We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

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.

AR-160209544.jpg&MaxW=650

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.

IMG_8958
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.

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?

IMG_8970

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.

IMG_0909

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.

857888_10151522587771327_1721823541_o

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

How Long Does it Take to SuperCharge Education?

Superhero kid. Girl power concept

I was lucky enough to work with businessmen, inventors and politicians on framing the use of the Internet in our country. It became very clear to me that businesses work differently than we do in education. We framed a document called Kickstart with ideas to frame educational change in America and in the world. I guess in a business, if you frame a perspective you can make it come true. Some ideas are now being represented as new. Well ,STEM started out as SMET, and programming has a new name. Lots of old ideas, same reason for wanting to make change

Coding

It amused me to find out that businessmen thought if you defined the problem, as in “The Gathering Storm” that we in education would fix the problem. I offer to you the newest report,
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEFUSA_NewVisionforEducation_Report2015.pdf

So many great ideas here, Who will read the report? Who will make changes based on its information.

DO PEOPLE READ THE REPORTS?

I think about these reports and the change they thought would happen. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/PGA_084632. There are educational communities still resisting change. It is not about the money or being able to get professional development for the initiative.

Some say that testing has sucked the wind out of innovation.

orienteering

A Retrospective on Twenty Years of Education Technology Policy

Twenty years ago,A Nation at Risk(1983) recommended “computer science” as one of the
five “new basics” to be included in high school graduation requirements. Since then, American
schools have made dramatic improvements in their technological capacity, driven largely by public
and private investments over the past ten years of more than $40 billion dollars in infrastructure,
professional development and technical support (Dickard, 2003). K-12 educators have also made
great strides in their readiness and ability to use technology to redefine the boundaries of the school
building and the school day, to improve the quality and accessibility of the administrative data that
informs their work, and most importantly, to foster the learning of core content and the development
of students’ skills as communicators, researchers,and critical consumers of an ever-expanding world
of information. However, policymakers, practitioners and the public all recognize that much remains
to be done in each of these areas. https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/20years.pdf

The thing we called programming is now called coding, we can talk about computational thinking and cyber-education.

I was the K-12 teacher on the NIIAC. We started the conversations and still we wait for the changes…
The intent of the NII was to integrate hardware, software, and skills to make it easy and affordable to connect people, through the use of communication and information technology, with each other and with a vast array of services and information resources. Issues that the Council was to address included:

(1) the appropriate roles of the private and public sectors in developing the National Information Infrastructure;
(2) a vision for the evolution of the National Information Infrastructure and its public and commercial applications;
(3) the impact of current and proposed regulatory regimes on the evolution of the National Information Infrastructure;
(4) national strategies for maximizing the benefits of the National Information Infrastructure, as measured by job creation, economic growth, increased proguctivity, and enhanced quality of life;
(5) national strategies for developing and demonstrating applications in areas such as electronic commerce, agile manufacturing, life-long learning, health care, government, services, and civic networking;
(6) national security, emergency preparedness, system security, and network protection implications;
(7) national strategies for maximizing interconnection and interoperability of communications networks;
(8) international issues associated with the National Information Infrastructure;
(9) universal access; and
(10) privacy, security, and copyright issues.

We make fun sometimes of people who have a different perspective on what education is and how it should work.

IMG_0078

In reality we in education are in many separate groups as well, with a vision that is different depending on our focus. We are K-12, we are Higher Ed, we are Technology Ed, and we are School Boards and Administratively focuses.

I am not mad with Bill Gates and others who have new ideas.

Too Much Tech? Really ? Got Tech??? Sort Of…

Girls learn ... we can do technology, science and math with good teachers.

There was a New York Times article that spoke of too much tech in children’s life.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/opinion/can-students-have-too-much-tech.html
It requires a careful reading. There are some very good points in the article but what is too much tech?
What is not spoken of is too little training by teachers who use what technology is available for them to use in the schools.What is not shared is that the IT person sometimes becomes just another administrator instead of a helping hand. Another layer of administration in some schools.

Many people have never achieve access, gotten adequate technology, and /or learned to integrate technology, never mind flipping the classroom.

COMPUTATIONAL THINKING

This is from a supercomputing model at TACC

If you think you can compete with visual media. think again

GOT THIS TECH?

008

Many schools do not teach geography. The resources of National Geography are vast and that means content. It’s free.There are alliances, there are projects like BioBlitz, and interactive mapping.

OK Glass!!

OK Glass!!

MapMaker Interactive

http://mapmaker.education.nationalgeographic.com/?ar_a=1&b=1&ls=000000000000

An interactive mapping experience with rich layers of information on the physical Earth, oceans, culture, and more.

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/?ar_a=1

GOT SCIENCE ON A SPHERE?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Esrl4_072009.jpg

Have You Got This Tech? Cyberlearning?

The NSF 2015 Teaching and Learning Video Showcase: Improving Science, Math, Engineering Computer Science, and Technology K-12 showcases cutting-edge NSF-funded work to improve teaching and learning, and will allow colleagues affiliated with MSPnet, CADRE, CIRCL, CAISE, STELAR, CS10Kcommunity, and ARC to view, discuss, and comment on each others’ work.

It will also allow each project to disseminate their work to the public at large, helping NSF achieve its goal of broad dissemination of innovative work. All videos and discussions will be archived for future access.

The 2015 Teacher and Learning Video Showcase is available from the
http://resourcecenters2015.videohall.com

112 (3-minute) videos from innovative project work conducted by researchers in multiple NSF programs.
http://resourcecenters2015.videohall.com
Over 260 presenters and co-presenters have submitted 112 videos

Do You Know Supercomputing? Most teachers don’t..Some have resources that have been developed for their use in Cyberlearning and in various programs from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

GOT SUPERCOMPUTING? Visualization and Modeling? Big Data?

IMG_0078

Some of us were lucky enough to be a part of the Christa McAuliffe Institute, i.e. there were two groups of us who worked together through the NEA. We seized the ideas of minority technology, and attempted to share what we knew about technology teacher to teacher and region to region. We were minority, male and mostly female and we did workshops and initiatives all over the USA.

The five first chosen were called Christa McAuliffe Educators and we were trained, given professional development with the latest of tools and the best of professors over many months.( Chris Dede and Seymour Papert. and there were others).Yvonne Andres shared Fred Mail, and we also learned from NASA and the National Center for Supercomputing. It was radical at the time.
We did some special programs with the NSF and learned about their outreach as well.

Being involved in transformational education through NASA

We never mentioned the word Supercomputing, we just did it.

At the time there were many NASA programs . We had people who demonstrated astronomy from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Young Astronaut Program.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/main/index.html

Challenger Center for Space Science Education is a nonprofit educational organization with its headquarters in Washington, DC. It was founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.

The organization offers dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities to students around the world. These programs equip students with the knowledge, confidence, and skills that will help better our national social and economic well-being.http://www.challenger.org

There was also Space Camp . If you look at the information in the link even back then there was awesome tech.

Space Camp was the brainchild of rocket scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun. Von Braun led propulsion activities that launched the Apollo-era U.S. manned space program and envisioned an aggressive schedule for America’s space-bound pioneers. Von Braun, then director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, reasoned there should be an experience for young people who were excited about space. Under the guidance of Edward O. Buckbee, the first director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Space Camp was born.

Camps are available for fourth grade through high school-age students. Additional programs are offered for trainees who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and those who have other special needs. Space Camp programs are also available for adults, educators, corporate groups and families. Family programs may include children as young as seven years old. I can’t really list all of the programs then or now. Space Centers helped us to find all of the projects that were available. Some teachers did Moonbase America, and others did project based NASA projects. We learned about raising food in space, basil, tomatoes, and thinking about ways to raise tilapia.

Being a Science Teacher with Outside Resources.. Try these NASA resources !!
We created an institute at Stanford where we invited teachers who applied to share their technology. We also presented our special projects. It was a sharing of the best of the best. We created more ways in which to do STEM which was called at the time SMET.

That is one level of technology. Have you considered that there was a synergy of space and Star Wars? The movie propelled a lot to be interested in Science Fiction. The force of interest drove many students to robotics.

Many Children Have Parents to Share New Ways of Learning with Them

This is from Family Days at AAAS.

George Lucas also pioneered Edutopia.Technology Integration examples were shared to help us all
explore new tools and strategies for empowering students to fully participate in a connected, techology-rich society. But this is the problem. At the time we talked of the digital divide. That was before a lot of people had access, tools, training, and/or permission to use technology in schools.

There was not BYOT Bring your own technology , and even with the tools we had there was a content divide. I know that in rural, distant , urban and some tribal areas we have a bigger divide.

Some people are not at the level that we think. There is a lot of tech, but it is not in all schools.

Digital Equity and Social Justice, Digital Divide.. To Grow Our Future in Technology, Look to the Past

363_42724556326_8230_n copy
Larry Irving at the Commerce Department helped us get started with his leadership long ago. Today he shared this thought
“Minorities and women, in fact all Americans, who work in or benefit from the technological revolution of the past several decades owe a debt of gratitude to the late Congressman Mickey Leland and the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. As we celebrate Black History Month it is appropriate that we remember their contributions to America’s technological past. They provide us guideposts for our future…”

Here is his article for Black History Month

To Grow Our Future in Technology, Look to the Past
Your Take: The next generation of black innovators needs to continue the work started by two pioneers who worked to ensure digital access for all.

BY: LARRY IRVING
Posted: Feb. 22 2014 1:00 AM

Here is his article for Black History Month
IMG_0003

To Grow Our Future in Technology, Look to the Past
Your Take: The next generation of black innovators needs to continue the work started by two pioneers who worked to ensure digital access for all.

BY: LARRY IRVING
Posted: Feb. 22 2014 1:00 AM

History doesn’t just happen. History starts with a vision.

In the early 1980s, Rep. George T. “Mickey” Leland, who was then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, envisioned a more inclusive telecommunications and media world.

A decade later, the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown recognized that the power of the Internet could unlock a brighter future for our children with better economic and educational opportunities.

Today, our leaders are writing history with critical decisions that will affect the future of the mobile revolution and the transition to all-Internet-based networks.
History doesn’t just happen. History starts with a vision.

In the early 1980s, Rep. George T. “Mickey” Leland, who was then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, envisioned a more inclusive telecommunications and media world.

A decade later, the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown recognized that the power of the Internet could unlock a brighter future for our children with better economic and educational opportunities.

Today, our leaders are writing history with critical decisions that will affect the future of the mobile revolution and the transition to all-Internet-based networks.

Mickey was weary of seeing stereotypical depictions of blacks and Hispanics in the media and was disappointed at the low rates of minority ownership and employment in the media and telecommunications industries. He understood that media ownership and employment would determine not just how white America saw black people but how black people saw themselves.

Equally important, he knew that electronic media and technology were going to be among the principal drivers of our economy and would present tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities for decades to come. And, being a great politician, he understood one other thing: He knew that times of great disruption bring great opportunity.

The media and telecommunications landscape was undergoing massive disruption in the 1980s. The historic AT&T was broken up into seven “Baby Bells.” New competitors such as MCI and Sprint were entering the telecommunications marketplace. Broadcasting was expanding from the three historic networks, and media-ownership opportunities were proliferating. And, perhaps most importantly, the cable-television industry was maturing and expanding.

Mickey was a strong supporter of innovation and technological advancement. But he made sure that every industry, even the most innovative industries, knew that his support for their efforts came with a condition: their support for increased opportunities for minorities and women.

Mickey fought for changes in the way minorities were portrayed by television broadcasters and movie producers; he drove the FCC to establish linkup and lifeline programs to increase telephone penetration rates in low-income communities; he fought for and won increased opportunities for ownership of radio and television stations by minorities; and, perhaps most importantly, he wrote legislation codifying increased employment and vendor opportunities for minorities in the cable-television industry. Those equal employment opportunity provisions became the model for other media industries, including the broadcasting industry.

Over the past 30 years, hundreds of thousands of minorities and women employees of media companies, in addition to thousands of cable vendors, benefited from Mickey’s hard work and vision. While the media and telecommunications industries are not as diverse as they could be, vast strides have been made as a result of Mickey’s vision and leadership.

Secretary Brown similarly understood the power of disruptive technology. He was a central figure in the Clinton administration’s policy formulations in the early days of the Internet, and he understood that the Internet was the transformative technology of its day. But he also understood that the Internet would only matter—would only be judged a clear success—if it benefited all Americans.

Shortly after Secretary Brown took office, a group of White House staffers presented him a list of proposed nominees for a Clinton administration private-sector advisory committee on the Internet. Secretary Brown looked at the list and noted that of the 25 suggested nominees, 22 were white males. He told the White House staff to take the list back and return with a more inclusive and diverse slate of nominees. One of the White House staff said, “But this list has been vetted and cleared by the White House,” to which Brown said, “Yes, and now it’s been vetted and rejected by the secretary of commerce who has to chair and manage that advisory committee.” The list was resubmitted with more diversity and a much-improved ratio of women and minorities on the committee.

The inclusion of women and minorities wasn’t just window dressing. Secretary Brown knew that we were at another technological inflection point. When he took office, fewer than 2 million people worldwide were on the Internet. The secretary knew that the Internet would grow and become ever more important. By ensuring diversity on the advisory committee, he made certain that as this high-powered group of individuals made policy suggestions to the president, they were looking at how this important new technology would affect and benefit all Americans and all American communities.

Secretary Brown was a firm supporter of the e-rate proposal that provided low-cost Internet connectivity to schools and libraries across America. He worked to develop policies and establish grant programs designed to connect schools, libraries, hospitals and rural health clinics. It’s a straight line from Secretary Brown’s commitment to connecting schools to the Internet two decades ago to the ConnectEd program the Obama administration supports today. Secretary Brown understood that, particularly in the early days of the Internet, millions of Americans would have their first experience with the Web in public institutions, and he fought to ensure those institutions had the resources they needed to serve their public.

Perhaps most importantly, he understood that there was a “digital divide,” and that it was the role of government to assist industry in bridging that divide. The digital divide would have been deeper and more pervasive but for Secretary Brown.

It is his signature on the front page of the first report defining the digital divide and stating that we, as a nation, have an obligation to ensure that all Americans have access to essential technological tools. He knew that with government and industry working together and with the formulation of smart policies, we could drive Internet connectivity rates higher. In slightly more than two decades, we have gone from 2 million people with access to the Internet to almost 3 billion people having access worldwide. Much of that growth is the result of the vision and the work of Ron Brown.

Today we are at another technological inflection point, another time of great disruption. The mobile revolution and the so-called “IP transition” promise to be even more disruptive than the cable revolution and the Internet revolution. And they promise to provide great opportunity for the smart and the agile. Women and men of vision must step forward to embrace these twin revolutions and work to ensure that these new technological tools are used to improve education, increase access to health care and fitness tools and provide for greater productivity and economic opportunity for our community.

Rep. Leland and Secretary Brown understood the power of technology to transform our image of ourselves, to enhance economic and educational opportunities and to ensure the future of our children. As we enter this next new phase of technological development, it is our obligation to further their twin visions.

The best way to celebrate Black History Month is to create some history of our own. Fast-tracking the move to modern, high-speed broadband networks, while ensuring that core consumer values are protected, will lay the foundation for even greater progress with education, health care, entrepreneurship, energy and the environment. We must understand and embrace new technologies and the opportunities they provide us. That’s what Mickey and Ron would have done.

Larry Irving, founding co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance, served for almost seven years as assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). He is widely credited with coining the term “the digital divide” and sparking global interest in the issue.

The original article available at http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/02/blacks_in_technology_two_pioneers_who_inspired_the_next_generation_of_innovators.2.html

Pictures from Work in the field, CyberEd , and Teragrid ( my personal photos)Being a Science Teacher with Outside Resources.. Try these NASA resources !!

Is America Really a Digitally Literate Nation? Do People Really Understand Inequity?Social Justice?

530786_458585780849208_709306110_n

Recently a lot of articles and workshops have come to us about the digital divide and that it still exists. It is a relief that people are coming back to the realization that we have an uneven learning landscape. Here is a whole article. The following is an excerpt. This is a lot of information, but it is very important to understand the challenges in education.
“For children in the U.S., their homes, their communities, and their schools both represent and perpetuate inequity. In fact, the inequity of childhood is increasing, not shrinking.”

At the Broadband Summit hosted by the FCC and NTIA, I heard  stories of people who are new to technology and how difficult it is for some populations to embrace technology. Many people are still waiting to embrace the mouse. Of course now we can leapfrog to a tablet. But understanding is the key to embracing technology in meaningful ways. Outstanding were the NTIA projects that support the uses of technology in community ways.

Sadly, many communities are still not well-connected.

563689_297167427070212_770290619_n

SHARING THE VISION

In February, there was an uncommon event. It was the 2013 Broadband Summit ( Broadband Adoption and Usage- What Have We Learned?)NTIA and the FCC shared the day in sharing knowledge.

The FCC is a leader in encouraging the safe use of electronic media by children.Educators are held to the idea of digital textbooks while many do not have connectivity in their schools. Students do not have the skills for workforce readiness. Many teachers don/t have the skills they need to be effective in the use of technology. Some of these ideas are shared in Digital Nation from Edutopia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nKIu9yen5nc

From televisions to laptops to cell phones, electronic media have become some children’s almost constant companions. The commission provides parents with a variety of resources to improve children’s safety in today’s complex media landscape, including:

At the SITE Conference in New Orleans… we will share the results of our work and research so that you don’t have to guess about resources . We have a Facebook Grant. The work will be published in the society’s journals.Here is a little information to frame the research that has been conducted.What is SITE?

We are the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, and it is our mission to promote research, scholarship, collaboration, exchange and support.

SITE Conference 2013 – Teaching in Exponential Times!

Sheraton San Diego

The 24th Annual International SITE Conference will be held March 25 – 29, 2013 in New Orleans, LA, USA

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP?

Definitions of Digital Citizenship In Our Facebook Grant Work

“Digital citizenship” is an umbrella term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it’s the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from “netiquette” to cyber-bullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more. In fact, some programs that teach digital citizenship have outlined no less than nine elements that intersect to inform a well-equipped digital citizen. It’s an overwhelming array of skills to be taught and topics to explore.The source of the nine elements is ISTE.org.

But while there is much talk about the importance of teaching digital citizenship in this information society, not many are sure what that really looks like. What tools are out there for teaching it? And how in the world can teachers make time in an already overcrowded curriculum?What  about those who do not have broadband access? Or limited bandwidth?

Digital Passport?

WHO USES TECHNOLOGY?Back Camera

There are lots of users of technology. My concern is that there are people who do not use, know about or are interested in the use of technology , nor do they know how they benefit from the ways in which technology is used at the highest levels in Supercomputing. They innocently use GPS, weather resources from Supercomputing, watch on television the news from around the world, get climate updates, and earthquake and seismic information without thinking of the source. They get visualization and modeling examples daily, and do not think at all of computational thinking , problem solving and the math that is required to be able to participate in computing.Many people use the cloud without knowledge of what it is. A good reference or starting point is at Shodor.org.

There is a higher form of computing that facilitates a lot of tasks for us and few people seem to be aware of it.

You will hear people say, I don’t need technology. Sure. Invisible uses are everywhere.

It is called Supercomputing.

GOT BROADBAND?

This morning several  articles caught my eye. But more than the articles is the interesting interaction on-line and the discussions about have and have-nots. Friends of mine,  a professor, a code writer and a mathematician had a late night discussion following my posting this video by Jeannette Wing.

Dr. Jeannette Wing was the Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation.Social Media helps us to communicate, though we may not always agree, at least there is the opportunity to exchange ideas and to think deeply with reflection. Dr. Wing has moved into the private sector. Microsoft announced that it has hired Dr. Jeannette Wing as Vice President of its Research division. Microsoft Research is an expansive group of technologists, scientists, and dreamers that build technology that may, or perhaps more often may not make it to market.

GOT PEDAGOGICAL KNOWLEDGE?

Such interesting conversations I have on Facebook. This is what I am talking about as a model for use of technology. It is not happening in most inner city and rural and distant schools. People have the tools but not the pedagogical knowledge of integration . ( TPACK)

TPACK Image (rights free)

The TPACK Model
The TPACK Model was created in response to the need to provide a framework around the important pieces of innovating learning with a focus on Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge.  The overlap of these three components is where the 21st Century classroom is most powerful.

Here is general information on TPACK

Got Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, lets add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Computational thinking is an approach to solving problems, building systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on the power and limits of computing. While computational thinking has already begun to influence many disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities, the best is yet to come.Looking to the future, we can anticipate even more profound impact of computational thinking on science, technology, and society: on the ways new discoveries will be made, innovation will occur, and cultures will evolve.

It is this that we learn with. So we had a person who writes code, a scientist and me, a teacher.. in a late night discussion with a professor about the video.This is one of the things about social media. It cuts the silos. Ground truths in social media.

I

In this interview from the Education Technology & Change blog, Henry Neeman from the University of Oklahoma describes the increasing accessibility of HPC.

“You may not see the supercomputers, but every single day supercomputing is making our lives better. Everything from the cars we drive to the weather forecast on TV to the movies we watch to the detergent bottles in our laundry rooms are made, or made better, by supercomputing. Today, there are a number of ways for citizens to access supercomputing. Often, these are known as “science gateways,” and they provide a simple interface to a complicated back end. An example is nanoHUB, which K-12 and postsecondary students can use to do nanotechnology simulations. In fact, the nanoHUB website has curricula and teaching materials that any teacher can put to work in their classroom.”

Early exposure and interest

early exposure and interest through outreach

This article caught my eye because it says the things that I have been blogging about, talking about and sharing for some time.

The article is entitled “By the Numbers: Teachers, Tech, and the Digital Divide” it extracts information from the latest Pew Report which is here. The new Pew Research survey of more than 2,400 middle school and high school teachers released today shows that, while teachers believe technology has helped with their teaching, it’s also brought new challenges — including the possibility of creating a bigger rift between low-income and high-income students.

858711_10151522638751327_826085403_o

Reading first.. . and there is free technology of excellence….Many of us know the challenges first hand . Many of us work at different levels of understanding of the difficulty. Often people dismiss what we who are on the ground , in the classrooms and in the places of need as if what we are saying is untrue. We have children who cannot read. Technology can help solve that problem. Early learning is important. Books and technology work too.

We know that people use the tools of technology, but that expense is a problem. We know that the cell phone has brought many people to a mobile use of technology and that “bring your own device” has become the salvation for some schools.Mobile use was shared in the Wireless Technology conference.

                         Wireless EdTech Beyond Being There – The Mobile Future of Learning ( in case you missed it)

There are a few other pieces of research that affect those of us of diversity in very important ways. We have always known that the digital divide is a problem based on access to broadband, hardware and access to teachers who may not have achieved the transformational skills to use technology in meaningful ways.

Some examples of ways in which people are trying to help are:


By Sean Cavanagh in Education Week

“Can online graphic novels help teenagers cope with difficult social situations?

Are 3-D technologies a tool for helping English-learners acquire language skills outside traditional educational settings? And what about the potential for mobile apps that let students manipulate on-screen images with their fingers to help them learn fractions?”

“A federal program, still in its infancy, is supporting research that seeks to answer those and other questions by wedding partners that often operate in isolation—educational technology and scientific research on learning—with the goal of transforming teaching and learning in schools.”

The federal government has been funding projects focused on technology and education for decades, and it has backed research on cognition in many forms. But the relatively new program, called Cyberlearning: Transforming Education , is the National Science Foundation ’s attempt to create a space within the agency devoted to supporting research on advanced learning technologies.

Some of the beginning steps of the program were shared in a conference .

NSF Funds Research to Identify What Works

Jeremy Rochelle of SRI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHmR0G_NmsE

The conference, which was hosted at the National Geographic, involved SRI ,  and NSF

you can find the portal here.They invite you to help write pages for the cyber-learning topic areas listed below. Their aim is to develop definitions that are strong enough to show the direction of the field but open enough to allow for innovation (see Defining Cyber-learning, below). If you have expertise in any of these areas and would like to be involved in editing these pages, please email cyberlearning-info@sri.com to request a wiki account.

Here are the topics:

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) project is also defining key TEL topics

This is the portal for this important work.( http://cyberlearning.sri.com/w/index.php/Cyberlearning:Community_portal)
There are many teachers, educators, administrators who are still learning to understand these topics and so even with help from various groups trying to make a difference, the leap of faith is a broad one. Edutopia has a program that starts to share why we must go digital.
There are still people who resist personal and educational use of technology for various reasons. Many teachers have the tools,but not the know how or support or the ideational  scaffolding that is needed to be technology fluent. The Pew Report outlined many of the things that I would say, but also lets us know that it is not just
those of us who talk about the digital divide and social justice who are complaining about lack of broadband, access, tools and support for learning the technology.
Edutopia has videos, blogs, and all manner of resources to share with educators on how to use and integrate technology into good practice.
There is no cost for exploring good practices in education at the site.

A fourth “r” for 21st century literacy- How do we give teachers professional development for it?

A student today needs a fourth R:  Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic  and ’rithms, as in algorithms, or basic computational skills.

From the floor of the Supercomputing Conference where teachers go to learn, and take courses

Immersion into Supercomputing

So my question is, how do we expect this to happen if the only outreach is to the teachers who are being wonderfully made a part of outreach who have PHD’s? There are ways to infuse interest, information and create the steps to the fourth “r” but for many students who are taught by teachers with little or no science training. Remember, with NCLB( No Child Left Behind) science was really neglected. Within the supercomputing community, some of us have started to push the envelope. Here is a paper that we wrote to open the challenge to other teachers. Computational Thinking, Computational Science and High Performance Computing in K-12 Education: White Paper on 21st Century Education

We are a small group seeking change and inclusion. Do you have to be a PhD to understand the new literacy? I don’t think so. If that is the passport to computational learning there are groups with so little membership that they will never catch up. Look at this data.


www.nsf.gov

This report continues a series of Congressionally-mandated biennial reports, providing data on the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment.

SOME CORPORATE VISIONS OF WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN

The Power of US is an ambitious, nationwide initiative that aims to transform K-12 education, and provide a customized learning experience for every child in America. This is a call for a major effort, similar to a ‘NASA moon shot’, with every student, teacher, school, and community involved in lift-off!  Our founder, Jack Taub had an interest in infusing the curriculum into schools K-12 so that computational science would be a natural part of the teaching learning process.

Academics seem to push away the classroom teachers, and there will be more PhD’s ,but who of them will serve the minority , urban, distant and poor communities, the ones who need resources the most?

There have been countless commission and organizational reports validating the WSJ CEO Council’s conclusion and describing the extent and impact of the lagging quality of America’s K-12 public education system.  The following are excerpts from a few current ones.

  • In April of 2009 McKinsey & Company took a close look at the impact of the education deficit between the U. S. and leading foreign countries.  They concluded:  “If the United States had in recent years closed the gap between its educational achievement levels and those of better-performing nations such as Finland and Korea, GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher. This represents 9 to 16 percent of GDP.  … Put differently, the persistence of these educational achievement gaps imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession. The recurring annual economic cost of the international achievement gap is substantially larger than the deep recession the United States is currently experiencing. (Based on GDP decline in the fourth quarter of 2008 of minus 6.3 percent.)” [1]
  • The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) recognized and addressed another major issue.  Without belittling the need for students to have a solid understanding of the content represented by the academic standards, P21 advocates the inclusion of another essential body of knowledge and/or skills as illustrated in the following quote from their website: to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the traditional 3 Rs with the essential 4 Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, and creativity and innovation).” (http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/)  The problem is, in many of today’s classrooms students are passive, dependent listeners, not active, engaged learners.  As a result, they do not have an opportunity to learn or use critical 21st century skills.
  • America’s leaders frequently bemoan the dropout problem, and rightly so.  However, we also have a diploma problem – people who graduate from high school without actually receiving an education.  To quote a recent study called “Diploma to Nowhere: A hoax is being played on America. The public believes that a high school diploma shows that a student is ready for college-level academics. Parents believe it too. So do students. But when high school graduates enroll in college as many as one million students fail placement exams every year. Well over one third of all college students need remedial courses in order to acquire basic academic skills.
  • This is a way of looking into the future. Future Work Skills. You will note the computational sciences here.
    http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/front/docs/sponsored/phoenix/future_work_skills_2020.pdf

TEACHER SPECIALISTS Say…..

Linda Darling Hammond and Tom Carroll do understand the ebb and flow of teacher candidates and the fact that there should be support , infrastructure and community to make significant changes. If you are really interested in change view this video by Linda Darling Hammond.

Is there a level of understanding in the academic higher ideational scaffolding about how to broaden engagement and make this new literacy available to all  teachers by inclusion? Surely we are not going to go back to the old model of teaching just the eleventh gaders and above who have managed to enter a career path that has been inclusive of computational thinking. The problem there is that there are teachers who have not been exposed to the computational resources to use to develop the skills. Ok let’s tell the truth.Math is not the strongest academic area for most teachers. So how can we make this tremendous change. There are groups working to make this change. But we need the teachers in the classroom to be educated. There are few PhD’s in the minority communities and even those are not in the areas where we need them to teach to create the kind of change that is needed.

If you read how people get hired in the essay /interview from Linda Darling Hammond, minority students will hardly get a chance to be taught by someone who is skilled in the computational sciences, or math, or science. We have to change that.

Pat Phillips has a wonderful powerpoint that shares the ideas.

FROM THOSE ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN TEACHING?

Diane Baxter and     Mano Talaiver who work with K-12 teachers

These two women know to link with the teachers in the classroom and to provide outreach to the teachers , to the learning community and link to the universities. Mano is at Longwood University in Virginia , and Diane Baxter is at the San Diego Supercomputing Center.They have been funded to create change and to help teachers make the neccesary  transistions.’

Here is a reason for the immediacy of the change to curriculum.This is long.

As a minority , as a woman we are always running to catch up. Technology is ever evolving,

Vint Cerf says, this in a wonderful essay.

“What about the claim that Internet access is or should be a civil right? The same reasoning above can be applied here — Internet access is always just a tool for obtaining something else more important — though the argument that it is a civil right is, I concede, a stronger one than that it is a human right. Civil rights, after all, are different from human rights because they are conferred upon us by law, not intrinsic to us as human beings.”he says.

“While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a “right” to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of “universal service” — the idea that telephone service (and electricity, and now broadband Internet) must be available even in the most remote regions of the country. When we accept this idea, we are edging into the idea of Internet access as a civil right, because ensuring access is a policy made by the government.”

“Yet all these philosophical arguments overlook a more fundamental issue: the responsibility of technology creators themselves to support human and civil rights. The Internet has introduced an enormously accessible and egalitarian platform for creating, sharing and obtaining information on a global scale. As a result, we have new ways to allow people to exercise their human and civil rights.”

In this context, engineers have not only a tremendous obligation to empower users, but also an obligation to ensure the safety of users online. That means, for example, protecting users from specific harms like viruses and worms that silently invade their computers. Technologists should work toward this end.”

The Answer Sheet

This was written by Cathy N. Davidson, a Duke University professor, self-described “technopragmatist,” and author of Now You See It:  How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. 

By Cathy N. Davidson

What basic skills do kids today need to thrive in the 21st century digital age? The 3 R’s of “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” were deemed essentials of mandatory public schooling in the 19th century Industrial Age where mass printing and machine-made paper and ink made books available to just about everyone for the first time in history. A student today needs a fourth R:  Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic  and ’rithms, as in algorithms, or basic computational skills.   By getting the youngest kids started on algorithmic or computational thinking, we give them the same tool of agency and being able to make (not just receive) digital content that the 3 R’s gave to Industrial Age learners.

Here’s a definition of algorithm adapted from the Wikipedia dictionary.   “Algorithm: A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, esp. by a computer.”  Algorithms are the basis for computational thinking, programming, writing code, and webcraft.   Just as the last century saw a major educational initiative aimed at basic literacy and numeracy for the masses, the 21st century should be pushing for basic computational literacy for everyone, starting with kids and, of course, with adult and lifelong learning possibilities for all of us.

Before mass printing, universal literacy and numeracy were not considered important because the division of those who ruled and those who were ruled was skewed radically, so a small aristocracy controlled the majority of people.   With the rise of the middle class in industrialism came compulsory schooling and a push towards universal literacy.   Simple access to print doesn’t mean much unless you can read and write.  You can’t be middle class without some control over your own budgets, income, earnings, spending, and savings so elementary numeracy is crucial.

Algorithms are as basic to the way the 21st century digital age works as reading, writing, and arithmetic were to the late 18th century Industrial era. Here’s some of what the fourth “R” of “algorithms” adds to the standard syllabus of 21st century learning:

*Algorithms and algorithmic thinking give kids of the 21st century the ability to write software and change programs to suit themselves, their own creativity, and their desire to self-publish their own multimedia work.  Wonderful open source, nonprofit (free!) multimedia programs like Scratch , designed by the MIT Media Lab, inspire kids to “create and share your own interactive stories, games, music, and art.”  Or kids can take advantage of the free online web remixing programHackasaurus , created by the nonprofit Mozilla Corporation that develops the Firefox browser.

*Learning basic algorithms allows them to create not just content but the actual structures of Webcraft that govern their lives today, including interaction with other kids learning the same skills they are.

*It allows for more diverse participation in the creation (not just the consumption) of the digital cultural, as well as the economic, educational, and business products of the 21st century.

*It helps to end the false “two cultures” binary of the arts, humanities and social sciences on the one side, and technology and science on the other.   Algorithmic thinking is scientific but also operational and instrumental — it does stuff, makes stuff, allows for creativity, multimedia and narrative expression — all worked out within code that has been generated by these larger human and social and aesthetic priorities.

*By making computational literacy one of the basics, it could help redress the skewed gender balance of learning right now, with an increasingly high proportion of boys failing and then dropping out of the educational system, a disproportionate number of women going into teaching as a profession, and an abominably low percentage of women going into technology and multimedia careers.  Starting early might help level the playing field in several directions at once.

*If we don’t teach kids how to control this dynamic means of production, we will lose it.  Computational literacy should be a human right in the 21st century but, to access that right, kids need to learn its power, in the same way that the earlier literacies are also powerful if you master them.

*For those kids not destined to be programmers when they grow up, this Fourth R gives them access to computational thinking, it shows them what webcraft is and does, and it shows them how the World Wide Web was originally designed; that is, with algorithms that allow as many people to participate as possible, allowing as much access and as little regulation, hierarchy, and central control as possible.

*For the Fourth R to catch on, we’d also have to invest in teacher training. That might include scholarships for college students who wanted to go on to be teachers of basic computing skills.  Think about the range of societal impacts this would have.  It may be true that simple code writing today can be outsourced and off-shored — but teaching the building blocks of literacy for a digital age is an important skill and requires good teachers.

*Unlike math, which can often be difficult to teach because of its abstractness, teaching basic programming skills allows kids to actually do and make things on line, that can be shared within the various educational communities supported by programs like Scratch or Hackasaurus.  Grade school kids can very soon manipulate, create, and remix, in their very own and special way, with unique sounds and colors and animation and all the things that make learning fun and the Internet so vital.

Some have argued that the most important 3 R’s in education are really rigor, relevance, and relationships.  Adding “Algorithms” to reading, writing, and arithmetic also helps with that goal.  The rigor is not only inherent, but it is observable. You get your program right, and it works.  No end-of-grade testing required.  Algorithms only when you make them right, so you don’t need external measures.  Your progress is charted, tracked, and can be measured against that of others every time you solve a problem on line.

What could be more relevant to the always-on student of today than to learn how to make apps and programs and films and journalism and multimedia productions and art for the mobile devices that, we know, are now almost ubiquitous in the United States, if not by ownership then by availability in town libraries, schools, and elsewhere?

Finally, relationships: teaching algorithms is hands-on, even when it is done digitally.  You correct on a minute level, you learn, you go to the next level.  Someone guiding you can make all the difference.

If every child began to learn programming along with basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, the world of computer scientists and software entrepreneurs would be far more diverse — in gender, educational background, income level, race and ethnicity, and region.

How would our world change if we had something closer to universal computer literacy equal to the old forms of literacy and numeracy which were the object of 19th and 20th century public schooling?  What could our world look like if it were being designed by a more egalitarian, publicly educated cadre of citizens, whose literacies were a right not a privilege mastered in expensive higher education, at the end of a process that tends to weed out those of lower income?

The 4 R’s.   Reading, writing, arithmetic, algorithms.    Think about it!

-0-