Massachusetts Teachers Show Off New Computer Skills After Month-long Training to Benefit Their Students

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

DATE:           Friday, July 22, 2016

TIME:           Media opportunity 12:30 to 2 p.m.

WHAT:         Showcase Day, Mobile Computer Science Principles course

WHERE:      Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow St., Holyoke

High school teachers from across Massachusetts will showcase their accomplishments on the final afternoon of a month-long course where they have been learning how to make their own mobile apps. The summer session prepares them to bring these new skills to students who are taking an advanced placement high school class, Mobile Computer Science Principles (CSP), in 12 Commonwealth schools in the fall. Mobile CSP satisfies the College Board’s new AP CSP course requirements.

For both teachers and students, the Mobile CSP class teaches how to make socially relevant applications for mobile phones and other devices, writing and communication, and group collaborative creativity.Last year, high school AP CSP students at Pembroke High School created an app that lets diners donate money at restaurants to feed needy people in the area, and computer science students at Littleton High School created one that helps shoppers find the lowest price, for example. This summer, teachers are designing apps reminding people to take medication at the correct time and dose, and to help immigrants prepare for citizenship.

Media can interview facilitator Beryl Hoffman, associate professor of computer information technology at Elms College, Chicopee; master math and computer science teacher Kelly Ogden of Greater Lawrence Technical High School; and coordinator Renee Fall of the Commonwealth Alliance for IT Education (CAITE) at UMass Amherst’s College of Information and Computer Sciences.

The teacher training is supported by UMass Amherst and partners Trinity College and the National Science Foundation. Fall also recently received a one-year Google CS4HS grant to provide a professional learning community for teachers across Massachusetts this year.