Archive for September 20, 2010

Changing the Equation in STEM Education | The White House

It’s great that the White House cares so much about STEM education.  $5M annually seems like a fairly small investment.  I’m hoping that the CEO’s involved will bring private resources to the problem.  Notice the heavy involvement of computing-related organizations: Former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt and Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez. and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Today, President Obama announced the launch of Change the Equation, a CEO-led effort to dramatically improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as part of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign.  Change the Equation is a non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM education in the United States.

The United States is falling behind our foreign competitors in STEM subjects.  According to one, study American 15-year-olds ranked 21st in science and 25th in math compared to other countries.  In his remarks to day, the President emphasized the importance of providing American students with a solid foundation in these subjects in order to compete in the global economy.

via Changing the Equation in STEM Education | The White House.

September 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm 2 comments

Multi-lingual Pedagogical Programming Environment: Pyjama

Doug Blank at Bryn Mawr is looking for people to try out and help with his new editor/shell IDE, Pyjama ( Pyjama is built on Microsoft’s Dynamic Language Runtime. Languages in Pyjama can share data, functions, and objects.

Pyjama currently comes with support for four languages: Python, Ruby, Scheme, and Dinah (“a new language prototype similar to the Alice interface”).  There are YouTube videos available about using the shell and the editor. The current tool is written in IronPython with Gtk# for the GUI.  It runs under Mono for Mac and Linux.

Doug is looking for folks to help out with Pyjama.  Explicitly, he wants this to be an educator’s tool, written for and by educators. Doug told me about his reasons for Pyjama in an email:

The larger goal of Pyjama is to make it so that educators can easily switch between programming languages, or switch contexts and topics. For example, if you would like to do Alice 3D programming, but you would rather do it in Python, then you could. Or if you would like to use an Alice interface to control robots, then you could. In addition, if you would like to create a new language (or language environment, like Processing or Scratch) then you could. Or if you would like to create a new module (say in Scientific Methods) then that module will instantly be available to all of the Pyjama languages.

We (teachers) need to be in control of everything in the academic environment… If Java isn’t the right language, let’s build our own. If IDLE and Python doesn’t work just right, let’s alter it to suit our needs, not just use what is available.

September 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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