2013 NCWIT Summit - Flashtalk, "What Success Looks Like" by Seth Reichelson

August 14, 2013

[silence]

[music]

Jeffrey Forbes:  We have Seth Reichelson who's Lake Brantley High School computing teacher, who's going to show us what success looks like.

Seth Reichelson:  I'm Seth and this is what a normal AP Computer Science looks like in high school.

[background music]

Seth:  It's usually empty.

[laughter]

Seth:  It's kind of like Tucson, except without cactuses. It's nothing. That's something that I really don't understand because computer science is the most exciting field there is. I don't know why every school doesn't have something like 300 people taking AP.

I changed schools three years ago and my school had zero people enrolled. I was a trained teacher from NCWIT Tapestry Workshop. There was a storm brewing.

[thunder clap]

Seth:  I've been to 10 Tapestry Workshops.

[thunder clap]

Seth:  I now know how to keep that excitement without the stereotyping. What I'm going to show you in the next three‑something minutes is what a high school would look like if computer science kept the excitement, but got rid of the stereotypes.

This is Lake Brantley High School.

[background music]

Seth:  The top girl is an average cheerleader, but she is an NCWIT national winner. The bottom two are the captains. We have football captains. That trophy is not for coding ‑‑ should be though.

[laughter]

Seth:  ...because they can all code ‑‑ 15 seconds could seem like a long time if you're up here.

[laughter]

Seth:  We had AP Computer Science king and queen. That really did happen. I thought it was really funny. We have about 4,000 or 5,000 people watching that parade. That's their impression of computer science. I'm pretty sure that fits my stereotype.

I do a lot of use of puppies. It's part of my CF4P project that's to bring 4,000 puppies into 4,000 high schools.

[laughter]

Seth:  That's a project that the National Science Foundation is not working on.

[laughter]

Seth:  That girl is my second‑grade outreach project. That girl turned down Julliard because she wanted a dual major in dance and computer science. Yeah, I mean look at those arms.

[laughter]

Seth:  That's my kid's second grade class, so it's pretty cool.

We taught that girl, on her aspirations, she said she wanted to work with autistic students. How could I bring that together? We taught autistic spectrum students how to code for IBM. That boy held the other boy's hand for the full hour. That's the three autistic kids. They felt like champions that day.

The superintendent, other guys with suits and stuff were all there. I have a suit. I bought it and it's the suit.

This is my Girl Scout program. I combine my interior design class where all the girls are, they helped us build the cave and we taught little Girl Scouts how to code. They reason why I picked the interior design class to do a project with is because that's where all the girls are.

This is CS Ed week, and I wanted to do something with the little baby class, I forget what it's called. That little kid over there raising his hand, he drank five sodas. I am not cut out for that, that's why I need help on that.

The Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy stopped by. He just was walking by. He was giving a speech or something. I'm like, "Sit down." So I made him code. This is one of our marathon coding sessions. We went from noon to 10:00. He happened to walk by so I made him code and then take a picture.

Puppies. They're just not funding it. I don’t know. Puppies work and that's based on no research at all.

[laughter]

Seth:  But that was one of our marathon coding sessions and we took a puppy break. Anytime you needed relief, you just go in the puppy room. It works. There's some controversy ‑‑ puppies are babies. I don't use babies because of the biting.

[laughter]

Seth:  That's some of my girls. That got newspaper coverage and a lot of girls joined. IBM mastered the mainframe. Two of those girls are NCWIT national winners. I had them as freshman and then two years later, each one won it. Vanessa Penyon, on top is Courtney.

Seth:  Fifteen seconds, woo. These are our state winners. There's the suit I was talking about. It's gray, I think. Some guy picked it out. We have a lot of winners.

I really don't understand why there are not 300 students. This is my first year. We went from 0 to 60. That's in registration. I only got to talk to those people for an hour. Everything Ms. Kuhn taught me, I just said, even if I didn't understand it. I'm like, "We'll change the world." I don't know what that means, but the girls were like, "Yeah!"

[laughter]

Seth:  This was last year. We had 144 students. They were around 45 percent female. Never tell me you're the mascot because I'll make you wear it. I don't care how hot it is.

This is our last slide. This is our past year. We had over 300 students.

[applause]

Seth:  The only thing that is scary is what will happen next. If any of you have any ideas, I'll be hosting a s'mores party after hours. We're going to be making real s'mores. But, bring it. Thanks.

[applause]



 

Transcription by CastingWords