November/December 2014 - In This Issue:

Coding is for Girls! How to Get Them Interested

Dorian Love

Computer programming still has an image problem among girls, who often perceive it as nerdy or for boys only. When educator Dorian Love took over the information technology program at an all-girls school in South Africa, he decided this had to change. Find out how he got them excited about coding.


Coding is cool at the moment, at the all-girls school where I teach in Johannesburg, South Africa, the students generally thought of computer programming as antisocial, nerdy, and not that relevant to solving real-world problems. As an information technology (IT) teacher who has seen firsthand the benefits my students have gleaned from learning programming, however, I felt they were missing out. And I had a few tricks up my sleeve for getting them to see just how cool coding can be.

The Case for Computing I started teaching at Roedean, a private school for girls with a reputation for academic excellence, in 2008. Although not formally trained as a programmer, I have been leading computer classes since the mid-1990s. I like to teach all of my students-not just those taking IT-some JavaScript and HTML, because I believe everyone should have some coding background to round out their digital skills and develop critical thinking. Continue reading...

Republished from Learning & Leading with Technology, May 2014, with permission from ISTE

Hour of Code and Beyond

Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago. Good news is, we're on our way to change this. If you heard about the Hour of Code last year, you might know it made history. In one week, 15 million students tried computer science!


Computer science was on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. President Obama, Shakira and Ashton Kutcher all kicked off the Hour of Code with videos. Over 100 partners came together to support this movement.


This year, let's make it even bigger. We're asking you to join in for the Hour of Code 2014. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14, 2014.



ICE Leader You Should Know: Amber Heffner

Amber Heffner was born and raised on a family farm in Rushville, IL , where her family had a grain elevator business. She learned the importance of community and customer service as well as teamwork and dedication. Amber has been in education for 19 years, first as a Health / Science teacher, then as a school counselor and administrator. She is currently the Director of Technology at Washington Community High School District #308 in Washington, IL.

Amber has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Western IL University as well as a Master's Degree in Counseling and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. She is passionate about giving students the opportunities to succeed in the 21st Century and helping teachers find the best practices in doing so. She has been a member of ICE for 3 years and is currently serving on the Governing Board and as the Co-Chair for TECH 2015. Amber has appreciated all that ICE has to offer and the dedication of its board and members.


You can connect with Amber at on Twitter at @wchs_308tech

As December's "Hour of Code" approaches, coding skills are in the spotlight this week and next.
Charlene Chausis, President of ICE

Thank you to Tara Linney, instructional technology Coach in Crest Hill, for her excellent ICE Wednesday Webinar presentation on "Coding in the Curriculum: Discovering Where it Fits." Tara is also a founding member of CodingConnect.org, whose objective is "to make coding accessible to teachers at all grade levels and in all content areas and connect coding skills to the Common Core."  


This coming Saturday, December 6, Tara will be presenting "Coding in the Curriculum" at the DeICE Winter Mini-Conference at Lockport Township High School - East Campus. See details at http://www.iceberg.org/deice.


Also this Saturday, NICE is hosting a free "Coding and Creating" workshop at Aptakisic Jr. High in Buffalo Grove, providing hands-on experiences in Scratch, Minecraft, Maker Space, Robotics, 3D Printing and more. Register at http://goo.gl/6TYCA7.


The Hour of Code is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) and Code.org to introduce computer programming to students and encourage them to learn programming. The Hour of Code can occur at any time during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14), and is designed to be a one-hour coding activity during which students participate using self-guided tutorials that work in browsers, on smartphones, tablets, or even without computers at all. Teachers do not have to be computer experts to lead students through the activities, as there are many learning opportunities for students of all ages, requiring minimal prep time for teachers (see http://hourofcode.com/us/resources/how-to).


Last year, more than 15 million students in 170 countries participated in the Hour of Code, and Code.org hopes to get 100 million students coding during this year's Computer Science Education Week. Code.org believes that, "Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science."


If next week is too soon for you, be sure to make plans to attend ICE 2015: Make the Difference, in February! There will be many workshops and breakout sessions for coding and making! Registration is now open, and it's recommended that you register earlyas the workshops will fill quickly!



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