Computer Science Bi-Weekly News

Educator News, Conferences, and Opportunities

UCSD Computer Scientist Wins 2017 MacArthur Fellows Honors

The MacArthur Foundation recently announced its 2017 MacArthur Fellows – 24 individuals whose achievements show “exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.” The MacArthur Fellows program grants each recipient a no-strings attached stipend of $625,000 in order to support his or her own creative and professional ambitions. The program features scientists, artists, historians, and writers. The 2017 Fellows class features two computer scientists: Regina Barzilay, Delta Electronics professor and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stefan Savage, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Stefan Savage Dr. Savage researches cybersecurity and cyber crime, using an interdisciplinary method that considers the economic and social context of crime, in addition to technological solutions. One of Dr. Savage’s projects focused on email spam – rather than try to prevent spam emails, he focused on preventing profitability. After finding that a small number of banks were involved in processing these transactions, the various stakeholders were able to track and shut down these bank accounts. Dr. Savage was also a recent participant in the CCC workshop series on Sociotechnical Cybersecurity. Learn more about why the MacArthur Foundation chose these two accomplished computer scientists and read about all the remarkable MacArthur Fellows by visiting https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/.

Expanding Computer Science in Schools is a Bipartisan Opportunity
[The Hill]
A bipartisan idea is a rare creature in Washington these days, but there is one issue that brings the parties together: the need to expand computer science education in America’s schools. President Obama proposed spending an additional $4 billion, and President Trump released a more modest proposal. But despite these efforts, schools are still waiting for additional funding. That’s a shame because computer science skills hold the keys to economic opportunity for students. Just as important, the benefits don’t just accrue to students themselves. Rather, these are competencies that will be increasingly important to American competitiveness in the 21st century. To read further, please visit http://thehill.com/opinion/education/356451-expanding-computer-science-in-schools-is-a-bipartisan-opportunity. http://thehill.com/opinion/education/356451-expanding-computer-science-in-schools-is-a-bipartisan-opportunity.

California Voters Strongly Back Expanded K-12 Science and Computer Education, Poll Shows
[EdSource]
Californians overwhelmingly support expanding science and computer education starting in elementary school, according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll. The online survey of 1,200 registered voters in California found that 87 percent favored schools putting “greater emphasis on integrating science as part of the entire public school curriculum.” Although by far the majority of respondents said they had never heard of the Next Generation Science Standards, the new science standards adopted by the state in 2013, 68 percent support the concept once the standards were described to them. The poll was conducted from late August to early September. To read further, please visit https://edsource.org/2017/california-voters-overwhelming-support-expanded-k-12-science-and-computer-education-poll-shows/588714.

The San Diego Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) will be having its Fall General Membership Meeting at the UC San Diego Supercomputer Center. We hope you can join us and catch up on what’s being planned around the county for the 2017-18 academic year, particularly teacher professional development, student competitions, and networking opportunities in Computer Science for everyone. Along with refreshments we will hear from the new Interim Director of Education for the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Dr. Bob Sinkovits.

While there will be the usual interesting agenda of items, most importantly will be elections for officers:

  • President
  • Elementary Grades Board Member
  • Middle/Junior Grades Board Member
  • High School/Post-Secondary (9-14) Board Member
  • At-Large Board Member
  • At-Large Board Member

Please consider running for one of these positions or nominating a fellow CS educator. If you decide to nominate someone (self-nominations are welcomed), go to the Google Form at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewS7SCOxHlQ52Yh8xkiOvr6me8TvubNN9UL4hSG2kOqxJ_3g/viewform?usp=sf_link

Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided. To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fall-general-membership-meeting-tickets-38644278076.

An MIT Media Lab startup is creating beautiful wooden toys to teach children the basics of coding
Kimberly Smith was a master’s student in the MIT Media Lab’s social computing group when she first began dreaming up wooden toys to teach children how to code.

At the time, the lab was looking into small-scale solutions in education, agriculture, and transportation “that would make cities stronger and better and more livable,” says Smith. “These were things like small-scale parklets or micro permaculture farms.” The idea was to “use the small scale model to affect big change.”

While working on a project to create a new model for education, Smith, who comes from a design background, grew fascinated with the Montessori method. The century-old, child-led approach focuses on fostering a child’s natural curiosity through tactile objects and play sets designed to teach concepts like object permanence, decimal numbers, and world geography. Within these sculpture-like materials, Smith found the inspiration for what would become her venture, To read further, please visit https://qz.com/1069716/an-mit-media-lab-startup-is-creating-beautiful-wooden-toys-to-teach-children-the-basics-of-coding/.

3 Ways to Leverage Elementary Coding for NGSS Standards
eSCHOOLS NEWS
As our district has started exploring the role that computer coding should play in our students’ educational lives, more than once the following question has come up: What NGSS standards will this cover? This is a critical question. If we are going to take instructional time to work with students to code more, we are going to have to quit doing something else in order to have the time to do it. So, what should we give up? Will coding allow us to cover other standards to ensure that students will be well prepared? Fortunately, there are good answers to these questions across all different grade levels. Here, we will focus on science. If a teacher were to give up some “science time” and teach coding to students, which of the NGSS standards would be covered? To read further, please visit https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/08/29/leverage-coding-ngss-standards/.

Teaching Kids Coding, by the Book
New York Times
One sunny summer morning this month, a group of 20 teenage girls gathered in a conference room in the sleek offices of a tech company in Manhattan. It was their fifth week of coding camp, and they were huddled around laptops, brainstorming designs for their final projects. One group was building a computer game that simulates the experience of going through life with depression and anxiety, while others were drafting plans for websites that track diversity at companies and help connect newly arrived immigrants with local community groups. They were working intently when Reshma Saujani, the founder and chief executive of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, dropped in to offer some encouragement. “How many of you take computer science class at your schools?” she asked. Hands shot up. “Are you the only girls in your class?” she asked. Most of the girls nodded. To read further, please visit https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/books/coding-children.html.

Educators recognize demand for coding, computer science skills
Daily Journal
Mississippi may be more than 2,000 miles from Silicon Valley, but future software developers are honing their skills in the Magnolia State. I had the chance to learn about the value of computer coding during a recent visit to the Base Camp Coding Academy in Water Valley. The 12-month program readies Mississippians in their senior year of high school for well-paying software jobs. Graduates have gone on to receive job offers from CSpire and FedEx. The business community’s enthusiasm and financial support for students at the Base Camp Coding Academy reaffirm the growing demand for advanced computer skills in the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computing will represent one out of every two STEM jobs in less than a decade. The field could produce 1.3 million job openings by 2022. To read further, please visit http://www.djournal.com/opinion/columnists/roger-wicker-educators-recognize-demand-for-coding-computer-science-skills/article_4057dfc0-4f42-5934-b473-77e98ae9a85f.html.

 

Student Engagement and Opportunities

Falling Behind
[Inside Higher Ed]

Job growth in the computing field is far outstripping the supply of students earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and similar disciplines, according to a new report from the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. “Strains on educational institutions are significant,” the report says. “There is a growing sense of an impending crisis in many universities.” The academies recommend colleges and universities consider channeling more resources into computer science departments to address professors’ mounting workloads, while also teaching courses creatively with more emphasis on technology for “high-quality instruction.” To read further, please visit https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/27/even-booms-student-enrollment-not-enough-degrees-keep-jobs-computer-science.

A New Spotlight for the FIRST® Community
Introducing FIRST® Stories: our new showcase of narratives from members of the FIRST community. FIRST Stories features profiles on innovation, transformation, and more. Read how FIRST redefines students’ idea of success, how FIRST provides opportunity to those who need it most, or share your own FIRST story.

UC San Diego Computer Scientist Welcomes New Jobs Partnership with Tech San Diego
UCSD News
A new initiative in San Diego will help find more interns and full-time employees for technology companies from among students in college or getting ready to graduate. The non-profit organization Tech San Diego announced that it is boosting regional talent efforts by hiring a director for its recently-launched University Talent Initiative. The effort starts out as a partnership with the University of California San Diego to improve the local talent pipeline, from talent access to internships, research and collaborations, while building tools to help local companies find qualified workers. UC San Diego is the pilot university for the University Talent Initiative, which is primarily funded by a grant from the Legler Benbough Foundation. The non-profit Tech San Diego plans to develop relationships with key faculty in the Jacobs School of Engineering as well as key student organizations. Case in point: Tech San Diego already has an agreement with the UC San Diego Data Science Club to highlight the growing data science and analytics cluster. Tech San Diego plans to hold on-campus events at UC San Diego to offer a mix of compelling and career-helpful activities that highlight the regional tech economy. The organization has also implemented a new student event initiative to allow UC San Diego students to attend select Tech San Diego events. To read further, please visit http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/uc_san_diego_computer_scientist_welcomes_new_jobs_partnership_with_tech_san.

New Computer Science Effort Will Expand Student Opportunities
When Glasgow High School senior Adam Garrett started studying computer science, he saw it as a way to advance his dream of going to college and becoming an aerospace engineer.“I can use computer science to understand how all these different machines work and all these robotics aspects of it – how I can apply it to my job,” Garrett said.Garrett spoke at his high school during an announcement for a new statewide computer science initiative that aims to expand students’ learning opportunities. The initiative is a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education, AdvanceKentucky, the College Board and Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding. To read further, please visit http://www.bgdailynews.com/news/new-computer-science-effort-will-expand-student-opportunities/article_a0ae1172-a031-5d61-8dc6-b69223816c72.html.

Autism Accessibility Mornings at the Fleet
Upcoming Dates:
Saturday, Sep 16, 2017 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Saturday, Nov 18, 2017 9:00 am to 10:00 am
The third Saturday of every month, early access to galleries 9-10 a.m. IMAX showing at 10 a.m.
The Fleet invites the Autism Spectrum Community to enjoy our museum through this special opportunity. Adults and families with children with autism can enjoy the Fleet’s exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before regular open hours to the general public and with access to a special cool-off space. Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum all day. Admission includes a special IMAX film screening at 10 a.m. with the house lights on and a lower soundtrack volume. Regular admission rates apply. The Fleet Science Center strives to be an inclusive place where people of all needs and abilities are welcome and accommodated with respect every day. We believe science is for everyone! For more information, please visit http://www.rhfleet.org/events/autism-accessibility-mornings.

Tickets have been generously donated by Fleet Science Center employees and volunteers. Quantities are limited.  Please inquire in person on program dates for availability.

Fleet Weekend Science  Clubs
Upcoming Dates:
Saturday, Oct 14, 2017 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Saturday, Nov 11, 2017 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Saturday, Dec 9, 2017 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Join us on the second weekend of each month to investigate exciting science topics. Sessions will be filled with new challenges, hands-on activities and interaction with local scientists. Throughout the year, we will explore an array of fields including biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, physics, robotics and much more! To read further, please visit http://www.rhfleet.org/events/weekend-science-clubs.