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Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Champions of CS & CT Playground

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Sunday, November 29, 7:30–9:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Renee Becker-Blau  
Tina Boyle Whyte  
Edie Cheng  
Anita Chetty  
Tonya Davis  
Ruthe Farmer  
Dr. Chuck Gardner  
Shaina Glass  
William Glass  
Bruce Jackson  
Angie Kalthoff  
Joseph Kmoch  
Dr. Tom Lauwers  
Jeff Miller  
Samina Mondal  
Kevin Nolten  
Karen North  
Alan Paller  
Hadi Partovi  
Karen Peterson  
Dr. Tatiana Portnaya  
Corey Rogers  
Ronel Schodt  
Chelsea Skidd  
Dr. Amanda Strawhacker  
Jeff Tancil  
Michael Tempel  
Anthony Todd Taylor  
Alicia Verweij  
Margaret Willett  
Heidi Williams  
Jill Work  

This playground is focused on six important areas of computing (PD, Advocacy, Physical Computing, Computing in a Virtual Environment, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, Cybersecurity). Within each virtual room, participants will find educators sharing ideas and resources that supports ISTE’s Computational Thinking Competencies and CSTA/ISTE Computer Science Standards.

Find us here:

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: TBD - according to spreadsheet

Please reserve 4 laptops for our playgrounds, 2 macs and 2 pcs

Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Computer Science Network
The mission of the Computing Teachers Network is to advance the practice of teaching computing and computer science in PK-12 education that meets needs both for all students and for those wishing to study some aspect of the discipline in more depth.

The CSN Playground is focused around ideas, issues and practical examples which support our mission of teaching and learning about computing. We are focused on both the newly released ISTE Standards for Educators of Computer Science as well as the ISTE Standards for Students, both of which are extensively driven by the Computational Thinking framework.

Here is our general playground guidance from ISTE's program committee: All playground content is meant to be educator led. Vendor presence is not acceptable. This is an opportunity for educators to share how they are using tools in their classroom. It is not an exhibitor hall. Product presence in playgrounds is acceptable as long as the equipment is being used in the playground by presenting educators.

We want all exhibits to identify aspects of Computational Thinking they support and be primarily staffed by educators and students. Areas included are computer science and information technology areas. From a degree, program or career perspective, this would include the ACM Curriculum areas of Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Information Systems and Computer Engineering.

Our members come from a very diverse educational component – many are teachers in the classroom, but we also have teacher educators, media specialists, some in education services (such as consultants or providers of outside content). Our membership draws from many of the 26 Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). Our members are looking for ways to to encourage the creative use the technology including its modification and adaptation, by students solving interesting, relevant and new problems in the classroom. In this way we meet our mission of teaching and learning about computing.

As indicated earlier, for ISTE 2020 our Playground will again focus on Computational Thinking (CT). The knowledge, skills, dispositions and vocabulary are defined and exemplified in three documents from ISTE's Computational Thinking page of resources.



Supporting research


More [+]


Renee Becker-Blau, Reinvented Magazine

Renee Becker-Blau, (RBB), is a community-building, opportunity-chasing, trail-blazing, #STEMINIST who believes the future is built better together and our youth will change the world. I want to ensure that EVERY student, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status, has the opportunity to CHOOSE if they want to pursue a career in STEM, instead of life choosing for them. By day I'm the President of FIRST Indiana Robotics, a NPO K-12 STEM mentoring program, by night I work remotely as a Talent Development Associate with MKE Tech Hub Coalition and volunteer with Reinvented Magazine as COO.

Tina Boyle Whyte, CSforALL

Tina Boyle Whyte is currently the Project Director for the JROTC-CS Demonstration Project at CSforALL. She has been an educator for the last 20 years. As a teacher, Tina implemented Computer Science at her local high school and has been an advocate for computer science and cybersecurity for all students for over 5 years. Tina teaches at Marquette University in the Computer Science Department. Tina is a 30 year retired Senior Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force Reserves. She brings passion to the work that she does serving JROTC high schools and cadets across the nation.

Edie Cheng, NCWIT

Edie Cheng is Director of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, comprehensive program to provide opportunity and encouragement to female technologists from K-12 to career. Edie is passionate about helping young women and girls, particularly to explore computing and the intersection of technology and media. Edie has been a digital media producer, project manager, entrepreneur, and business consultant. Edie started her career as a software developer and holds a degree in computer science from Brown University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Anita Chetty, East Ridge High School

Anita Chetty is a senior at East Ridge High School. She has been a key member of FLL and FTC Robotics teams for 8 years, and qualified for the 2018 and 2019 FTC World Championships. She currently participates as a youth mentor for local FTC and FLL teams. Outside of robotics, Anita plays varsity tennis; volunteers at the Animal Humane Society; leads NHS, YANA, and Women in STEM chapters; and volunteers with Target’s TWIST committee. She aims to major in neuroscience and to foster her love for computer science with an interdisciplinary minor.

Tonya Davis, Education Leaders of Color

Tonya graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BS in Computer Science and a MBA . She started her career as a Marketing Representative for IBM selling computers, software, and services to the Education Industry when classroom computers were first being installed! She then accepted a position with Texas Instruments as a Senior Product Manager. Her classroom experience includes 7 years teaching math and computer science and advocating for STEM education. She is passionate about closing the skills gap and making an impact in the CS education space.

Ruthe Farmer, CSforALL
Dr. Chuck Gardner, CYBER.ORG

Chuck Gardner serves as Director of Curriculum for CYBER.ORG. He has 10+ years of classroom experience and an EdD (Educational Leadership) and an MBA (Marketing) from the University of Phoenix and a BS (Marine Transportation) from the US Merchant Marine Academy. After leaving the maritime industry to became a career-changing educator, he taught middle school, then moved to high school where he first encountered CYBER.ORG and wrote content for them. As the director of curriculum, he now oversees content authors and subject matter experts and helps deliver professional development workshops to a national teacher audience.

Shaina Glass, CSTA (CS Teachers Association)

Shaina Glass is currently the Program Director of Technology Applications & STEM in Aldine Independent School District. She has been in education for the last 16 years, educating students and teachers alike. Her goal has always been to share her knowledge and love of learning in new, innovative ways with ALL Learners (young and older).

William Glass, Terrapin
Bruce Jackson, Kai's Education ~ AR VR Robots

A passion for technology led Bruce to create Kai’s Clan, a more exciting way to teach coding. As a father himself, Bruce understands the importance of computer science in education and saw a way to make a positive impact through his collaborative coding platform.

Angie Kalthoff, Capstone

Angie is a former elementary educator and technology integrationist. She earned a M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning and holds various certification and ambassador titles with a variety of EdTech tools and organizations, including Google Innovator and Seesaw. She has also taught at the university level in education programs to pre-service and master level educators and has created and hosted a variety of professional development and learning opportunities for fellow educators. Angie has been directly involved in a variety of projects – ranging from facilitating computer science courses to her work connecting research and classroom practice.

Joseph Kmoch, Milwaukee Public Schools

Joe has taught HS math, CS and IT courses from 1970-2004. He has been very active in the CS community throughout his teaching career and into “retirement” continuing to advocate for more CS in schools as well as infusing Computational Thinking throughout the K-12 curriculum. He is in his tenth year as coordinator of the NCWIT Aspirations Program Wisconsin Affiliate. He has co-led eleven CS playgrounds at ISTE and continues to publish a computer science newsletter which has served as the ISTE Computer Science Network newsletter for 14 years. In 2020 he received a Stemmie for Individual Accomplishment by STEMForward.

Dr. Tom Lauwers, BirdBrain Technologies

Tom founded BirdBrain Technologies in 2010 after receiving his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering. Tom seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom. Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.

Jeff Miller, KinderLab Robotics
Samina Mondal, National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT)

Samina Mondal is an undergraduate student from Washington D.C. studying Business IT & Media Communications. She serves as a Public Affairs Intern for the US Naval Research Laboratory, working directly with media, government relations, and STEM outreach. Additionally, Samina is extremely passionate about providing K-12 students cybersecurity education through her initiative, Through a diverse series of curriculums, her team works to teach students how to detect online threats, gain a better understanding of how the internet works & spark an interest in the STEM careers of the future. Contact:

Karen North, NCWIT / AAUW / TX4CS

Karen North is a retired computer science and math teacher. As a White House champion of change for CS education she continues to advocate for equitable access for CT education in public and political forums. She is the Houston NCWIT Aspirations co-coordinator. Karen has been a change agent for computer science education since 1985. She served on both the 2000 and 2011 committees that wrote the computer science standards for Texas, successfully fought to keep computer science certification for teachers and has played an integral part in increasing programming and computational thinking in the K-8 Texas math standards.

Alan Paller, SANS Technology Institute

Alan is the founder and Research Director of SANS -- the accredited college with 165,000 alumni who are security professionals protecting more than 10,000 organizations. He chaired the National Task Force on Cyber Skills for the Department of Homeland Security and is widely recognized as the nation's foremost expert on cybersecurity curricula and what students need to master in order to excel in cybersecurity careers. Alan was named by President Clinton to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and by President George Bush as Azimuth Award winner - the non-governmental individual who did the most to improve Federal Information Technology.

Hadi Partovi,

Hadi Partovi is a tech entrepreneur and investor, and CEO of the education nonprofit In 2013 Hadi and his twin brother Ali launched the education nonprofit, which Hadi continues to lead full-time as CEO. has established computer science classes reaching 30% of US students, created the most broadly used curriculum platform for K-12 computer science, and launched the global Hour of Code movement that has reached hundreds of millions of students spanning every country in the world.

Karen Peterson, National Girls Collaborative

Karen A. Peterson is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer for the National Girls Collaborative. She has over 25 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, university instructor, teacher educator, and researcher. NGCP seeks to maximize access to shared resources for public and private sector organizations interested in expanding girls’ participation in STEM. The overarching goal of the NGCP is to use the leverage of a network to create the tipping point for gender equity in STEM. Currently, NGCP serves 41 states, facilitating collaboration between organizations serving 20.15 million girls and 9.5 million boys.

Dr. Tatiana Portnaya, ADVANCED Academic Programs of Roslyn
Corey Rogers, Grant Wood AEA

Corey Rogers is Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood Area Education Agency, serving 32 districts in Southeast Iowa. Corey has experience as a middle school STEM & Computer Science Teacher, Media Specialist, and School Improvement Consultant. She is passionate about bringing Computer Science to all students in Iowa and serves as president of the CSTA Iowa Chapter. Corey is wife to Glen and mom to Rory & Howard. She's an avid reader, fan of podcasts, loves over-complicated board games, proud Ravenclaw, and yogi. she|her

Ronel Schodt, Autonomous Works

Ronel Schodt is a voracious learner, adventurer, edupreneur, and partner in learning with teachers and students around the world. Ronel is an Education Manager currently working at Kai’s Clan. Driven by her passion to inspire in others a love of learning, Ronel’s expertise is grounded in how we integrate digital technologies for developing global competencies and preparing students to succeed as next-generation learners.

Chelsea Skidd, The Spence School

Chelsea has been teaching in NYC for ten years. She has taught all branches of science to middle school students, but specializes in the physical sciences. With a dual masters degree in special and general education, Chelsea uses her pedagogical knowledge to bring science and computer science to life for all learners. Since computer science is part of the science curriculum at Spence, she created engineering challenges that are interwoven to build upon skills and create a strong STEAM foundation for her students. She currently teaches 6th grade science and computer science and 9th grade physics at The Spence School.

Dr. Amanda Strawhacker, Tufts University, ECT Graduate Program

Amanda is the Associate Director of the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Graduate Certificate Program at Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. Her work involves teaching, developing curriculum, and professional development around educational technology. Prior to her role at ECT, Amanda earned her Ph.D. at the DevTech Research Group. She has contributed to the research and development of several technologies including the ScratchJr programming app, the KIBO robotics kit, the Early Childhood Makerspace at Tufts, and most recently the CRISPEE bioengineering kit

Michael Tempel, Logo Foundation

Michael Tempel has been engaged in computer science education for over 35 years as a teacher, administrator, and program developer in a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. He is currently President of the Logo Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization devoted to supporting educators, parents, and students in their engagement with creative computing. He is a member of the leadership team and past Professional Development Chair of ISTE's Computer Science Network.

Alicia Verweij, EDGEucating LLC

Alicia Verweij is an educator committed to collaborative, engaging learning. After years as a successful business owner, her passion for learning and children led her into the field of education. As a teaching veteran, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Alternate Route Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education. Her passion is in Gifted Education and the implementation of STEM education. Alicia’s goal is to teach children to think critically, problem solve, and function in an ever-changing digital world so that they will be prepared for future careers.

Margaret Willett, Westside High School

Meg Willett is a computer science teacher at Westside High School in Houston, TX. She has taught there five years and has recently partnered with Amazon Future Engineers and Microsoft TEALS programs. She attended the Logo Institute in the summer of 2020 (virtually) after which she brought physical computing into her curriculum. Prior to becoming a teacher, Meg worked in industry as a Quality and Manufacturing Engineer. She obtained her B.S. in Industrial/Systems Engineering from N.C. State University.

Heidi Williams, Marquette University

Heidi Williams is a passionate coding and computational thinking advocate. She has over 25 years of experience in education including 17 years as a 6-8th grade teacher, 6 years as an instructional and technology coach, and 5 years as a K-8 administrator. Williams has shared her passion for integrating coding into the curriculum at local, state, regional and national conferences, and many have leveraged her expertise for conference presentations, coding coaching, professional development and K-12 scope and sequence alignment of computer science skills throughout the curriculum. Visit for a wealth of CS/CT resources.

Jill Work, French American School of Princeton

Jill Work teaches Preschool-8th grade Engineering, Coding, Circuitry, and Robotics at the French American School of Princeton, NJ, where her third grade class will beta test the new Funkey Freedom. Her background includes coaching for robotics teams, invention conventions, and the Future City competition, judging for Future Engineers challenges, developing maker and STEAM events/workshops, and teaching library, technology, music, and theatre. She has presented at the New York Maker Faire, the ISTE national conference in Philadelphia, the AASL national conference in Phoenix, the NAIS Innovation Symposium, Lead Like a Girl, and numerous local and regional conferences.

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