We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

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ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

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Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

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Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.

Field Trips, Flights of Fancy, VR and Reality for the Holidays

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There are many new ways to take field trips and many new ways to enrich the learning that takes place in the classroom or at home. There is a world of opportunity at your finger tips.No matter which holidays you celebrate there are resources on line.iuri

hol. In a round table discussion with people who are in charge of learning places, museums and outreach at the Center for Cyberlearning  Conference a remarkable thing happened . We broke down the silos and talked face to face about how to involve students in learning in places that are not school. Transportation and time are issues. Teachers do not often know the offerings of the local museums nor interact with the people who staff workshops and outreach.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement

Sadly, lots of people are still mired in the difficulty of getting access, and the tools to use technology. We can’t allow people to stand still in technology as it advances on. We must broaden engagement by involving as many people as possible in the sciences of deeper learning and the technologies of the future. Museums, AI, VR and other tools help us to do this. Watch “What is CyberLearning?” to get an idea of what they are doing at the Center for Cyberlearning. And you can go to their website to learn more or to get engaged in Cyberlearning.

For another perspective on Cyberlearning go here.

We need to be Futuring..

I am writing about the future while many go into the past to teach students what we learned 20 years or more ago. That is why I have picked this topic on field trips to show the differences that technology can make and why we must equalize the opportunities for all.

At an ISTE conference we were introduced to Google Cardboard.

You can use Google Cardboard to take a virtual field trip. Say, to New York during the Holiday Season. MASHABLE shares this possibility with us .

“New York’s annual tradition of rolling out incredibly elaborate holiday-themed store window displays in December is as much a part of the city’s seasonal tourism as the Thanksgiving Day parade or celebrate Winter Holidays. “ Christmas in New York?

3D Panoramic Views

The experience is called Window Wonderland, with most of the displays offering an audio narrative from the window’s creative director. Along with narration, the windows offer 360-degree panoramic images as well as high-resolution galleries that essentially allow you to “walk” past the windows in much the same way as you might if you were actually in New York.

You won’t get to buy a NY hotdog, or a pretzel, or roasted Chestnuts, or feel the cold wind on your face.

SANTA?

For 12 years now, an entire generation of excited kids have spent Christmas Eve with their eyes glued to the computer watching Santa Claus circle the globe. Over the past few holiday seasons, Google has pulled out all the stops for an interactive holiday experience that runs from the start of the month until Christmas Eve. Google Santa Tracker is fun.It is a much better experience than the quick hit on the news that most people miss.

The Field Trip? Discovery shares regularly scheduled field trips here.

That is one kind of a field trip. Drones have also let us explore real places. Drones also change the Christmas experience in some places.nintchdbpict000282857405

Drones? Here is information if you need it. click here

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Virtual Christmas GIPHY’s? They are here. A lot of people share a lot of ideas that are virtual.  http://blog.giphy.com/post/70205764276/holiday-gift-guide-giphys-picks-for-the-best

One of my unexpected Christmas gifts was that a child I taught made , actually drew her own card and printed it out to take home. Her mother shared it with her employer , a national hotel chain, and it was used as the card that the hotel mailed that year. Sometimes taking the time to introduce a child or adult to progtams that let them express their creativity brings wonderful rewards.

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What is CyberLearning?

I live in Washington , DC near the mall, and am steps away from many learning opportunities. So are many students but when I briefly taught in Washington in my own neighborhood there were children who had never , ever been to a museum or a zoo or a learning place. All school systems have rules and management for actual field trips.When they match it is wonderful. Who goes to museums and why? Sometimes the cost, and the time of transport are a problem. But there are many new ways to access museums.p011nryz

Here is a favorite of mine. It has actually been around for a while.

The Smithsonian  http://3d.si.edu

They welcome educators with this message

Welcome educators to SIx3D! We are excited about the possibilities of using 3D objects—and the data sets that make them possible—for K-12 learning and believe that they offer an excellent opportunity to excite and engage students in a valuable, interdisciplinary education experience.

The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.

With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms. Click here to be kept up to date about new 3D related education resources. To access the page for educators and the places to sign in use this http://3d.si.edu/article/educators http://3d.si.edu/article/educators

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You can connect to learning places, and museums in many different ways. There is also the Google Cultural Institute. It offers daily news, and a guide to cultural things around the world.

The Kennedy Center does programs for families, and for some families the most important thing is to know the possibilities. Nutcracker? Do you know the background of it/ and the music. It is here.

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In Arlington , Virginia  I was able to manage field trips, walks and use the Metro to extend my student’s learning in the real world. I had a principal who felt that museums were for all children and she created possibilities for teachers to take workshops, for parents to go on school busses on Saturdays. We did a community grant to do this. Parents and teachers volunteered to participate. It was a great success. Arlington has an outdoor lab facility. Teachers are and were trained to use it for class trips. You can be a community activist for the real field trips while arranging online resources as well.

When teaching in overseas schools, it depended on the location of the school and transportation. So virtual field trips work too, if they are managed correctly in that the content has meaning.

Ok, I cheat. I live near the Smithsonian Mall and love the real museum interaction. But the online is great.  One last goody.. the Chemistry advent calendar for last year. It is awesome.

 

 

The Internet of Things

Concept of smart home and control device. Technology device, system mobile automation, monitoring energy power, electricity efficiency, equipment temperature, remote thermostat illustration

The Internet as you know it is changing. There are two huge changes one which is for those of us on earth and a new space iteration and scaffolding that allow for use or the Internet in Space. But before we go Star Trek or StarWars in space, the Internet of Things is going to be something we want to talk about in a global sense.

                                 The Thing in the Internet of Things

There are four main system components for the Internet of Things(IoT)

1>The Thing

2>The local network.

3>The Internet

4>The cloud

IoT is not complicated in conception, but it is complex in its execution.What is important to understand is that even if new hardware and software are still under development, we already have all the tools we need now to start making IoT a reality. In this blog post we’ll only cover the “Thing” the rest will be covered in future blogs so keep an eye on this page.

So this brings us to our first question

What is the “Thing”?

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Img Source: datasciencebe.com

Thing is an embedded computing device (or embedded system) that transmits and receives information over a network (need not be able to interface with internet directly) for the purpose of controlling another device or interacting with a user. A Thing is also a microcontroller—or microprocessor-based device.

Hence a simple chair, tv , fan , microwave , fridge, sprinkler, bulb etc, (the list goes on) on their own cannot be called “Things”. Why you ask ?

1) Most of day to day things do not have any embedded systems E.g.: bed , chair, fan, bulb.

2) Even if they do have embedded systems built in, they do not have the capabilities too transmit and receive information over a network. E.g. washing machine, microwave, electric stoves.

Okay… So now you may ask what is this “Thing” supposed to do?

The “Thing” may provide

1>Identification and info storage(RFID tags, MAC address)

2>Information collection (Sensor networks, store sensor values)

3>Information processing(Understanding commands, filtering data)

4>Communications (Transmit and receive messages)

5>Actuation (Switch control, motor control)

 

The Internet as it is , is evasive for many groups of people. Those who are distant, rural, tribal and urban have a problem most of the time. That problem is adequate access to be able to use the resources of the Internet.

With the Internet comes many wonderful resources, but there are things to consider.

Digital footprint use, Skills that are transformational, and ..with the technology comes

a difference in privacy.( Electronic Foundation)

New technologies are radically advancing our freedoms but they are also enabling unparalleled invasions of privacy.

Your cell phone helps you keep in touch with friends and family, but it also makes it easier for security agencies to track your location .That can be good. That can be a problem.

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Your Web searches about sensitive medical information might seem a secret between you and your search engine, but companies like Google are creating a treasure trove of personal information by logging your online activities, and making it potentially available to any party wielding enough cash or a subpoena.

If you search for a medical subject, you might then get ads or information about that subject.

Searching for recipes online? Maybe your “smart” refrigerator has information to share about the food you use? Or could use.

The next time you try to board a plane, watch out—you might be turned away after being mistakenly placed on a government watch list, or be forced to open your email in the security line.

 

National and international laws have yet to catch up with the evolving need for privacy that comes with new technology. Several governments have also chosen to use malware to engage in extra-legal spying or system sabotage for dissidents or non-citizens, all in the name of “national security.”

Respect for individuals’ autonomy, anonymous speech, and the right to free association must be balanced against legitimate concerns like law enforcement.

National governments must put legal checks in place to prevent abuse of state powers, and international bodies need to consider how a changing technological environment shapes security agencies’ best practices.

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.[1] In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.” [2] The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,[3] creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.[4][5][6][7][8][9] When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.[10]

For information about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States check out the EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense project.

                            Is there Room for Both Privacy and Security?

Security concept: Privacy on digital background

Security concept: pixelated words Privacy on digital background, 3d render

Some people think the path for more security is that you  PAY for it.

 Read this article in Forbes.

Internet companies collect abundant information about people’s online activity. They use this information to determine people’s interests and shopping profiles, and then make money by selling personalized “behavioral” ads.

The FCC is not too happy about this barter in people’s information. It cannot regulate the likes of Google and Facebook (they are not communications companies), but it is proposing new rules that would apply to companies that come under its purview – Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.

One of the proposed regulations is entirely unobjectionable but also entirely useless. It would require better disclosure to consumers: the FCC wants every Internet company to clearly explain to people what information it collects and sells.

 

The writer says:

Disclosure is a great idea, but it has a fatal flaw. It doesn’t work. Do you know any one who ever reads the fine print? Disclosures have been tried in every consumer market, and failed miserably. I co-wrote a book titled “More Than You Wanted to Know” that shows how spectacularly disappointing disclosures are, and why we should not expect them to be more successful in future regulation. Despite great hopes that “simplified” or “smart” disclosures could funnel people into better decisions, the evidence shows that even truly simple warnings are ineffective. This sobering fact is equally true for Internet privacy: disclosure and warnings about data collection are not read and do not change people’s behavior.

MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW cover

 Here is what one Samsung has to say. Most products will be web-connected by  2017.
I always think about a movie I saw when I have to use Fedex. People were making money a cent at a time.. don’t you think that the disclosure length generates money, no matter how many times you have read it. I think so.
It would be nice if, the administrators in a school, the school board and the community featured an event to explain to the their public in their learning landscape how they are preparing for the Internet of Things. Of course some schools still are lacking the Internet.
 You may have noticed that I did NOT talk about schools and sensors and smart machines.
That’s a whole new conversation to be had.
One wag commented welcome to the smart era, where your things spy on you!?!?!

Virtual Reality and Memorable Learning, so Interesting!!

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Teachers Exploring TACC

Education and technology has changed the way we are involved with museums. There are many museums that people may never get to visit. Virtually, there are resources to help students, teachers and community to use museums to learn. One resource that is wonderful is the Google Cultural Institute

I share this blog because often a museum trip is a quick hit and in the words of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the kids don’t really see much on the trip. So I offer you some ways of seeing, visualizing and being involved in learning.

The Google Cultural Institute has many ways of sharing collections, tours, and artifacts.

Wikipedia says:
“‘Google Cultural Institute is an initiative unveiled by Google following the 2011 launch of the Google Art Project. . It is “an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.”  The Cultural Institute has partnered with a number of institutions to make exhibition and archival content available online, including the British Museum, Yad Vashem, the Museo Galileo in Florence, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and the Museum of Polish History in Warsaw among others. Further you can :

Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures in extraordinary detail, from hidden gems to masterpieces.

Create your own galleries and share favorite finds with friends.You can take a tour, Discover artworks, world heritage sites, cultural figures, and more. You can create your own..
Create your own galleries and share favorite finds with friends and take virtual tours.
Participants can Explore & Search

 

Explore to discover more categories and projects.
Or search for people, events, museums, and works of art.

You Can Share & Discover. This is a hearth. How would you cook on this? That information is available in the Google Cultural Institute.

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Share special finds with friends across all your social networks.
Compare two items side-by side.
Save favorite pieces and access them later, and even create your own gallery.
Or click Discover to see related topics and categories.

The Iron Age in Britain

I was a visitor to the British Museum and shared a few pictures with Facebook.There was so much to see and learn about. I found a new section to explore. Life in the Iron Age of Britain was fascinating. But there was not enough time to study the whole collection.

I live in Washington , DC  within walking distance of most of the Smithsonian Museums . It is always hard to choose which museum to visit and to grasp the new offerings. An entirely new offering is the 3-D Explorer.

Exploring the Smithsonian

You can explore online resources from A to Z online.

The Smithsonian has a new 3-D Explorer. They are excited about it.

Smithsonian X 3D launches a set of use cases which apply various 3D capture methods to iconic collection objects, as well as scientific missions. These projects indicate that this new technology has the potential not only to support the Smithsonian mission, but to transform museum core functions. Researchers working in the field may not come back with specimens, but with 3D data documenting a site or a find. Curators and educators can use 3D data as the scaffolding to tell stories or send students on a quest of discovery. Conservators can benchmark today’s condition state of a collection item against a past state – a deviation analysis of 3D data will tell them exactly what changes have occurred. All of these uses cases are accessible through the Beta Smithsonian X 3D Explorer, as well as videos documenting the project. For many of the 3D models, raw data can be downloaded to support further inquiry and 3D printing. This video explains the topic.Some historic artifacts have been placed in this model and can be printed out in a classroom, or examined online to think about the model.

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If you come to Washington , DC , the problem is , which museum to visit. I like the Natural History Museum with the Science on a Sphere exhibits that help us understand the whole museums focus on the Earth.iuri

The Smithsonian Museums are competitive .

One of my favorite museums that wraps itself around you is the Monterey Bay Museum.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is a public aquarium located in Monterey, California, United States. The aquarium was founded in 1984 and is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. It has an annual attendance of more than two million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. The aquarium benefits from a high circulation of fresh ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in continuously from Monterey Bay.

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The centerpiece of the Ocean’s Edge Wing, is a 28-foot-high (8.5 m), 333,000-US-gallon (1,260,000 l; 277,000 imp gal) tank for viewing California coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The largest tank in the aquarium is a 1,200,000-U.S.-gallon (4,500,000 l; 1,000,000 imp gal) tank in the Open Sea galleries (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world’s largest single-paned windows. It is one of the few aquariums to hold the ocean sunfish in captivity.iho

Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna. For displaying jellyfish, it uses a Kreisel tank, which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters. These are a few of my favorite museums to share.

Other options? Sure

New? Augmented reality and the Hololens. This is how Microsoft wants to change the superbowl. Immersive Superbowl.??

There is of course Google Cardboard, and the use of Skype to talk to people in museums or classes from another country. We don’t want to just look at pretty pictures. Content makes the viewing much more memorable than eye candy.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

To be in the museum in Monterey and to see this Octopus is one experience. Coming now are ways that are immersive , in that the virtual reality puts the person into the experience, well sort of.  Here is a teaser. A GIF

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/-/m/images/animated-gifs/kelp-forest.gif?la=en( in case you want to download it.)

Here is one that I find especially awesome. the whale by Magic Leap. Amazing 3D Virtual Reality Leaping Whale. There are other examples within that URL that are awesome.
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www.magicleap.com  This one has some other fascinating models. It does take a little bit of time to load. Be patient.

The virtual reality tool that I most liked was Google Glass. I could see my way through Russia , have translations, a way of going through the subways. I am sure that it will be back in another form. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Creating Opportunity for All

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 CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. By some estimates, just one quarter of all the K-12 schools in the United States offer CS with programming and coding, and only 28 states allow CS courses to count towards high-school graduation, even as other advanced economies are making CS available for all of their students. The White House aims to change that. There is a new initiative.

Why?

The Opportunity

Providing access to CS is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.

How Do We Prepare Students? Teachers ? The Community?

One of the problems is the lack of access, interest and the knowledge of computational thinking and learning and math. There also has been a limited supply of well trained teachers for all. Most of us are aware that there are teachers in rural, urban, tribal, minority based poor communities who don’t have a computer teacher anywhere near a school. There may be teachers who are available in after school program. The Coding week also gives some impetus to making a change but sadly , it may be only for that week. It is an excellent start. It is a way to get things rolling.

Computational thinking and cyber learning and math… we must start at the lower levels to be able to graduate those with the skills that they will need to meet a high school computer teacher.

Coding?Coding in the Classroom: What is Coding and Why is it so Important?

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Computational Thinking?
“Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent.”

Cuny, Snyder, Wing

Say it again? What was that?

Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively.

Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.

Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.

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There have been people working in this field for a very long time with limited success.  One must thank people like Henry Neeman, R.N. Panoff , Concord.org and those who sought to broaden engagement to all with limited resources. Scott Lathrop has certainly impacted broadening engagement.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement being led by parents, teachers, states, districts, and the private sector to expand CS education. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative builds on these efforts by:

Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Starting the effort this year, with more than $135 million in investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support and train CS teachers, who are the most critical ingredient to offering CS education in schools. The agencies will make these investments over five years using existing funds.

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Early exposure and interest

Calling on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved. Today, Delaware, Hawaii and more than 30 school districts are committing to expand CS opportunities; Cartoon Network, Google and Salesforce.org are announcing more than $60 million in new philanthropic investments, and Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand CS; and Code.org is announcing plans to offer CS training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year.

We still need parents and the communities to grasp the important of this project and to sign on. The initiatives mean nothing if schools don’t step up to the challenge. Has your school accepted Connect.Ed?IMG_0078

Invisible Students

 

Students at SITE

This article made me think of all of the people in education who have muted voices or no voices at all. It is probably because they don’t have technology, training, money, or time to make the difference that students need. They also can’t answer the experts , or share their sorrows in education. I think of them often. When I propose a workshop or a symposium, people start to tell me about the latest , hottest trend in education. Invisible students and teachers have no power. Even visible bad assed teachers can be shut out of the conversation and shut up.

Why are teachers cloaked in invisibility? Perhaps because we only ask the professors about research and not the working teachers. There are teachers and students in the world, in the US who are still not connected, and the way to get connected in their communities is difficult to find. We talk about the Internet of Things, and they have hardly the understanding of the uses of technology that are beneficial to them. I was told that sponsors don’t really care about digital equity, I don’t believe that.

I think it is difficult to walk in the shoes of those who work in rural, distant, urban, multilingual , and minority areas, but the work is necessary to lift all boats.

Teachers?

The public perception of the job is one thing. Being a good teacher is hard work.

The recent onslaught of attacks on teachers makes some of us like turtles. We withdraw and do our magic in the classroom as we can with what we have. The attacks make us insecure, and gives us feelings of unworthiness, sadness. Joy in the eyes of a child helps to take away the pain, or the discovery that some foundation, some credible agency understands how you feel makes for a quiet smile.

I like it that Richard Cullatta resigned and was not shy in his parting shots. The article is one that most people will never see or understand. But we in tribal. rural, distant, urban, and poor, the communities of those without the access, resources, savvy grant writers, technology trained teachers, and community support know exactly what he is talking about.

In his final public remarks as director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Richard Cullatta had a few requests.

Please don’t scan in the same old worksheets.

Please don’t record boring lectures and put them online.

Please don’t forget the needs of low-income and minority students, many of whom don’t have easy access to digital devices, speedy Internet service and advanced classes in computer science.

*I would add please don’t forget that there are many students with reading difficulty  who think problem solving is a pain.

Culatta delivered his plea last week at National Education Week, an annual conference that was held this year at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The outgoing federal leader spoke on a panel about teaching coding in schools, and he used most of his time in the spotlight to talk about equality. We must ensure that the rapid march of innovation does not leave certain groups of people behind, Culatta said.

He said    ‘Women and minorities are underrepresented in computer science courses in high school and college. For instance, girls make up 56 percent of all test-takers in Advanced Placement courses, but just 18 percent of students taking computer science tests, Culatta said. It doesn’t get much better in college, where women make up about 57 percent of all undergraduates, but just 14 percent of them major in computer science. ‘

“And the inequality is even more stunning for people of color. In 12 states, zero students of color took the computer science Advanced Placement exam, Culatta said. And a mere 10 percent of people majoring in computer science are black.

“That’s an incredible problem that we need to solve,” Culatta said.

There are a lot of us who are not computer science teachers. But we have had support from the Supercomputing Conference which had an education section and we learned what we could in that precious space. For a while we also learned in the conference and at Shodor.org.  Then I had a remarkable experience in the Atlas Institute , learning with Dr. Alex Repenning. We were learning scalable game design. He knows how to teach teachers who are NOT computer science teachers.  ”

Sadly in the infrastructure of boards, and meetings , and groups who decide what goes on in education and who present in education we are an invisible force if present at all in the education  groups.

ADVOCACY

 

IMG_0078I learned as many others did at NASA, with the National Geographic Education Institute and alliances, with Earthwatch and the Jason Project. We teachers got to meet  Bob Ballard, Bill Nye, and a number of astronauts and scientists .

 

I had the power of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. When people were talking about Star Wars , they did not know that Edutopia is and has been a force in education for all.

We teachers also had the power of the NEA and its advocacies for diversity. McAuliffe, selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in NASA’s The Teacher in Space Project, had made plans to provide lessons from the shuttle on the benefits of space travel. Christa McAuliffe was a gifted social science teacher who was dedicated to her students and to the teaching profession.

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Many of the projects in coding are absolutely wonderful. I loved weaving the Star Wars coding with reading of the books, and sharing science fiction, and NASA photographs and  art and the movies in a mashup that few children could not be attracted to.

I am pretty savvy, so I did not even break a sweat. I walked into a lab and sat down with children I had never seen. We had a great time coding. We did not limit our time to an hour. We did various things in about 4 hours, and the kids wanted to stay longer.

*I am not in a classroom because I am a very experienced in technology and was asked to leave or give up technology during NCLB. So I left and became a consultant.

 

And then there is Cyberlearning.   But, but.. without regular access how do we develop the skills, and deep learning. How sad it must be to understand the Internet of  Things and to not have a learning landscape that is even good access.

surface teacher

 

 

 

 

Some of the teachers need their job so badly that they just go with the flow no matter how terrible it is. It is taken for granted that the experts in the silos of higher ed know the answers. Well, some of those experts are very isolated from the people who really teach.

 

 

No Child Left Behind in Coding In Anacostia

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Coding Week was finished off in Anacostia. We were not at the White House, or a part of a one time initiative for a week. On December 12, 2015 Dr. Jesse Bemly and Joint Educational Facilities, did a workshop for those who were not served coding workshops as a part of their educational learning landscape.

We started with a mixture of students, teachers, college professors and students from JEF who are specialized in certain parts of the outreach that JEF offers to Anacostia, or any interested students in the Metropolitan Washington DC area.

We Instruct!! Year Round

The focus is more than on an hour of coding. One of the ways in which we contribute is by sponsoring classes and tutoring for students at JEF at 2528 Naylor Road, SE .  www.jef.org

We Connect Students and Broaden Engagement

Here you see a small student. We work with students of all ages and have been encouraged to do what the schools do not. Broaden engagement and provide opportunities for scaffolding to groups that are sharing  knowledge.

Of course this workshop involved the videos from coding outreach.

https://www.youtube.com/user/CodeOrg

Dr. Bemely gave an introduction of our work at JEF. Much of what we have done was learned with Supercomputing in Broadening Engagement and in the Education programs.  Some of what we learn and share was through the ESRI Education program. We participate with ESRI to share their outreach. http://www.esri.com/connected and one of our students now works with the Library of Congress demonstrating these skills.

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We learn from organizations that reach out to teachers and then share what we learned.  We curate information and share it on the Internet for parents and community. http://www.scoop.it/u/bonnie-bracey-sutton

Dr. Bemley and some of the participants work as adjunct staff at Bowie State. We have a couple of supercomputers,  one of which is Little Fe.

Many institutions and teaching environments do not have access to parallel platforms for parallel and distributed computing education. Teaching key concepts such as speedup, efficiency, and load balancing are much more effectively done on a parallel platform. LittleFe is a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster which supports shared memory parallelism (OpenMP), distributed memory parallelism (MPI), and GPGPU parallelism.

LittleFe weighs less than 50 pounds, easily and safely travels via checked baggage on the airlines, and sets-up in 10 minutes wherever there is a 110/220 VAC outlet and a wall to project an image on.  It  is from the Bootable Cluster CD project,

During the rest of the year, we cooperate with Dr. Henry Neeman with his sharing of ” What in the Heck is Supercomputing?” Interview here. https://shareok.org/handle/11244/17336

Dr. Bemley is the architect of scaffolding and creating opportunities for students. He networks to create opportunities for students, gather resources and instruct students to excellence.IMG_8952

Sometimes , we wish those who are looking to involve minorities in technology would reach out to him as a person of interest, and information toward the inclusion of students in STEM.

We have been helped by Charlie Fitzpatrick of ESRI, Dr. Bob Panoff of Shodor.org, and we have used the resources of Alexander Repenning to introduce a new level of gamification in learning.

We shared Frozen, for Kindergarten and Elementary level.

We used StarWars the video for Middle and High School levels.

We shared Minecraft for Middle and High School levels.

We dared to share  http://circlcenter.org/  because we want to be involved in the new look at the Internet of Things and the worlds of Cyberlearning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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