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LU hosts one-week computing workshop for K-12 teachers

Ten Lamar University undergraduate computer science students are taking on the role of teacher this week asKathryn Ballard, David Hemmenway, Elizabeth Hancock they lead a workshop to teach K-12 school teachers fundamental computing concepts and help the teachers develop curriculum materials for the coming year.

The free workshop targets middle school and high school teachers who teach computer science, science, technology and math. It is designed to introduce teachers from across Southeast Texas to fundamental computing concepts and to help them learn Alice, an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create animation for telling stories, playing interactive games or creating videos to share on the Internet. A freely available teaching tool, Alice allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts by using drag and drop tiles to create a program where instructions correspond to standard statements in a production-oriented programming language such as Java, C++ and C#.

Lamar University undergraduates leading the workshop are Zebulun Barnett of Lumberton and Ethan Hasson of Winnie, who develop and teach the one-week workshop. Student tutors for the workshop are Nick Dzugan of Corbin, Ky.; Jose Lopez of Dayton; Audie Sumaray of Fredericksburg, Va.; David Hemmenway of LaBelle; Leandra Mesia of Lumberton; Valerie Juarez of Sour Lake; Daniel Vincent of Port Arthur; and Quentin Mayo of Tuskegee, Ala.

Teachers participating in the workshop are Paula Chastain of West Brook High School in Beaumont; Kathryn Ballard and Elizabeth Hancock of North Alternative School in Houston; Susie Brooks of Henderson Middle School and Craig Herman and Ellen Zimmerman of Hardin Jefferson High School, all in Hardin Jefferson ISD; Katherine Whitney of Central Middle School in Nederland; and Arlette Deal of Abraham Lincoln Middle School, Norma Clark of Memorial High School, Kenneth Daigre of Stephen F. Austin Middle School and Edolia Anderson and Brooke LeJeune of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, all in Port Arthur ISD.

The workshop, which began Monday and continues through Friday, is sponsored by the Lamar University Department of Computer Science and the National Science Foundation. Jane Liu, associate professor of computer science at LU, organized the event, which takes place on the Lamar University campus.

Students leading the sessions are undergraduate research assistants with Liu’s High Performance Computing Lab (HPCL) at LU. Student tutors are with the HPCL, INSPIRED, STAIRSTEP or Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. All these programs at Lamar are funded by the National Science Foundation and are intended to increase the number of students graduating in computer science and related fields.