Massachusetts Teachers Show Off Their Homemade Mobile Apps

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

DATE:           Friday, July 21
TIME:            Media opportunity 12:30-2 p.m.
WHAT:          Showcase Mobile Computer Science Principles professional development
WHERE:       Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow St., Holyoke

High school teachers from 12 Massachusetts schools will show off their projects on the last afternoon of a four-week course where they have been learning how to make their own mobile apps. The summer professional development course prepares teachers to bring new skills to their students who are taking the advanced placement high school class “Mobile Computer Science Principles” in the fall.

Designed to help teachers boost computer science participation among high school girls and underrepresented minorities, the course teaches how to create socially relevant applications for mobile phones and other devices. It is project-based and emphasizes writing, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Examples of mobile apps created in past classes include one that helps to prepare high school students for college, one that assists in medical emergencies, another that lets restaurant diners donate money for local needy people, one that helps shoppers find the lowest price, an app designed to remind people to take their medication and one to help immigrants prepare for citizenship.

Media can interview facilitator Beryl Hoffman, associate professor of computer information technology at Elms College in Chicopee, computer science teacher Deddie Quillen from Westborough High School and coordinator Renee Fall of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) at UMass Amherst’s College of Information and Computer Sciences.

CAITE helped secure funding through Google’s CS4HS program and collaborated with Trinity College, the Green High Performance Computing Center, CSTA-Greater Boston and CSTA-Western Massachusetts to offer the workshop. Funding also supports a professional learning community of about 50 educators in Massachusetts that includes this group. This year’s 12 teachers now join 13 who took the course last year.