From the NSF CE21 community meeting: Meet Lily Fae Pierre

I spent the last several days in New Orleans with 400 computer science educators, education researchers and policy makers at the National Science Foundation’s CE 21 community meeting. CE 21 is a new initiative to boost K-16 computer science education. Central to that effort is a commitment to strengthen computer science curricula and teaching at the high school level.

One of the most interesting people I met there was Lily Fae Pierre, a computer science teacher at Los Angeles High School. A former industrial engineer who became interested in technology as a resul of growing up on a family farm in Mississippi, Pierre uses chants and cheers to educate and engage her students. She allowed me to record one of her routines:

Scratching Across the Curriculum

This is a presentation for the Culturally Responsive Teaching Learning and Counseling Symposium, January 24, 2009 at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs College of Education. More information about the research described here is at

Two notes on operating the slideshow:

After the opening sequence, there are pictures of the program participants. When those pictures stop cycling, press the space bar to reveal the text slides.
To advance the text slides, click on them.

Learn more about this project

Journalism education as a tool for culturally responsive teaching

These slides are from a presentation I gave in January 2008 at the Culturally Responsive Teaching, Leadership  and Counseling Symposium at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

What “premium news content” will you pay for?

Steve Outing asks a great question about the emergence of various “freemium” content models for news outlets:
“[W}hat is this premium content that newspaper companies can produce for the web (and mobile devices) that will get online users spending?”

Content that serves the needs of diverse communities might be the key to building successful “freemium” models.

Read the post, comments and Outing’s follow-up post for some interesting ideas. I think there are some niche possibilities for creating products tailored to the needs our increasingly diverse communities.  My state, New Jersey, is both racially diverse and home to immigrants from more than 100 nations according to a 2009 study described in this article from the Newark Star-Ledger. I’m a middle-class, suburban-dwelling, physically-challenged, working African American mother who has lived and worked in the state for most of the last 35 years. Based on that experience and those of others I’ve met along the way, here are some of the kinds of information that people I know look for:

  • For people considering moving into a new community:
    • How diverse is the community, both economically and culturally?
      • Are there multicultural hair salons?
      • What’s the range of religious institutions represented there?
      • What kinds of multicultural civic institutions are represented?
    • The school report card doesn’t tell me Help me understand how the school system will affect my children.
      • Is there an achievement gap in the schools? If so, what measures are being taken to address it?
      • Are there support groups for children of color, such as the invaluable African American Parents Support Group in the West-Windsor Plainsboro district?
      • How do the schools handle the needs of diverse learners? Show me their commitment to culturally responsive teaching.
      • What enrichment programs are available and what do they cost? (In the affluent West-Windsor Plainsboro district, I had to pay for my daughter’s clarinet in order for her to participate in her elementary school’s music program. In the middle-class Ewing school system where she finished high school, instruments were free.  It’s not the only factor in deciding where to live, but when you have a child who is serious about participating in the arts or other enrichment activities, knowing the costs matters.
  • For people with disabilities:
    • I’d pay for quality, consistently-updated information about transportation affordability and accessibility.
    • How about an Augmented Reality app that would allow me to hold my phone up to a building and trigger a map of accessible building entrances?
  • For small business owners and non-profit administrators:
    • What are the local implications of federal and state incentives for building green businesses?
    • How about a comprehensive guide to technical assistance workshops, webinars and other services that will help business owners and non-profit managers understand what they need to do to qualify for relevant grant and loan programs?

That’s just a couple of thoughts off the top of my head. What are your thoughts?