KC STEM Alliance Computer Science Teacher Mentor Day
The KC STEM Alliance hosted their first ever Computer Science Day on January 8, 2019.
The morning began with a session on Cybersecurity with Barry Cooper with Fishtech. We learned that with the current state of cybersecurity, employers are having a difficult time finding qualified people to fill open positions. There is currently a 0% cybersecurity unemployment rate and that there are 125 universities in the United States that offer a master's degree in cybersecurity. Trends include lack of available talent, shadow IT (think about times people install software without checking with the technology department), and security as a service (people want to purchase the service rather than monitoring it themselves). For school districts, BYOD policies make it more difficult to secure content. 2.0 cybersecurity trends include server-less multi-cloud security, SDN (Software Defined Networking), and DevOps.
As a business, cybersecurity companies are looking for the following "cyber competencies" in potential employees:
Real world financial skills (managing money, taxes, budgeting, credit)
Home care, purchasing, maintenance, and repair
Marriage and family skills
Survival and coping skills
General business competencies
Customer service skills
Interviewing and resume skills
Time management skills
Management and leading people (cast a vision, influence people to follow it, carry on)
A+ certification (CompTIA) understanding hardware and how you put it together
Networking 101 (CCNA or similar) Do you know how layer 3 networks work?
Sec+ certification (CompTIA) security certification (at minimum)
NICERC - DJS CETAP (free K-12 curricula from the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center) at https://nicerc.org/
Air Force association - Cyber Patriots
Aaron Deacon from KC Digital Divide spoke about the steps Kansas City, Missouri, has taken as a Smart City. The initiative includes the streetcar line, free public wifi backbone, and a plan to extend the Prospect MAX line, part of the DoT Smart City Challenge. They have installed 13 smart kiosks (hyper-local way-finding, event information, and nearby businesses information), smart parking and traffic signals, sensor- and video-equipped streetlights by Sensity (for parking, snowfall, infrared, and monitoring people), opt-in data collection from visitor smartphones, and open data APIs and SDKs. There is public access to the smart city data so teachers can use this with students, as we want them to data-literate and code-literate.
Characteristics of a digital city
Lots of screens/digital interfaces
Dynamic economic environment
Rapidly changing symmetry of info (both directions)(
Education as a vertical for innovation and adaptation
Education as a key element of the ecosystem
Build adaptive learners
Resources for educators
KC Social Innovation Center - KC SIC "Creating Opportunity Through Change" http://www.kcsocialinnovation.org/
MECA Challenge - How kids can think like inventors https://www.mecachallenge.com/
Launch Code KC - Coding boot camp https://www.launchcode.org/
Code for KC - Civic tech volunteers https://codeforkc.org/
Prep KC - Inspire students (tech academy) http://www.prepkc.org/
Capsnetwork - Innovative high school programs https://yourcapsnetwork.org/
The Learn Lab - Launches transformational innovations in K12 schools https://www.leanlabeducation.org/
EcosySTEM KC - Connects industry, educators, and STEM initiatives http://stemecosystems.org/spotlight-ecosystem-kc/
Insight from Industry Professionals
Two sessions featured industry professionals discussing diversity in computer science and providing a chance for networking. Edgar Palacios, with Latinx Education Collaborative, shared that 25% of incoming kindergartners across the United States are Latinx. It's vital that students see inclusive role models in computer science. We can do this by utilizing photographs and videos showcasing diverse populations and connecting with industry professionals that represent diverse backgrounds.
Shared wisdom from panel members and the networking session
When hiring, companies are looking for problem-solving abilities and technical skills (it's not about having the right answer but the potential employee's thought process in solving things)
Students need to learn
Understand the ecosystem of why they are developing a system
Core concepts of version control
The ultimate goal of computer science is computational thinking
Make explicit the connection between unplugged activities and how it connects to programming
Awareness of the many types of careers that fall into a computer science or computer science related field
Ability to estimate how long it takes to complete a task
If coding, have students do Peer Reviews where small teams walk through the code and verbalize what it will do and how to fix errors
Featured Computer Science Curriculum Resources
I am a facilitator for the CS Discoveries curriculum in partnership with Code.org and Science City at Union Station. Code.org offers local workshops for educators for their K-5, 6-10, and 9-12 curriculum. You can find more information on their Professional Learning page. If you have questions about the CS Discoveries curriculum, feel free to reach out!