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|Fred Martin Candidate Statement|
UNIVERSITY FACULTY REPRESENTATIVE
Fred G. Martin
Now is the most critical juncture for the CSTA since it was founded in 2006. President Obama has just announced $4B of funding to bring CS Education into the school day. Now more than ever, CSTA's singular focus on the K-12 teaching professional is needed.
I have been working in computing education for 25 years. I co-created the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System and launched robot contests as way to learn about computing. As a university faculty researcher and teacher, I am passionate about understanding how students learn the key ideas in our field. Recently I am working with MIT on the App Inventor project, collaborating with two urban districts on a middle school computing curriculum where students make apps for social good.
To me, the most important thing is teacher professional development. This is the mission of the CSTA, and I believe its success and your success are paramount.
WHAT EXPERIENCES AND/OR INTERESTS IN K-12 COMPUTER SCIENCE/INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION QUALIFY YOU TO SERVE AS A LEADER FOR THE ORGANIZATION?
I was a member of Seymour Papert's research group beginning in 1986. Some of my earliest experiences were in teacher workshops, helping teachers learn the Logo language, driving the turtle around the screen on Apple IIs and IBM PCjrs. I internalized Seymour's central idea that when writing a program, you are making a concrete object that reflects your understandings.
Since then, I've organized in teacher workshops to learn robotics, science using data visualization, and mobile app design. Most recently I served as a panelist for the state of Massachusetts, helping develop voluntary Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards for K-12.
WHAT PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH CSTA?
My academic department joined the CSTA as an institutional member in 2009. I have served as university representative of the Greater Boston CSTA chapter since its formation in October 2010. I worked with the chapter's co-presidents to produce a workshop co-sponsored by CSTA and Google in summer 2012. Over 50 teachers participated in the two-day program.
I was elected as University Representative to CSTA in 2014. During my term, I have contributed to decision-making at the board level, served as a member of the curriculum review committee, and served as co-chair of the computations thinking task force and funding committee.
WHAT LEADERSHIP SKILLS DO YOU HAVE THAT WOULD ENRICH THE BOARD AND THE ORGANIZATION?
As a university faculty member, I engage in many leadership roles. I lead research grants with faculty and staff colleagues, working with teams of students. I serve on and co-chair university committees – sometimes producing quick, results-oriented products, and other times addressing complex, long-term challenges. I consider teaching classes as a leadership role too.
I thrive on working together with other people toward common goals. I enjoy learning from others' insights, and I always want the teams that I am part of to reach a consensus on how to carry out or work.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR K-12 COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION?The most important issue for K-12 computer science education is teacher professional development and the recognition of the crucial role of the classroom teacher. Recent efforts have focused on creation of learning standards and curricula. These are essential, but the classroom teacher brings these materials to life for our students. It is the teacher who inspires our students and encourages those who are less confident. As I have come to more deeply understand the mission of the CSTA, I recognize how important it is for teachers to be represented and heard.