Creating Opportunity for All

 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

The Ugly Truth .. Education and the Digital Chasm

You often wonder , if you are a professional, if the reporters who work in Washington know the ugly truth about education and the digital divide. You wait for someone to say things. But they don’t. Education in the Nation’s Capital is a horrible chasm. There are charter schools, some good , some bad. There are private and parochial schools. But the ugly truth about DC Schools has come out finally. Perhaps it took the death of NCLB to make people think?

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I am a teacher. I worked overseas in DODDS Schools. I thought, well I will go help Washington DC .. a decade or more ago. That did not work for me.The job was bigger than me in the school that I worked in. I went back , across the river to Arlington , Va. schools.There were many reasons.

Who runs DC Schools? The Congress has oversight.. and Rhee has come and gone and left people of her like mind here to carry on her legacy. Does the Mayor know education? Is big data fooling her and others?

In the Washington Post .

In D.C. schools, the racial gap is a chasm, not a crack

Opinion writer January 1

“The final page has been turned on D.C. Public Schools’ 2015 calendar. But 2016 begins with the same uncompromising problem: the school system’s huge racial achievement gap.” He writes.

“Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson called the results of last year’s standardized tests “sobering.” ”

How about painful? How about awful? How about inadequate? How about heartbreaking to parents?

How about .. sigh.. not serving the kids who need education the most.

Colbert goes on to say “The tests, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, or PARCC,showed that just 25 percent of D.C. students in the third through eighth grades met or exceeded expectations on new standardized tests in English.

Only 24 percent met a new math benchmark.”

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

 Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

No matter which initiative I was prepared to help schools and teachers with I was told testing, is the most important thing and that there was NO time for inserting anything new.

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Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

 

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Should we talk about STEM?  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math?

No, because the reading skills of most of the students are a main difficulty. Testing tethered technology except in a few schools.

Even the director of the projects for geography at National Geographic said to me, ” Our teachers have to worry about the tests, we don’t have time for ESRI Connects..

In 2014, There were some unsettling data points: Proficiency rates among students learning English as a second language declined in both subjects and in both traditional and charter schools. Latino students’ reading proficiency rates also dropped in both sectors, while the traditional school system saw reading proficiency fall among its economically disadvantaged students.

The Facts from Wikipedia

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) consists of 111[1][2] of the 238 public elementary and secondary schools and learning centers located in Washington, D.C. These schools have a grade span of prekindergarten to twelfth grade and, as of 2000, a kindergarten entrance age of 5 years old.[3] School is compulsory for DCPS students between the ages of 5 and 18.[4] DCPS schools typically start the last Monday in August. The school day is generally approximately six hours.[citation needed]

The ethnic breakdown of students enrolled in 2012 was 72% Black, 14% Hispanic (of any race), 10% non-Hispanic White, and 4% of other races. The District itself has a population that is 42% non-Hispanic White, 51% Black and 10% Hispanic (of any race).[5] Gentrification and demographic changes in many DC neighborhoods has increased the White and Hispanic populations in the city, while reducing the Black population. In 2008, DCPS was 84.4% Black, 9.4% Hispanic (of any race), 4.6% non-Hispanic White, and 1.6% of other races.[6]

Facilities reform legislation in DC has led to many school openings and closings.

Can you see where this is going?

Think of all the museums, the learning institutes, the teaching initiatives like. Connect Ed  … do you really think those programs were enacted?

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/connected

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Every kid in a park? Did the schools respond to this program? I did go on a program with teachers from the National Geographic Alliance. We toured DC parks.

What do you think?Washington is full of parks and places to learn.Many of the students have never been to a lot of these places. There are wonderful teacher workshops.

When I was observing education in Russia,  I learned that there are after school initiatives that are a part of the school program.

CODING ?

Did the students code? I hope there were classes that did.

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A few groups of people who did coding and who do more every Saturday, but they are not allowed to work in the schools. Again, the basic skills levels and testing  may create a problem. One thing I was able to do was to work all day, and several Saturdays with groups that worked with Dr. Jesse Bemley. Dr.Bemley works with the support of Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is the central technology organization of the District of Columbia Government. OCTO develops, implements, and maintains the District’s technology infrastructure; develops and implements major enterprise applications; establishes and oversees technology policies and standards for the District; provides technology services and support for District agencies, and develops technology solutions to improve services to businesses, residents and visitors in all areas of District government.

Dr. Bemley reaches out to the students. and provides supercomputer connectivity in a basement.

Bemley is  helping with those students to close the equity gap.

There should be more opportunities using technology to enhance the curriculum for students.

Culatta identified five opportunities to close the equity gap with technology. They include:

Opportunity #1: Equitable access to high-quality digital learning materials

The Learning Registry, which Culatta called “the human genome project” for open educational resources, is an online information network designed to organize and vet academic content for educators. It can be tapped into through various websites, such asfree.ed.gov, the Illinois shared learning resources site, or MyDigitalChalkboard from California.

Opportunity #2: Equitable access to expertise

“Too many of our students are disadvantaged purely based on the ZIP code they live in,” he said, referring to a community that had a math teacher opening for five years because it couldn’t attract anyone to the town for that job. Ed tech can fill the gap, he said.

Meanwhile, in Sunnyside, Ariz., a high school bioengineering class was able to capture the genomes of all indigenous plant life in their region, by using technology to work with a local university.

Opportunity #3: Personalized learning

“One of the least equitable things we do is to treat all students the same,” he said. Adjusting the pace and path of learning can be transformationall, he said.

Some schools are personalizing a student’s learning to the extent that his or her schedule changes each day based on what was achieved the day before, he said.

Opportunity #4 – Support planning for higher education

“There are very few tools to help [students] make that transition,” said Culatta, who touted the January Datapalooza sponsored by the White House and the Education Department, in which open data was provided to developers who created and showcased products to help with post-secondary education planning.

Opportunity #5 – Supporting accessibility

To illustrate this opportunity, Culatta showed a video of a student who is being treated for lymphoma, and attends school remotely via a robot. Students at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla., raised money to buy a robot for Kyle, and produced a video explaining the experience.

http://”//www.youtube.com/embed/Dd-LMvkpjsM”

Tech Equity: A Civil Rights Issue

Culatta pointed out that equity in technology was part of a recent “Dear Colleague” letterfrom the Office for Civil Rights. This was the first guidance on the issue of resource equity released during the Obama administration, and it included references to equal access to laptops, tablets, the Internet, and instructional materials.

“We consider the number of devices, the type, and their age,” Culatta said.

He called technology an accelerator that can change the world.

 

 

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Coding

Originally Published for CUE Magazine.

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Superhero kid. Girl power conceptCoding…
Posted by Bonnie Bracey Sutton

CODING

coding
ˈkōdiNG/
noun
the process of assigning a code to something for the purposes of classification or identification.
You may know coding as programming.

Coding is the act of writing a program in a programming language. So when people say you will need to know coding, they are saying you need to know two things. You need to know the language and you need to know how to use the language. It is easier to show an example of coding than to explain it. http://code.org/learn/codehs

You’ve seen the craze for learning code. But what exactly is coding?

Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites.

Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website – they’re all made with code.

Here’s a simple example of code, written in the Python programming language:

print ‘Hello, world!’
Many code tutorials use that command as their very first example, because it’s one of the simplest examples of code you can have – it ‘prints’ (displays) the text ‘Hello, world!’ onto the screen.

CODE.ORG has a video that explains coding, shares the vision of a lot of people interested in getting coding into education and. more. Here is one of their three videos on coding.

What Most Schools Don’t Teach

Bill Gates Chairman, Microsoft
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.“code 5
The group CSTA has many resources to help explain, engage you and immerse in the study of code.

CODING AS A METAPHOR FOR COMPUTATIONAL THINKING CSTA

The Computer Science Teachers Association is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K–12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.
http://csta.acm.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/sub/CSIT10Presentations/Astrachan.pdf
There is outreach to teachers in this program for professional development.code 3
What is CS4HS?
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CS4HS (Computer Science for High School) is an initiative sponsored by Google to promote Computer Science and Computational Thinking in high school and middle school curriculum. With a gift from Google’s Education Group, universities develop 2-3 day workshops for local high school and middle school CS teachers. These workshops incorporate informational talks by industry leaders, and discussions on new and emerging CS curricula at the high school and middle school level. On the CSTA site, you’ll find information on how to apply for a CS4HS grant, information for workshop attendees and partners, and other helpful resources. CS4HS funding is currently offered in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, New Zealand, and Australia.You could also learn a lot by attending a CSTA Conference which features workshops, mentors, and applications.

Here is an example of a CS4HS workshop that I attended. CS4HS is one of many resources to help teachers learn to code.
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UMBC Google CS4HS Teacher Development Workshop 2013

http://maple.cs.umbc.edu/cs4hs/schedule/

The presentations are here for your use, or perusal.

There is a big push to teach coding to students of all ages. code six

Teachers learning about the importance of coding at a CS4HS teacher’s workshop.

Coding for Kids is easier to reference and to find on the web.

Code.org offers tutorials below.

CodeHS Online curriculum designed specifically for highschool classrooms.

Codecademy After SchoolA complete online afterschool program for a coding club.

Tynker Teach programming in elementary or middle school in a fun way.

Scratch is a great program to use to teach young students. Try it!!