Essentials of Computer Programming Plus for 2016-2017

Want to teach 9-12th grade Essentials of Computer Programming with a full year of support?  Check out ASMSA’s ECP Plus program and join the community of educators already experiencing phenomenal success with the course.ECP+ Cohort

We are seeking districts with faculty members interested in computer science education, who are considering the computer science PRAXIS, or who are simply enthusiastic about exploring new content areas as local support for the class. ASMSA’s nationally-acclaimed computer science education specialist will serve as the primary instructor and teacher-mentor for the course, providing instruction digitally three days per week. Participating faculty will provide direct student support two additional days per week as learners experience the hands-on, practical components of computer science. To prepare teachers for this support role, ASMSA will offer a one-week, residential professional development program in late July 2016. Housing in ASMSA’s Student Center and meals will be provided to participating districts. Teachers will join a professional learning community of others new to this subject and benefit from ongoing mentorship throughout the year. The cost for summer professional development (including housing and meals), curriculum development, and weekly support is $2,250.00 $500.

Space for the program is limited.  Sign up here or for additional information please contact

David Slaymaker
Assistant Dean for Outreach


Daniel Moix
ASMSA Computer Science Education Specialist

Online CS Course for Arkansas Educators

Arkansgreylogoas Tech University will offer a graduate course online during Spring 2016 entitled “Introduction to Computer Science.” This course will be geared toward licensed educators with little or no experience in computer science. Educators who would like to learn more about the discipline and/or to look at the possibility of adding the Computer Science licensure to their teaching license are encouraged to enroll in this course. For those that did not pass the Computer Science Praxis this year, this course meets the 3-hour college course requirement of the ALP set forth by ADE.

Students will be required to attend a one-day orientation session on the ATU campus on Saturday, January 9, to get their laptop set up with required software and get an overview of the course. The remainder of the course will be administered online from January 11 to May 3.

For more information, please contact:

Mrs. Rebecca Cunningham
Visiting Assistant Professor
Computer and Information Science Department
Arkansas Tech University
Phone: 479.880.4610

CS Praxis Pass By Reference Video Tutorial

I recently presented a session on the ETS Computer Science Praxis Test at the Arkansas Computer Science Education Summit.  One of the questions in the study companion warranted further investigation.  This video walks you through the concepts pass-by-value and pass-by-reference and shows you how to solve problems like Question 17.

Comment or reply if you have additional questions about this concept or would like to see more videos like this one covering questions in the study companion.

g1rls_c0de @ ASMSA – October 17th

ASMSA invites young women in grades 8-9 to attend g1rls_c0de October 17th, 2015

This hands-on session introduces MIT App Inventor and shows you how to create mobile applications for Android phones and tablets. App Inventor’s designer lets you add buttons, text boxes, images, sounds, and other elements to your app and organize them into an attractive user interface. The blocks editor gives you full control over the phone’s inner workings including Bluetooth communication, sending and receiving messages, measuring movement and location with the accelerator, orientation, and location sensors, interacting with web databases, and even controlling Lego robots.

Participants are welcome to bring their own Androids!

Where: The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, 200 Whittington Ave., Hot Springs, AR, 71901
When: Saturday, October 17th 2015, from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE! Lunch will be provided
Who: All young women currently enrolled in 8th – 9th grade in Arkansas
How:  Register here.  Space is limited.

Computer Science Leadership Summit October 8

The second annual Arkansas Computer Science Leadership Summit will take place on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA),

The theme is “Building and Sustaining Computer Science — Powering Minds, Businesses, and Communities.” If you are interested in finding engaging ways to improve computer science and information technology education in Arkansas, please plan to attend. Governor Asa Hutchinson promotes improving computer science education as one of the cornerstones of STEM education which will foster learning and will be a catalyst for Arkansas economy.  It is imperative that we join together to form business-education partnerships that will stimulate computer science learning and economic development.

The registration cost to attend is $50 which includes lunch and conference material, but will be waived for presenters.  Register now using the link below.

This meeting is sponsored and organized by the Arkansas STEM Coalition, Computer Science Teachers Association Arkansas, the Arkansas Academy of Computing, and several businesses and other Computer Science supporters.

The agenda includes sessions on what and how to offer computer science courses in your school district, the role business partnerships play in the computer science initiative, cyber-security, developing the computer science pipeline through higher education, and a report from the Computer Science Task Force.

Parking is free.  Contact Dr. Suzanne Mitchell at 501-690-1518 or via email if you have any questions about the Computer Science Leadership Summit at ASMSA in Hot Springs on October 8th.  In addition, feel free to email Mr. Carl Frank, President of the Arkansas Computer Science Teachers Association, at  or call 501-860-0141.

Free K-5 Coding Workshop for Arkansas Teachers

Registration is now open for a free training to Central Arkansas! These workshops are fun, hands on and fantastic! Not only will you receive a FREE curriculum guide, but you will also be getting a FREE swag bag full of goodies!  Little Rock School Districts teachers will receive 5 hours of technology professional development. training

This workshop will be presented by Joel Spencer.  Joel is a science specialist with the Little Rock School District in Little Rock, Arkansas. His responsibilities include running an elementary science lab for 535 students and facilitating district wide professional development in the areas of elementary science and instructional technology. He has been a teacher for 11 years, 6 of those were in the area of elementary science. He has also served as a literacy coach and classroom teacher.

Computer science is Joel’s passion which is why he is a firm believer that teaching computer science needs to start at the elementary level. His students have been coding for three years and watching them do it is the highlight of his day.

Remember: BRING YOUR OWN TECHNOLOGY (laptops, chromebooks, tablets, iPad) and make sure your devices are charged!

New Self-Paced Computational Thinking Course for Educators from Google

Google has just released a course for educators introducing them to Computational Thinking.  No programming experience or other special skills are required — just your Google Account.

The course begins on July 15th and runs through September.  It should take you 15-30 hours to complete, and you will receive a certificate if you finish by October 1.

Get started at


Arkansas CS Update at HSTI

Anthony Owen, Arkansas’s new Computer Science Coordinator at the Arkansas Department of Education presented a very informative session at the Hot Springs Technology Institute this week.

If you haven’t seen it, check out the Arkansas K-12 Computer Science information site.


Anthony’s slides from the presentation are available on that site, and you should bookmark the Frequently Asked Questions document.

PD: Make Apps For That! @ HSTI

Today I’m in Hot Springs, Arkansas presenting a full day hands-on session at the Hot Springs Technology Institute pre-conference.  Participants will become familiar with the new Essentials of Computer Programming frameworks, get some exposure to MIT App Inventor, and take home a set of Android tablets to use in their classrooms.  The full conference begins tomorrow, and I cannot wait!


Full details will come later, but for now you can view the participant agenda.

BYOD Upgrade Cards

I recently posted about my Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom policy, which uses four color-coded levels to communicate to students appropriate and inappropriate uses of their personal mobile devices within the context of they day’s learning activities.  After successfully implementing the BYOD level policy, I figured out I could leverage it as a reward for good behavior.

BYOD Upgrade CardsIn coming up with this, I pondered long and hard the question, “What can I give students that costs me nothing, that they will actually want, and that isn’t a violation of law or school policy?”

With a little colored card stock and a special hole punch from the craft store, I started awarding students punches for positive reinforcement of good behavior.   As long as you adhere to your BYOD level regularly, students will welcome a little flexibility in how they use their devices when they earn an upgrade.