To start, there were the pitches from college engineering programs in curly purple typeface accented by flowery images. Women are grossly underrepresented in engineering and computer science careers, a fact that is attracting an increasing amount of attention. Since May, a number of tech companies, among them Google and Facebook, have released their lagging diversity figures, accompanied by pledges to bridge the gender divide. The overflow of pink in her inbox moved the Virginia teen to pen an opinion piece, which was recently a runner-up in a New York Times teen editorial contest. At a recent Bay Area tech mixer put on by Girl Geek Dinners, the tech company that chose the decor elected to replace office lightbulbs with pink and purple ones, bathing the entire event in a fuchsia glow. Guests were encouraged to take a Cosmo-style personality quiz revealing their nerd girl personas and given slap-bracelets and strawberry lip balm at the door. Tools used by women - sewing machines, KitchenAid mixers, a mortar and pestle - were instead utensils and appliances. A 2008 study by the Association for Computing Machinery found that while college-bound boys equated words like "interesting," "video games" and "solving problems" with computing, girls associated terms like "typing," "math" and "boredom." [...] when women are reminded of the stereotype that men are better at math - even in extremely subtle ways, such as checking a gender box at the beginning of an exam - their performance measurably declines. A pink website for tech-savvy women, said Rebecca Jordan-Young, a professor of gender studies at Barnard, is like saying, 'Oh yeah, tech is for you, too. In February, at a Harvard event designed to get women interested in computer science, sponsor Goldman Sachs handed out cosmetic mirrors and nail files. Perpetuating ideasThe move inspired significant backlash after Yuqi Hou, a Harvard student and Web developer, posted a photo of the items on Instagram. The website for the project features articles about inspiring women, like Erica Kochi, who leads UNICEF's Innovation Unit. Some say the tech industry has simply co-opted the language that toy companies use to market products to girls.
The spread of coding instruction, while still nascent, is “unprecedented — there’s never been a move this fast in education,” said Elliot Soloway, a professor of education and computer science at the University of Michigan. He sees it as very positive, potentially inspiring students to develop a new passion, perhaps the way that teaching frog dissection may inspire future surgeons and biologists.
But the momentum for early coding comes with caveats, too. It is not clear that teaching basic computer science in grade school will beget future jobs or foster broader creativity and logical thinking, as some champions of the movement are projecting. And particularly for younger children, Dr. Soloway said, the activity is more like a video game — better than simulated gunplay, but not likely to impart actual programming skills.
Basile nous a rendu visite sur le stand CotCotCot-apps avec sa maman lors du salon du livre jeunesse de Montreuil 2013. Il nous a vivement impressionné... si bien que nous avons décidé de lui faire découvrir une page secrète de Bleu de Toi, le livre-application de Dominique Maes. Il s'agit d'une page que nous utilisons lors de notre atelier "ceci est une tablette tactile"...
▸ During the last Children's Book Fair in Paris, Basile discovered a secret page of our book app "All my Love (for you)". Impressive!!
Play-I is developing Bo and Yana, robots that teach kids five and older some of the the basic concepts behind programming. Using a visual programming interface that weaves music, stories, and animation, children are encouraged to think strategically with if-then statements that guide the robots along.
"Coding is an important skill that our students should be able to learn from an early age. There are now several free web tools and mobile apps to help teachers introduce coding to students and to also dispel the myth that coding is done only by a narrow sub category of people with special mathematical and technology background. Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes, says Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab -- it’s for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies -- but also create them. "
There's growing and well-founded concern about the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields, particularly when it comes to women of color. Here are some ideas on what to do about it.
But the subject is so young that teachers and curriculum designers have little pedagogical research to guide them, says Peter Hubwieser of the Technical University of Munich. How best to explain a concept as abstract as recursion to non-specialists? (Your correspondent has tried several ways, without success.) Which programming language should come first? How to teach mixed-ability groups that will range from self-taught app developers to those who struggle to find the “on” switch?
Even basic matters, such as striking the right balance between conceptual exercises like the sorting game and actually writing programs, are still not settled. Doing some coding is essential, says Michael Kölling, a specialist in computing education at the University of Kent: it motivates pupils and means they find out whether their algorithms work. But should pupils start with programming and leave principles till later, or the other way round?
Many unanswered questions yet!
"How a country answers such questions depends partly on what its economy needs." would tend to show a lack of vision and ambitions for the education of our kids!
"In this post I want to argue that learning to code is part of a larger landscape that we at Mozilla call 'web literacy'. I see that landscape as being increasingly relevant in 2014 as we come to realise that "learn to code!" is too simplistic and de-contextualised to be a useful exhortation. Web Literacy, on the other hand, is reasonably well-defined as the skills and competencies required to read, write and participate effectively online. We’ve included ‘coding/scripting’ as just one part of a wider strand identified as 'Building' (i.e. writing) the web. Other competencies in this strand include 'remixing' and 'composing for the web'."
"This evening I’ve been playing with the free iPad app “Hopscotch,” which I’m planning to use for a four part / two week introductory unit on coding on the iPad with my 4th and 5th grade STEM students. (@iesSTEM) I’ve worked quite a bit with Scratch software from MIT, but this is my first time to “seriously play” with Hopscotch. Hopscotch is similar to Scratch, as a block-based (or icon-based) programming environment, but it is MUCH more limited with fewer available coding blocks. Despite these limitations, it appears to be a great app to use when introducing students to coding. And, it’s FREE! Since I have an iPad cart to use with students in my STEM classroom, but not full-day access to one of our school’s Windows-based computer labs, an iPad-based coding solution / app like Hopscotch is preferable for me now over Scratch. (Scratch is still flash-based, so although it’s web-based it doesn’t work completely on iPads. I’ve tried using Scratch on flash-friendly iPad browser apps like iSwifter and Puffin, but haven’t found the experience very good… yet.)"
The goal of Devoxx4Kids is to allow children to be more creative with computers and teach them Computer Programming while having fun.
To accomplish this, the Devoxx4Kids team organizes sessions where children can develop computer games, program robots and also have an introduction to electronics. Teachers are computer professionals that are volunteering to spend some of their free time to transmit their passion to children.
"Over the decades, students have been required to take a foreign language in high school for reasons that relate to expanding communication abilities, furthering global awareness, and enhancing perspective-taking. Recently, our home state of Texas passed legislation that enables computer science to fulfill the high school foreign language requirement. Coding (defined by BusinessDictionary.com as "the process of developing and implementing various sets of instructions to enable a computer to do a certain task") is, after all, both a language and a foreign subject to many students -- and much more."
The general assumption is that young kids lack the faculties to comprehend a topic as seemingly esoteric as programming. But it is code, not Mandarin, that will be the true lingua franca of the future.
"It's hard to imagine a single career that doesn't have a need for someone who can code. Everything that "just works" has some type of code that makes it run. Coding (a.k.a. programming) is all around us. That's why all the cool kids are coding . . . or should be. Programming is not just the province of pale twenty-somethings in skinny jeans, hunched over three monitors, swigging Red Bull. Not any more! The newest pint-sized coders have just begun elementary school."