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Project will introduce programming skills to secondary students through games

Matthew Berland

Matthew Berland

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(Oct. 28, 2010)--The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas at Austin will partner on a three-year, $474,000 National Science Foundation grant to help teach basic computer programming skills to middle school and high school students through computer games on popular hand-helds.

The Programming Standing Up project will be led by Matthew Berland, UTSA assistant professor of interdisciplinary learning and teaching, and Taylor Martin, UT Austin associate professor of curriculum and instruction.

The professors will design a soccer application called IPRO that can be played on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Students will construct the behavior of a robot player on a virtual soccer field by using a simplified visual programming language that will create programs in less than a minute.

"Many students feel computer science and engineering can be isolating, but this application will allow students to play the game simultaneously and interact socially as they share and build programs together," said Berland. "We are trying to leverage sociality -- really make it inherent to the experience as students work together to build better programs."

Berland plans to build on the local robotic competitions and camps gaining in popularity by introducing IPRO to students in the sixth through 12th grades.

"These students will benefit by learning the core competencies and core concepts of programming at a young age," Berland said. "It would be great if this project could help generate more student interest in the fields of computer science and engineering."

Berland joined UTSA in 2009. He received his doctoral degree in learning sciences from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

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The UTSA College of Education and Human Development is the leading provider of educators in the San Antonio area and one of the largest in Texas. Ranked third in the United States as producer of teacher-education degrees for Hispanics, the college is responsible for innovative research and grants in professional development, technology enhancement, health, school readiness, and bi-national and bicultural issues.

 

 

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Thursday, May 5, 5 p.m.

String Project Spring Concert

This end-of-semester concert will feature the 3rd through 8th grade students who have participated in the UTSA String Project this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus

Friday, May 6, 8 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, Curtis Vaughan Observatory invites everyone to join them for their monthly stargazing event on top of the Flawn Science Building.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory, Main Campus

Sunday, May 8, 1 p.m.

Accordions Across Culture

May’s Free Second Sunday at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures features "Accordions Across Cultures," with performances of Mexican, German and Czech accordion music, a documentary screening and crafts for the kids.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Monday, May 9, 8 a.m.

The Honeynet Project Workshop

This three-day event will focus on the tools, tactics and motives involved in computer and network attacks. Attendees from around the world will take part in world-class hands-on trainings and technical discussions.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 12, 4 p.m.

Master of Public Administration Open House

Visit with faculty, alumni and students to discuss the benefits of and requirements for a Master Degree in Public Administration and/or the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration & Leadership.
Meeting Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony One

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Sciences.
Alamodome

Saturday, May 14, 4 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Two

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Business, the College of Public Policy and University College.
Alamodome

Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Three

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Alamodome

Wednesday, May 18, 3 p.m.

The Great Staff Appreciation Event

The UTSA community is invited to honor the roughly 2,600 UTSA staff members who contribute to the success of the university and its students.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m.

Superintendent Certification Program Information Session

Join UTSA faculty and staff, current students, and area central office administrators/program alumni to learn about this exciting accelerated and web-enhanced program leading to Texas Superintendent Certification. The event is free and open to the public.
BVB 1.322, Downtown Campus


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