I currently teach Computer Science as part of a weekly program to approximately 500 sixth graders in the Los Altos School District, in Los Altos, California. In my role as the district's Computer Science Integration Specialist, I am involved with the STEM program in the district to develop a computational thinking program for K-5 in all the elementary schools in the Los Altos School district.
I have taught Computer Science, Digital Art and Visual Art in the Los Altos school district for 8 years. I have also taught Pre-Algebra to 6th graders. I am known as Mrs. V by my students.
Prior to my teaching career, I worked for over 10 years in Silicon Valley in technology as a computer scientist and technology entrepreneur. I hold undergraduate and graduate degrees in Computer Science, a Certificate in Studio Art and the California Single Subject teaching credential in Math.
I have presented at several conferences - ISTE, CSTA, ACSD. See list here. I have written about my work in NPR's MindShift, ISTE's L&L, CSTA Voice and EdSurge. See list of Articles/Publications on my work. I am the CSTA Board Rep for K-8 for the year 2014-2015.
About my work and the 'Computers for Creativity' site
My passion is to show students how to use computers as a creativity tool. Both computer programming and digital art allows students to use a computer to create their own content and express their creativity. It also makes learning math and technology relevant. My focus is on the elementary and middle school years, and in getting more girls interested in computing. Besides the Los Altos school district, I have also done work in the Rocketship charter school in San Jose and the Steven Creek Elementary school in the Cupertino school district in California. Besides teaching in the classroom, I have also taught programming at the Silicon Valley CoderDojo.
I have been teaching programming for over 5 years and hundreds of students (rough estimate 2500 students! ) have written their first few lines of code in my class. Some of their projects and feedback is on this site, under Student Showcase.
As my personal commitment to CS Advocacy, I write articles, and present at conferences. I am one of the Education advisors to code.org http://code.org . I am also the K-8 Board Rep for CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) and I am an active part of ISTE"s SIGCT (Special Interest Group in Computing Teachers).
I develop all the curriculum for my programs and these programs :
I created the 'Computers for Creativity' site as a place to put up student work, and share my teaching experience with other educators.
My lesson plans have been well tested by hundreds of students and some of these lessons are available in the Resources section of my site. If you use any of these lessons in your class, do send me email and let me know how it was received. I also have some digital art related content (Inkscape tutorials) on my old site www.digitalartforall.com