Archive for December, 2011

Should Computer Science Be Required in K-12?

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

by Mind Shift, KQED

Computer science is not widely taught, even though programming may be one of the most important skills of the 21st century. While most schools do recognize the importance of helping students learn how to use new technologies, you’ll still find scant opportunities in K-12 classes for students to learn how to actually build those very technologies. A report issued last year by the Association of Computing Machinery found that very few states offer K-12 computer science education at all. Just nine states allow CS courses to count towards graduation requirements for math or science. And no states require computer science for graduation.

http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/12/should-computer-science-be-required-in-k-12/

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Computer games teach pupils by stealth

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

by Kim Arlington, Sydney Morning Herald

In classrooms around the state, hundreds of schoolchildren have been defending their nation from Wraith attacks in the battle to defeat the Shadow Plague. They are playing a computer game – with their teachers’ blessing – as part of a project to integrate game design into teaching and learning. Students at 14 schools, from years 3 to 10, have joined the project, which is linked to the primary and secondary curriculum and allows students to design their own computer games. It was developed by the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre, a collaboration between the NSW Education Department and Macquarie University, which gives schools access to innovative technologies in class.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/computer-games-teach-pupils-by-stealth-20111216-1oycm.html

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Learning on the go ‘is major benefit of virtual classroom’

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

by the Virtual Classroom (UK)

E-learning is becoming more and more popular because it can be accessed anywhere, according to one expert who has stated that mobile technology tools are a driving force consistent with the success of distance learning. Tom Kuhlmann, editor of The Rapid E-learning Blog, which shares practical tips and tricks designed to help people get to grips with e-learning, suggested that one of the driving factors behind the growth of the mobile online learning industry is that people are able to take their resources with them wherever they go and are not restricted to a classroom setting. “E-learning is quite popular, which makes sense – especially in this economy. It’s also still a growing field, as the tools are becoming more powerful and there’s a convergence of mobile and social media,” Mr Kuhlmann commented.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Learning-on-the-go-is-major-benefit-of-virtual-classroom-newsitems-801243262.aspx

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Technology in the classroom becoming the norm

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

by Carmen McCollum, East Chicago Community

A survey last year by the Indiana Department of Education indicated 40 percent of school districts are exploring ways to provide a one-to-one digital educational environment for students. One-to-one refers to the ratio between students and computers or other digital devices. John Keller, assistant state superintendent for technology, said more and more learning opportunities are offered digitally. “We are in a place where, not just in Indiana but nationally, you are going to see fewer textbooks going home with students and accessing digital content and school materials through laptop

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/east-chicago/technology-in-the-classroom-becoming-the-norm/article_a4a08709-8926-5a78-a0d6-42e46a91e30f.html

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“Tectonic Shifts” in Employment

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

by David Talbot, Technology Review

New research is showing that advances in workplace automation are being deployed at a faster pace than ever, making it more difficult for workers to adapt and wreaking havoc on the middle class: the clerks, accountants, and production-line workers whose tasks can increasingly be mastered by software and robots. “Do I think we will have permanently high unemployment as a consequence of technology? No,” says Peter Diamond, the MIT economist who won a 2010 Nobel Prize for his work on market imperfections, including those that affect employment. “What’s different now is that the nature of jobs going away has changed. Communication and computer abilities mean that the type of jobs affected have moved up the income distribution.” Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee study information-­supercharged workplaces and the innovations and productivity advances they continually create. Now they have turned their sights to how these IT-driven improvements affect employment. In their new book, ­Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for Digital Business at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and McAfee, its principal research scientist, see a paradox in the first decade of the 2000s. Even before the economic downturn caused U.S. unemployment to rise from 4.4 percent in May 2007 to 10.1 percent in October 2009, a disturbing trend was visible. From 2000 to 2007, GDP and productivity rose faster than they had in any decade since the 1960s, but employment growth was comparatively tepid.

http://www.technologyreview.com/article/39319/

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Macworld | iWorld Celebrates the Impact of Apple Technology on Visual Art and Literature

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

by Sacramento Bee

IDG World Expo today announced special events taking place at Macworld | iWorld celebrating the impact of Apple technology on literature and the visual arts, including a feature presentation and on-site exhibit by acclaimed digital photo-realist artist, author and lecturer Bert Monroy and conversation with author and self-proclaimed geek Susan Orlean, as well as the Digital Art Gallery, iPad Sketch Station, an exhibition of art inspired by South Park, Super Art Fight tournament and a host of art-focused Tech Talks. These art and literature events complement a full slate of new show elements debuting in 2012—including the Music Experience and Film Event—as well as attendee favorite Macworld | iWorld programs, such as a dynamic product exhibit floor featuring hundreds of companies showcasing the latest in software, hardware, peripherals, accessories and applications for the Apple products platform, networking events and meet ups, unique shopping opportunities, workshops and more than 75 Tech Talks that take attendees inside OS X Lion, iOS 5 and key third-party products. Macworld | iWorld will take place January 26 – January 28, 2012, at the Moscone Center – West Hall in San Francisco.

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/19/4133422/macworld-iworld-celebrates-the.html

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YouTube for Schools

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

by Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

YouTube announced YouTube for Schools today, a variant of YouTube designed to be more education friendly. This site seems primarily aimed at the primary and secondary market, although higher ed may find some things to like. If a school signs up for the service it can upload videos that are then displayed without any non-educational videos (or commenting). The YouTube University site has playlists for arts, business, education, engineering, history, humanities, languages, law, mathematics, medicine, science and social sciences. It is great to see YouTube, and by extension, Google investing some thought into the education space. I hope that this is just a beginning, because I think the potential for YouTube and Google in higher ed is significant.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/youtube-schools-and-lecture-capture

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Student skills: Are we doing enough?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

by Charlie Osborne, ZD Net

Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted that the U.K government is not doing enough to teach the next generation about computer science. Every business needs I.T — from computer software engineers to receptionists. It has become an important skill to be able to use networks and software properly, but many Western school systems don’t seem to have caught up yet with this change in demand. If we want to secure our own economic security as well as the global economy, then learning skills that are in increasing demand is a way to do so. Another element of the next generation’s education that seems to be ignored is financial knowledge. Sure, it doesn’t seem that interesting, but learning about credit ratings and mortgages are far more applicable to life than trigonometry.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/student-skills-are-we-doing-enough/13696 

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Some colleges slow to prep education majors for how to teach online

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

By Jennifer Reeger, TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Today’s college students have grown up in the digital age, a world of information at their fingertips. Yet, when Dr. Veronica Ent of St. Vincent College tells education majors they may not teach in a traditional classroom after graduation, they are surprised. “They’ve all grown up in the face-to-face classroom, and they come into teaching thinking that’s what they’re going to do,” said Ent, chairwoman of the education department. “When you say to them there’s a chance you’ll be doing online delivery, they’re shocked.” This fall, St. Vincent began introducing students to online teaching methods. But colleges and universities generally have been slow to add online teaching instruction, said officials from the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in Midland in Beaver County.  “It’s one of the topics that we preach about and we ask about and try to get colleges interested in, and it’s like pulling teeth,” said spokesman Fred Miller. “We have some terrific teaching colleges, but to get more online education into their curriculum has just proven a tough nut to crack.”

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_772574.html?_s_icmp=NetworkHeadlines

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Women in IT

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

by Campus Technology

Look around any IT conference and the disparity is obvious: Women are completely outnumbered. Why does IT remain a male-dominated field, and how can more women find success in it? Today, female students outnumber males on campus, earn a higher number of BA degrees, and surpass men in completing advanced degrees. So there’s a certain irony in the fact that executive roles on campus are still dominated by men. And IT is no exception. Women hold only 21.4 percent of the approximately 2,600 executive positions in higher education IT, according to a 2011 report titled “Women Technology Leaders: Gender Issues in Higher Education Information Technology.” “Those women who do seek higher education CIO or other IT leadership roles face a double challenge,” wrote Marilyn Drury, the report’s author and the director of ITS-Educational Technology at the University of Northern Iowa. “They must overcome barriers related to the traditionally male-dominated higher education organization as well as those related to the traditionally male-dominated IT field.”

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/11/29/women-in-it.aspx

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Many Happy Returns

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

By Jennifer Grayson, Campus Technology

For as long as anyone can remember, students at the University of Oklahoma were given in-class surveys for as many as five classes a semester. Not surprisingly, many loathed the pencil-and-paper process. “The students would write incomplete sentences, even phrases, and just dash off,” recalls Paul Bell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Some wouldn’t even write anything.” There was also the problem of profanity: “This class sucks” was an all-too-common response in the comments section of surveys. In one memorable instance, in response to a question about how an instructor could improve the quality of the class, a student wrote, “Die!” So when the university decided to move its course evaluations completely online in 2009, Bell and the rest of the faculty and administration were pleased to see the quality of the answers improve. Bell is the first to admit, though, that the move online was not prompted by a desire to tap into the more thoughtful recesses of student brains. It was done to save money–$100,000 a year in Scantron forms alone.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/11/28/many-happy-returns.aspx

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A Prescription for Tablets

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

By Michelle Fredette, Campus Technology

Today’s tablets are small and light, they’re relatively inexpensive, they have a long battery life, and, with the exponential growth in applications, they can do almost anything. The technology may be in its infancy, but experts say there’s a tablet explosion on the horizon. Michael Gartenberg, technology adviser for Gartner, points out that tablet technology has been in the works for years, but it “was really Apple that created the mass market for tablets. The iPad has set the standard for other devices.” Many other manufacturers–Samsung, Motorola, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Acer to name a few–have since joined the fray, building their tablets mostly on the Android platform.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/12/01/a-prescription-for-tablets.aspx

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Shortage of Analytics Workers Drives Northwestern U. to Create Master of Science Programs

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By Tanya Roscorla, Converge

In fall 2012, a cohort of 30 students will embark on a 15-month journey through a new Master of Science in Analytics program at Northwestern University. On Thursday, the university and IBM announced the creation of two analytics programs that they collaborated on to meet industry needs. Nearly every company that Diego Klabjan, associate professor of industrial engineering and management sciences, works with needs to hire experts in analytics.

http://www.convergemag.com/college-career/Northwestern-U-Master-of-Science-Analytics.html

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The People’s Skype is technology’s answer to the People’s Mic

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

by the Next Web

Much has been made of the use of technology in the worldwide protests, from the Occupy Movement in the US, to anti-governmental protests throughout the Middle East, some of it warranted and some a little exaggerated. From Twitter to Facebook, from Bambuser to Red Phone. The latest innovation, The People’s Skype, takes Occupy’s People’s Mic and injects a bit of technology into it, to make it go even further. If you’re not familiar with the People’s Mic – it involves one person speaking, and the crowd around repeating each sentence, to amplify it.

http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/12/12/the-peoples-skype-is-technologys-answer-to-the-peoples-mic/

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Region XV hosts robotics contest: Students urged to problem solve in regional event

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By Becca Nelson Sankey, the Standard-Times

Robotics requires students to think outside the box to solve a problem set inside a box. Teams clustered around tables — the surfaces of which were divided in half and framed in plywood — and watched intently as their whirring Lego contraptions moved black and red checker pieces in the confines of their allotted space. The competition concluded months of hard work that began in late August when participants were assigned a problem set and built and programmed robots from a Lego Mindstorms kit to solve them. “They have a specific problem set, and this year it’s based on the nuclear meltdown,” said Sandy Sawyer, TCEA Area 15 director. “The robot goes in repairing things. The checkers are called pellets, and they’re working with these pellets and moving them around to certain areas based upon the criteria in the problem set. It can get pretty complicated.”

http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2011/dec/11/san-angelo-hosts-robotics-contest/

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OneNote for iPad may hint at future pricing of Office for the device

Monday, December 19th, 2011

by Alex Wilhelm, the Next Web

Microsoft released OneNote for the iPad, and as ZDNet noted, its $14.99 price point does seem to line up with what the Daily had previously claimed as the straight dope from Redmond. Let’s assume that Microsoft is building the equivalent of Office Home and Student for the iPad. That edition contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Now, we know that OneNote costs some $14.99, so let’s continue that price for each of the individual applications. Naturally, are assuming that Microsoft will release the applications discretely, as Apple has done, and as it has done in the past on the iPad. That means that Office will cost any user roughly $60 for the full set.

http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2011/12/12/onenote-for-ipad-may-hint-at-future-pricing-of-office-for-the-device/

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Fox Chapel offers low-cost Internet access

Monday, December 19th, 2011

By Tawnya Panizzi, ASPINWALL HERALD

Some children whose families otherwise would not be able to afford it could have access to the Internet. Fox Chapel Area High School and Volunteers of America’s All of Us Care have partnered with Comcast to provide inexpensive Internet access. Through the program, Children’s First Internet Essentials, low-income families can use the Internet for $9.95 a month, a move that will help level the technological playing field for students, said Hannah Ufnar, director of All of Us Care. “We’re excited because it’s a way for us to serve more people,” Ufnar said. “We hope families recognize the value of the service.” Ufnar said families that qualify for the school district’s free lunch program are automatically eligible for the service. “It lasts until the kids graduate from high school,” she said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/lifestyles/s_771597.html

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A Stop To Bullying Starts with Changing A Mindset

Monday, December 19th, 2011

By Karen Wall, Toms River Patch

“Boys will be boys.”

“Girls are just nasty to each other.”

“It takes tough people to make it in this world.”

Those are all examples of the kinds of statements — and attitudes — that need to be eliminated if we truly hope to reduce the problem of bullying, said Anthony Pierro, supervising assistant prosecutor in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office’s Juvenile Justice Division, as he addressed a gathering of parents, educators and members of law enforcement at the Ocean County Library on Thursday night. Entitled “Cyberbullying: What You Need to Know as a Parent” and presented by the Ocean County Human Relations Commission, the program aimed to give parents a sense of the way and the kinds of bullying that go on with children and teenagers in 2011.

http://tomsriver.patch.com/articles/stopping-bullying-starts-with-changing-a-mindset

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Sparta robotics team tops in U.S.

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

by NJ Press Media

The Zero RoSparta robotics team tops in U.Stics competition, sponsored by NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), requires students to write control software for small satellite robots, according to a press release from the school, which said the competition so far has consisted of two qualifier tournaments and a semi-finals tournament that were run entirely by computer simulation at MIT. Pope John Robotics and eight other top teams from the semi-final tournament have now advanced to the finals of the competition. The finals will no longer be a simulation: they are played in orbit aboard the ISS using real robotic satellites in zero gravity. There were 149 high school teams competing in Zero Robotics this year. Eighteen teams advanced as “captain teams” to the semi-finals, Pope John among them at the fourth seed position, the release said. In the semifinals, which were played on Dec. 4, Pope John outscored every other USA team and is now seeded first for the finals, which will take place on Jan. 23, the release said.

http://www.app.com/article/20111211/NJNEWS/312110093/Sparta-robotics-team-tops-in-U-S-

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The world, and its data, at their fingertips

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

By Greg Rienzi, The Johns Hopkins University Gazette

What started as a relatively small group expressing interest in the expanded use of the technology has grown into a broader initiative for the formation of a Geospatial Sciences Teaching and Research Facility. The first two components of this initiative, a geospatial analysis teaching lab and a foundation GIS course, were implemented this fall. Darryn Waugh, the Morton K. Blaustein Professor and Chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said that geospatial-related activities are becoming increasingly important for many disciplines, including engineering, social sciences and humanities. “A growing number of Johns Hopkins faculty, postdocs and students use geospatial analysis as part of their research,” Waugh said. “There was an immediate need for the teaching lab and introductory course, and once we have shown the need and success of these efforts, I hope there will be further discussion on the formation of the broader facility.” GIS, which traces its roots to the early 1960s, is roughly speaking a system for managing and analyzing spatial information. GIS merges cartography, statistical analysis and database technology to allow the user to capture, store, manipulate, analyze and manage and then visually display all manner of geographically referenced data.

http://gazette.jhu.edu/2011/12/12/the-world-and-its-data-at-their-fingertips/

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Rewarding students with technology

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

by Aldo Nahed, North Fulton

Rewarding Minds, a nonprofit that aims to gift technology to select high school juniors and seniors who excel academically, but lack financial resources, kicked off its pilot program at North Forsyth High. Selected students were given the computers to help them succeed the rest of their school year and when they go on to higher education. “Technology can be a limiting factor to meet and reach the pinnacle of not just your grades, but all of your learning experiences,” said Jack Schiff, the founder of Rewarding Minds.

http://www.northfulton.com/hc.e.190494.lasso

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