picture of Michael Spear Michael Spear [CV]

Associate Professor
Computer Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
(610) 758-3285
spear@cse.lehigh.edu

K-5 Outreach

In the spring of 2012, Armon Shariati (class of 2015) and I created a robotics platform based on Android phones. Using this platform, we have created a series of fun and interactive activities that serve as the foundation for Science/Technology visits to K-12 classrooms.

Information about our inaugural outreach event can be found here, along with information for Computer Science professionals interested in using our platform, and teachers interested in scheduling a visit to their schools.

I've conducted demonstrations using this platform at the K-1 level in 2012, 2013, and 2014. I've also run a 6-hour course in computer programming for 4th and 5th graders in the fall of 2014, and a 6-hour course in broad computational topics for 1st-5th graders in the fall of 2013.

9-13 Outreach

Computer games are a thrilling way to blend math, computer science, music, and art. I developed an easy-to-use game platform, built on top of the LibGDX system, through which students with limited exposure to computer science can create games for Android phones. This platform has been used in a first encounter project for first-year engineers at Lehigh, to introduce them to topics in Computer Science. I've also used it in three 3-hour programs for high school students as part of Star Academy, as well as in a one-hour presentation for 100 fourth grade students. It's also widely used during our annual mobiLEHIGH competition, and there are even a few professional game developers using it. The code is available on github.

Outreach at Lehigh

The Lehigh student body is full of creative and talented scientists, business leaders, and artists. In an effort to help more of our community understand the deep relationship between computer science and the fields they love, I helped our student ACM chapter to organize a campus-wide mobile programming competition. Details and photos are available at the mobiLEHIGH 2013 website.

At mobiLEHIGH 2014, we added a middle school outreach component, and brough 60 eighth-grade students to Lehigh for an hour of discussion about computational thinking, an hour at the final mobiLEHIGH event, and then a Q&A session to discuss how to prepare for college. We repeated this at mobiLEHIGH 2015, with about 80 middle school students.

It's never too early to start planning for mobiLEHIGH 2016!