Last Thursday and Friday were the Montana Educators Association conference days. It is supposed to be the time to meet and greet all the people in your teaching field and attend inspiring sectionals. It was a big no-go. There were no sectionals in CS, programming or IT. The closest thing was stuff like “How Google Can Change Your Classroom”. Considering the number of high school CS programs in Montana I guess it was to be expected. Next year I plan to solve the problem (unless the MEA conference is in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, like Billings or Glasgow). I would have presented some sectionals this time but missed the submission deadline. I figure I can do a sectional on offering high school dual-credit Python and another on dual-credit Java. Maybe something on why we should teach programming in the high school. Maybe “Three years of English, one year of programming: the curriculum of the future”. That ought to start some dialog. Or a riot. Either would be fun. I also need to poke some university types with a sharp stick to get them involved. The local universities want to expand and improve their CS programs but for some reason have not figured out those students they want have to come from high schools that offer some form of CS. They need to promote their programs by stimulating the high school teachers to do some kind of show-and-tell at these events. Both Montana State University and Rocky Mountain College have robotics programs that would be very nice recruiting carrots to attract new students. MSU offers summer courses for teachers so they can teach some of the preliminaries for the MSU courses. MSU’s advertising for this course is word-of-mouth. Not the best way to get the word out.
I need to be a bit more proactive if I actually care about CS in Montana.