Planning For CSTA 2019


Looking forward to flying out to Phoenix for CSTA-2019 Saturday morning. The conference doesn't officially start until Sunday, Monday for me since I'm not doing any of the pre-conference workshops. We'll have most of Saturday as long as we're up to it, Sunday, and Monday morning. Actually, there is the GitHub reception on Sunday evening so that's kind of official conference stuff.

As to the conference, I'm super looking forward to it. To me CSTA is a people conference. SIGCSE by contrast is more of a sessions conference. SIGCSE is bigger and less intimate. I have a great time there catching up with friends from across the country and when my asocial self manages, making new ones but for me it's more content/session driven. There are always a bunch of sessions where I say to myself "I really should go to that."

CSTA is more intimate so it seems easier to meet and talk to new people, even for asocial me. On the other hand, I find fewer "must see" sessions. This makes sense though. I no longer teach K12 and I had already designed and taught complete course sequences going from beginner through college level before the first CSTA conference.

Don't get me wrong. There are lots of great sessions. It's more that many of the sessions I'm interested in are more "that looks cool" or "interesting" rather than, "I really need to see that for what I'm doing or where I'm at in my career." Maybe it's just that it's really hard for the sessions to match the value added from CSTA's "hallway track" which I think is through the roof.

Here are the sessions I'm zeroing in on:

On Monday, the "Creativity in the K-12 Computing Classroom" BOF looks interesting so I'll probably try to hit it. On Saturday, I'm curious about the "Advanced CS Concepts in High School: One Tool to Rule Them All" session. Based on the description, I'm curious how much is about advanced concepts and how much about tooling and resources that let you get to interesting data and applications. The "How to teach AI across K-12" session could also be interesting.

JonAlf and I will be doing our session on using GitHub in the next block so I pretty much have to be there :-). In the afternoon, I'm looking at the "You can teach Machine Learning to HS students" mostly because I'm curious as to how the presenter's thoughts on the subject can add to what I've done in my classes. Actually, that's also why I'm interested in the earlier AI session. I'm also intrigued by Ed Campos' Bootstrap Data talk but I won't directly be going down that road in any classes soon so have to prioritize.

For the last block, I'm intrigued by the Embroidery talk but Nifty Assignments will probably win out.

I haven't looked over Wednesday's schedule yet - I'll leave that for Tuesday evening.

I don't think I'll be going to most of these sessions, I'll probably spend a good amount of time at the GitHub booth hopefully talking shop with my fellow educators.

Besides, when I'm at the GitHub booth I also get to hang out with Devorah (my wife). Did I mention, she's doing a very cool knitting/crocheting for charity project that you all should check out?

Hope to see all my old friends and meet many new ones in a few days!!!!