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February 25, 2013

Workshop to link math, video games

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — The connection between math homework and video games will be demonstrated during an upcoming workshop for local educators. 

Bootstrap, a curriculum and software package that teaches students to program their own video games using an algebraic programming language, will be presented during a March 9 workshop at the State University College at Oneonta. 

Bootstrap founder Emmanuel Schanzer will lead the workshop, which is aimed at middle school and high school teachers, according to a media release. A computer science graduate from Cornell University and doctoral education student at Harvard University, Schanzer started Bootstrap in 2006 with a single class in South Boston and now works with students in more than a dozen states across the country. 

Schanzer explained that his work teaching algebra to Boston high school students made him reflect on his background in computer programming. 

“All day long computer programmers are writing and testing functions,” Schanzer said in the release. “If I could teach students how to program, I’d be teaching them how to think about functions.”

Bootstrap has received accolades and support from such companies as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, as well the National Science Foundation. This year, a Bootstrap student named Zora Ball was called “the youngest game programmer in history,” and Bootstrap has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, and Huffington Post.

The local workshop will begin with a discussion of the cognitive challenges of algebra, the pitfalls of using programming, and an overview of the research behind Bootstrap. The bulk of the day will offer hands-on exposure to the curriculum, in which teachers can experience an accelerated version of the class. During this time, Schanzer will discuss pedagogical techniques, differentiation strategies and more.

For program information, email Schanzer at, Laura Munteanu at, or Sen Zhang at 

Registration, at a cost of $20 per person, is due Friday for those who wish to attend. Thirty seats are available. To register or for more information, email or fax 436-2580 with name, school district, grade/content and home phone number. A registration form available at should also be returned. Checks may be made payable to Unadilla Valley Central School and mailed to CRTC, Bugbee School, SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY 13820.