
Holly Yanco (UMass Lowell)
For 100 years, imagined robots have appeared in books, plays, and films. How close are we to achieving these dreams? This talk will present the capabilities of conceptualized robots, compare them to today's state of the art, and discuss the future of robot systems through the lens of human-robot interaction (HRI).

Introducing MassCAN: Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network
Jim Stanton (EDC)
MassCAN is a newly-formed partnership with the goal of inspiring and educating Massachusetts K–12 students in the field of computer science. Jim is a founding member of MassCAN, and will give an overview of its mission and core values.

Panel Discussion

Careers in Computing
Four UMass Lowell alumni will discuss their experiences in the field. Joining us are: Jeremy Badessa (BS ’10), Matt Bailey (BS ’07), Adam Dziki (BS ’06, MS ’10), and Veronica Payan (BS ’04).

Schedule and Locations

After the workshop is complete, please fill out our survey by clicking here.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Event organizers:
Fred Martin and Phyllis Procter, University of Massachusetts Lowell

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