Last week was the first ever national Computer Science Education week in the US. I Twittered (tweeted?) quite a few links to announcements, interviews and web sites (including Microsoft Research’s CS Ed Week site) during the course of the week. I really hope that CSEdWeek will draw some needed attention to the issue of improving and increasing computer science education in the future. Rather than link to all the CSEdWeek links I had I thought I would just do one. The article is Computing Our Children's Future, an op-ed by Maria Klawe, Andrew Chien, Rick Rashid and Alfred Spector on HuffPost. That includes people from Intel, Microsoft and Google as well at Harvey Mudd University. We’re all agreed on the need for CS education. An excerpt is below.
To the age-old question -- "What do you want to do when you grow up?" -- children today give many modern answers: "Help feed hungry families." "Prevent and cure diseases." "Find sources of renewable energy." "Understand the universe."
One clear path leads to each of these aspirations: the study of computer science. Computer models and applications enable farmers to increase crop yields, HIV-positive patients in Africa to receive lifesaving treatment, industry to reduce its carbon footprint, and explorers to study the stars. Computing has become the universal underpinning of scientific advancement and economic activity.
Now for some other links. I see that the governor of Texas, Rick Perry Announces State Investment in Robotics Education Programs. Long story short, Texas is putting some serious money into promoting robotics programs in high schools in conjunction with FIRST Tech Challenge. I’m a fan of all the FIRST Robotics programs because they involve turning consumers into creators. It involves engineering of several types, computer science, and many more things in a fun and interesting experience.
Microsoft Partners in Education program announced their new Partners in Learning Network, free public/private communities for teachers. Join & get AutoCollage & Songsmith free. Those are tools you can use to help excite your students who are multimedia focused.
Robb Cutler, past president of the CSTA, had another good post on the CSTA blog When Technicalities Interfere with Learning. Do we hurt learning by insisting on too much complexity and technical vocabulary?
Entity Cube. Read about it here Microsoft labs tests a Wikipedia of average Joes
There is a new Student Career portal from Microsoft that focuses on Information Technology (IT) careers. You may want to point students to it.