Archive for March 2, 2012

CRA’s Nico Habermann Award to Lucy, Bobby, and Telle for NCWIT!

Congratulations to Lucy, Bobby, and Telle!  Very well deserved!  NCWIT has been an amazing force in improving computing education for everyone. They focus on women & IT, but what helps women, helps everyone. Their success in improving diversity helps all of computing and the quality of everything we do.  Hooray!

The CRA Board of Directors has selected Lucy Sanders, CEO, National Center for Women & Information Technology; Robert Schnabel, Dean, School of Informatics, Indiana University; and Telle Whitney, CEO and President of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology to receive the 2012 A. Nico Habermann Award.

The award is given for their joint efforts to establish and sustain NCWIT, a national resource dedicated to encouraging greater participation of women in the development of computing technology. Each of these individuals has played an essential role in NCWIT’s creation and success.

via Nico Habermann Award | Computing Research Association.

March 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm 1 comment

Is Learning Computing Like Eating Vegetables?

I share Geeky Mom’s concerns about students finding Scratch (Scratch?!? Really?!?) too hard, and the notion of learning computing becoming like eating vegetables. Computing is the most expressive and powerful medium that humans have ever invented — surely, it’s not brussell sprouts!

I’ve been having conversations with various students about learning Scratch. I find it really helpful just to ask for honest answers, and I love that most 8th graders will actually be honest. The main answer I get about learning Scratch is that students find it too hard. It’s too much work, they say, to get any good results. Or it’s too tedious. I find this interesting because they’ll do math and science that’s also pretty hard.

Reports abound that CS is a great field economically. Yet, it’s not filled with women. It’s also not gaining too much traction in high schools. We keep telling people that CS is “good for you” but people aren’t engaging. Is Scratch like putting ice cream on brussell sprouts? Or worse, maybe it is brussell sprouts. If that’s true, I’m not sure how to fix that. Look at what’s going on with nutrition these days. Eat your vegetables has been a mantra for years and yet, our obesity problem increases.

via Is Computing Like Eating Vegetables | Geeky Mom.

March 2, 2012 at 7:36 am 12 comments

SIGCSE, Keynote #1, Fred Brooks. (Yes, THAT Fred Brooks.) « Nick Falkner

Nick is doing an amazing job with play-by-play blog posts of SIGCSE 2012 — I recommend reading there for what’s going on!

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr is a pretty well-know figure in Computer Science. Even if you only vaguely heard of one of his most famous books “The Mythical Man Month“, you’ll know that his impact on how we think about projects, and software engineering projects in general, is significant and he’s been having this impact for several decades. He’s spent a lot of time trying to get student Software Engineering projects into a useful and effective teaching form – but don’t turn off because you think this is only about ICT. There’s a lot for everyone in what follows.

His keynote on Thursday morning was on “The Teacher’s Job is to Design Learning Experiences; not Primarily to Impart Information” and he covered a range of topics, including some general principles and a lot of exemplars. He raised the old question: why do we still lecture? He started from a discussion of teaching before printing, following the development of the printed word and into the modern big availability, teleprocessed world of today.

via SIGCSE, Keynote #1, Fred Brooks. (Yes, THAT Fred Brooks.) « Nick Falkner.

March 2, 2012 at 7:34 am 1 comment


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