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Summer School for Teachers Includes Course on App Creation

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A small group of high school educators from northeast Kansas will be at the University of Kansas School of Engineering in June for a hands-on introduction to the world of cutting-edge app development and programming for Android tablets.

The two-day workshop, known as Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), is an initiative sponsored by Google to encourage more high school students to pursue a college degree in computer science or computer programming, with the eventual goal of producing more skilled workers to meet the demands of the industry.

“We typically find that by the time a student enters college, if they are not already interested in computer science, it may be too late,” said Arvin Agah, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the KU School of Engineering and CS4HS workshop organizer. “The idea is to reach out to high school teachers to show them what computer science has to offer and the amazing career opportunities that exist. The hope is that these teachers will have a deeper understanding of the field and will then be able to help foster students’ interest in the subject.”

Eight science and engineering teachers from high schools in Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence will participate in the CS4HS workshop, set for June 12-13 at Eaton Hall. In a session patterned after the same programming course taken by KU freshmen in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the teachers will have the chance to learn how to develop apps for Android tablets. The group also will meet with people working in the industry to learn about the career opportunities available to college graduates with a degree in computer science. KU faculty will share information about the computer science program at KU details on admissions, curriculum and scholarships.

The high school teachers also will receive an extra tool to help in the process of educating their students.

“Just like we do with college freshmen enrolled in our computer science courses, each teacher will be provided with an Android tablet. The gift from Google will enhance the hands-on experience during the workshop and enable them to showcase their work to their students when they return to class,” Agah said.

KU is one of more than 100 universities in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia selected to participate in Google’s 2012 CS4HS program.

“We are really hoping this experience will be a great benefit to teachers and students to open their eyes to career opportunities that exist in computer science,” Agah said.

Participating educators are from Basehor-Linwood High School, Free State High School, Lawrence High School, Seaman High School, Shawnee Mission East High School, Shawnee Mission South High School and The Center for Advanced Professional Studies, part of the Blue Valley School District.

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