Archive for October 8, 2010

UCLA receives $12.5 million grant to increase computer science instruction in urban schools

Wow!  This has to be the largest award ever to fund computer science education curriculum development.  Congrats to Jane Margolis and her team at UCLA! Cool!

UCLA has been awarded $12.5 million from the National Science Foundation to help advance new and innovative computer science instruction in high schools, especially those in large urban school districts.

The new project, MOBILIZE: Mobilizing for Innovative Computer Science Teaching and Learning, is a targeted mathematics and science partnership among Center X at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies; the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science; and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Using CENS-developed participatory sensing technologies, MOBILIZE will develop and implement challenging, engaging, hands-on projects and curricula for high school computer science courses, as well as for standards-based mathematics and science classes. Participatory sensing allows students to collect and analyze data using mobile phones and Web technology.

The pilot project will initially launch in urban Los Angeles high schools and later be disseminated to schools throughout the country.

via UCLA receives $12.5 million grant to increase computer science instruction in urban schools / UCLA Newsroom.

October 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm 2 comments

Running on Empty Report Released

The Running on Empty report by CSTA and the ACM Education Policy Committee has just been released.  It’s a state-by-state analysis of how well each state’s K-12 learning objectives meet the learning objectives in the ACM K-12 curriculum objectives.  It paints a pretty miserable picture, but it also sets a yardstick by which to measure our progress upward from here.

Computer science and the technologies it enables now lie at the heart of our economy, our daily lives, and scientific enterprise. As the digital age has transformed the world and workforce, U.S. K–12 education has fallen woefully behind in preparing students with the fundamental computer science knowledge and skills they need for future success. To be a well-educated citizen as we move toward an ever-more computing-intensive world and to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century, students must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science.

The report finds that roughly two-thirds of the country have few computer science education standards for secondary school education, and most states treat high school computer science courses as simply an elective and not part of a student’s core education.

via Running on Empty.

October 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm 3 comments

Are they Students or are they Learners?

Interesting blog post, contrasting “students” and “learners.”  I think it’s written unfairly to teachers.  Yes, “students” are there for grades — but they’re in the classroom because that’s the deal that they want.  I’d love to get a class of 150 learners.  My classes tend to be mostly filled with students.  Now, there may be 30 learners in there, but given the descriptions here, it’s pretty clear that they’re okay on their own but the students aren’t. Learners can learn at a distance. Students are less successful at it.


Relationship with educators Students are employees, required to obediently follow instructions…Learners are citizens with a vested interest in the learning society.

Relationship with other “Students” Students are competitors…Learners are collaborators

Motivation Obligation Responsibility: Students are culturally obliged to work for the teacher & for compensation (below)…Learners are motivated by an understood and realized “value” in their work, especially when it is valuable to others.

Compensation Institution defined grades and gateways to college (another institution) and a good job (another institution)…A sense of ongoing accomplishment that is not delivered but earned, and not symbolic but tangible and valuable — an investment.

via Are they Students or are they Learners? : 2¢ Worth.

October 8, 2010 at 11:09 am 1 comment

When is teaching more a public service than a profession?

Time asks an important question this week.  How do we build up respect for the vocation of teaching, when we also consider it a public service that a smart graduate can pick up in only a few weeks of Summer training?

Yet even as momentum builds for nontraditional training programs to get more talented people into classrooms — the Obama Administration requested $405 million in the 2011 budget to fund alternative pathways to teaching — a basic question may have been overlooked: What does it mean when we decide that teaching is more a public service than a profession? “Think about medical-residency programs,” says Joanna Jacobson, founder of Strategic Grant Partners, a pro bono consulting firm that funds and counsels education-reform efforts around the nation. “The feds support doctors who choose residencies in high-needs urban and rural areas. But they are not doing an all-call to anyone who wants to dabble around and be a doctor.” She also says, pointedly, “Not everyone can be a good teacher.”

The Department of Education estimates that by 2014, the nation will need up to 1 million new teachers. But if a city has too many broken streetlights, should it ask for paid volunteers to fix them? Or should it hire more professional electricians?

via How to Recruit Better Public-School Teachers -What Makes a School Great- Printout – TIME.

October 8, 2010 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

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