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LU hosts computing workshop for teachers

workshopSeven Lamar University undergraduate and four graduate computer science students are taking on the role of teacher this week as 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 one-week workshop targets K-12 teachers who teach computer science, science, technology and math.  The workshop introduces teachers from across Southeast Texas to fundamental computing concepts where they are learning Snap!, a freely available teaching tool. Snap! allows users 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#.  During the workshop, the teachers will develop curriculum materials for the subjects they will teach in the following semesters with the help of Lamar’s workshop tutors, who are computer science undergraduate students.

David Hemmenway, of Labelle, and Josh Wilson, of Buna, are LU undergraduates leading the workshop. The pair developed the one-week workshop.  In addition, student tutors for the workshop are Alexander Strong of Beaumont; Hannah Leleux of Bridge City; Shane Granger of Orange; Timothy Holcombe of Lumberton; and Markus Schultz of Groves.

Teachers participating in the workshop are: Christy Gibson of Kirbyville Elementary School in Kirbyville; Misty Gibson and Kristen Godwin of Evadale Elementary and Junior High School in Evadale; Paula Chastain of West Brook High School in Beaumont; Alecia Boling of Martin Elementary in Beaumont; Deirdre L. Davenport of Beaumont Independent School District in Central MMHS; Cori Coburn-Shiflett of W.R. Smith Sr. Science & Medical Technology Magnet Middle School in Beaumont; Patricia Bamber, Ethel Bush, and Gretchen Buchanan of Memorial High School in Port Arthur; Delores Williams of Clifton J. Ozen Magnet High School in Beaumont; Katherine Whitney of Central Middle School in Nederland; and Joseph Johnson of Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Port Arthur.

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 and STAIRSTEP programs.  Both programs are funded by NSF at Lamar and intend to increase the number of students graduating in computer science and related fields.  This workshop will be offered each summer through 2015.