Flipping the Switch! Conference pushes computer science integration

Flipping the Switch Conference

More than 200 teachers, administrators, and other K-8 educational stakeholders were on hand for the 2018 Flipping the Switch! Conference, which was held Sept. 21-22 at the University of Indianapolis.

The second-annual event, which was organized by Michele Roberts, the director of computing outreach education at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, focused on computer science integration. It included sessions for classroom teachers, media specialists, STEM leads, curriculum planners, administrators, and additional K-12 educational stakeholders.

"What was most exciting to observe this year was the steep increase in CS content knowledge, pedagogy, and confidence," Roberts said. "Indiana teachers are bringing their talent and passion to computer science education, and the results are exceeding expectations."

The conference offered multiple breakout sessions, including session threads that offered completion badges for teachers who completed all sessions within the thread. Featured threads included programming, software engineering, teaching with manipulatives, integrating computer science across disciplines, cybersecurity, and data science. There also was a foundational thread for educators who are new to K-8 computer science that provided information to prepare teachers for the computer science content that will be included this year for the first time on fourth- and sixth-grade state science testing.

The cybersecurity thread featured a short Capture the Flag contest to prepare teachers for upcoming events SICE Computing Outreach is hosting during National Cybersecurity Awareness month in October.

"The Flipping the Switch! Conference is a great demonstration of the commitment and capabilities of Indiana teachers to educate their students in the critical field of computer science," said Esfan Haghverdi, the executive associate dean for academic affairs at SICE. "Our school is committed to helping educators across the state empower students and provide the foundation for the study of computer science as they move into higher education."

SICE also announced CS Teacher U, an online K-12 teacher resource repository allowing teachers to download and utilize resources, lesson plans, best practices media clips and other content that can accelerate the infusion of computer science across the state.

CS Teacher U is a part of SICE's commitment to the CSforAll movement, which supports statewide K-12 computer science education.

For more on community outreach at SICE, visit our website.

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