Archive for February 26, 2013

NYC to teach computer science and software engineering in 20 schools

This is stunning: New York City Schools are going to teach computer science and software engineering in grades 6-12 in 20 schools starting this Fall.  By 2016, they plan to more than triple the number of children enrolled in the “Software Engineering Pilot program.”  I’m really curious about how they’re going to ramp up professional development to this scale.  It’s a great test for the future CS10K plans by NSF.  It’s not clear to me the goal — that these children will be ready to enter the IT workforce with their high school diplomas, or that these children will have the skills to succeed in later certificate and degree programs?

“We know it’s vital to prepare our children to succeed in an increasingly technology-centered economy and the Software Engineering Pilot will help us do just that,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This groundbreaking program will ensure that more students receive computer science and software engineering instruction so that they can compete for the tech jobs that are increasingly becoming a part of our city’s economy. We’re creating the home-grown workforce our city needs and teaching our students skills that will open up new doors for them and their future.”

via NYC.gov.

February 26, 2013 at 1:38 am 8 comments

The Unsustainable MOOCiversity

I have a post-it on my monitor with a quote from Alan Kay: “You can fix a clock, but you have to negotiate with a system.”  I was reminded of that in reading the below essay.  I have been worried about the sustainability of the (lack of a) revenue model for MOOCs, but this essay goes further.  If we destroy the universities, who makes the next generation of MOOCs?  There are ramifications of the changes that are being proposed for using MOOCs as a replacement for our current higher education system.

Failing to account for, and pay for, the continuation and reproduction of a necessary system isn’t economic rationality; it isn’t a hard-nosed commitment to making the tough choices; it’s the exact opposite. It’s living as if there is no future, no need to reproduce the systems we have now for the future generations who will eventually need them. The fantasy that we could MOOCify education this year to save money on professor labor next year, and gain a few black lines in the budget, ignores the obvious need for a higher educational system that will be able to update, replenish, and sustain the glorious MOOCiversity when that time inevitably comes. Who is supposed to develop all the new and updated MOOCs we’ll need in two, five, ten, twenty years, in response to events and discoveries and technologies we cannot yet imagine? Who is going to moderate the discussion forums, grade the tests, answer questions from the students? In what capacity and under what contract terms will these MOOC-updaters and MOOC-runners be employed? By whom? Where will they have received their training, and how will that training have been paid for? What is the business model for the MOOC — not this quarter, but this decade, this century?

via Some Preliminary Theses on MOOCs « Gerry Canavan.

February 26, 2013 at 1:24 am 6 comments


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