Archive for June 13, 2012

Stretching your mind: Arguing for multiple programming languages for designers

Nice piece from Eugene Wallingford on Venkat Subramaniam’s talk at JRubyConf 2012.  Reminds me of Janet Murray’s argument for why designers should learn programming, and about the BLS data saying that we need more program designers.

Subramaniam began his talk by extolling the overarching benefits of being able to program in many languages. Knowing multiple programming languages changes how we design software in any language. It changes how we think about solutions. Most important, it changes how we perceive the world. This is something that monolingual programmers often do not appreciate. When we know several languages well, we see problems — and solutions — differently.

Why learn a new language now, even if you don’t need to? So that you can learn a new language more quickly later, when you do need to. Subramaniam claimed that the amount of time required to learn a new language is inversely proportional to the number of languages a person has learned in last ten years. I’m not sure whether there is any empirical evidence to support this claim, but I agree with the sentiment. I’d offer one small refinement: The greatest benefits come from learning different kinds of language. A new language that doesn’t stretch your mind won’t stretch your mind.

via Knowing and Doing: May 2012 Archives.

June 13, 2012 at 7:36 am 2 comments

Disappointing Support for new NRC Framework for Science Standards from P21

I received the below statement via email, and I found it somewhat disappointing.  Wholehearted support for the NRC Science Standards even though they ignore computing?  From companies like Intel and Cisco?  I had not heard of P21 previously, and wonder what if there’s any connection between this group and Computing in the Core.  My guess is that there isn’t, but there probably should be.

P21’s statement on new framework for
voluntary Next Generation Science Standards
Washington, D.C. – June 5, 2012 – The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, P21, the leading national organization advocating for 21st century readiness for every student believes the National Research Council’s new framework for science standards offers an exciting new vision for 21st century teaching and learning.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills commends the National Research Council for its Leadership States and partners developing the Next Generation Science Standards. P21 recognizes that the fields of science and engineering represent not just leading sources for economic advancement, but serve as dynamic platforms for pursuing new knowledge that can lead to a love of learning and support the development of the 4Cs – creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. This conceptual framework can begin to reshape what students need to know and be able to do in order to cultivate 21st century leaders in science and citizenship. 
P21 particularly recognizes the conceptual shifts in the NGSS as well as the inclusion of the science and engineering practices in this new approach to standards development. 
The conceptual shifts emphasize real world interconnections in science, interdisciplinary integration across core subjects, and conceptual coherence from kindergarten through 12th grade, each of which aligns with P21’s approach to 21st century teaching and learning. More importantly, they emphasize not just the acquisition, but the application of content. P21 is pleased to see the NRC and the Leadership States embrace these shifts as each one is critical to preparing students for life and careers in the 21st century.
The eight science and engineering practices also directly align with elements of the P21 Framework. From asking questions and defining problems to using models, carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, designing solutions and using evidence, these practices form the essential elements of the critical thinking and problem solving components of the P21 Framework. In addition, P21 commends the NGSS for recognizing the importance of communicating information as a scientific practice.  
Collaboration and teamwork are essential for academic and career success; therefore, P21 is pleased to see that the requirement for collaboration and collaborative inquiry and investigation begin in kindergarten and extend throughout the standards.
P21 looks forward to working with the NRC, the P21 Leadership States and partners to ensure the next steps in this process of creating science standards continue to value not only content knowledge but also necessary skills for growth and success in the 21st century workplace.  
About P21: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.
P21 Members: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cengage Learning, Cisco Systems, Inc., The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP), Crayola, Dell, Inc., EdLeader21, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Ford Motor Company Fund, GlobalScholar, Goddard Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, Knovation, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LEGO Group, Mosaica Education, National Academy Foundation, National Education Association, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, Wireless Generation, Verizon Foundation, and VIF International Education.

June 13, 2012 at 7:35 am 3 comments

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