Starting this autumn, Finnish children will start learning computer programming from their very first year in school. Under the new curriculum, programming will not be taught as a separate subject in elementary schools, but will be integrated with other subjects such as math lessons.While all children will be taught coding, not all will become professional coders. According to Mika Ruikka, the intention is not to prepare children to enter the field.
"However, in almost all professions today, computer technologies are needed and so it is useful to know what the principles involved are. Programming also teaches logical thinking which helps a lot, for example with math," he points out. "We can't say for sure what all the skills are that these pupils will need in the future. But, logical thinking is required in more than just programming."
Parents are eager for their children to learn coding skills, but their message hasn't yet hit the in-box of school administrators.That’s the finding of a new Gallup study commissioned by Google that spotlights a potentially perilous economic disconnect as tech companies struggle to enlarge their engineering talent pools.
Among key and contrasting findings are the facts while 90 percent of parents see computer science, or CS, as “a good use of school resources” (and 66 percent say CS should be required learning alongside other core classes), fewer than 8 percent of administrators believe parent demand is high. They also cite a lack of trained teachers as a top barrier to offering CS courses. Three quarters of principals report no CS programs in their school.
No historical record may capture the nation's changing political consciousness better than the president's State of the Union address, delivered each year except one since 1790.
Now, a computer analysis of this unique archive puts the start of the modern era at America's entry into World War I, challenging histories placing it after Reconstruction, the New Deal or World War II. A team of researchers at Columbia University and University of Paris published their results this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Though discussion of industry, finance and foreign policy dominate the record year after year, the study shows that modern political thought, defined by nation building, the regulation of business and the financing of public infrastructure, emerges with a sharp line after WWI.
David Blei, a statistician and computer scientist at Columbia's Data Science Institute who was not involved in the research, says the study pushes the boundaries for statistical machine learning of language.
“We’re watching you.” This was the warning that the Chicago Police Department gave to more than 400 people on its “Heat List.”
The list, an attempt to identify the people most likely to commit violent crime in the city, was created with a predictive algorithm that focused on factors including, per the Chicago Tribune, “his or her acquaintances and their arrest histories – and whether any of those associates have been shot in the past.”
Algorithms like this obviously raise some uncomfortable questions. Who is on this list and why? Does it take race, gender, education and other personal factors into account? When the prison population of America is overwhelmingly Black and Latino males, would an algorithm based on relationships disproportionately target young men of color?
Transparency in the inputs to such algorithms and how their outputs are used is likely to be an important component of such efforts. Ethical considerations like these have recently been recognized as important problems by the academic community: new courses are being created and meetings like FAT-ML are providing venues for papers and discussions on the topic.
The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) will provide Internet connectivity to a broad variety of objects, such as industrial sensors, home appliances, and consumer electronics including toys. A new standardized IoT protocol software for wireless connectivity will enable toys to interoperate with other toys and smart objects around them. The IoT software will enable toys to be accessed, monitored, and acted on remotely. Our project CALIPSO (http://www.ict-calipso.eu) is partially funded by the research program of the European Commission. As part of this three-year project, Disney Research works together with several industry and academic partners to create an innovative solution for wireless IoT systems. The new CALIPSO communication protocol software enables toys to discover other objects, build mobile ad hoc networks, and communicate in a very energy-efficient way to maximize their battery lifetime. We envision several Disney-related scenarios in which the software will help creating innovative toy play patterns and experience designs.
What the ride-hailing experience shows is the extent to which the behavior of these artificial intelligence systems can diverge significantly from the trappings they adopt. Similar mirages are cast elsewhere throughout the “sharing economy” and even in the design of our social platforms. They downplay the responsibility of the platform designer, masking the more active role these technologies play in the sectors they exist in.
As the uses of artificial intelligence continue to broaden, society will increasingly confront questions around the power these technologies can and should have. As we move toward regulation, we need to question the narratives offered by companies and make sure that policy reflects reality.
The truth is, kids can't use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There's a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are, of course, exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I've stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don't have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.
I suppose before I go on I should really define what I believe 'can't use a computer' means. Being a network manager as well as a teacher means I am often the first port of call when a teacher or student is having issues with computers and associated devices. As my lead technician likes to state, 'the problem is usually the interface between the chair and the keyboard.'
Tomorrow's politicians, civil servants, police officers, teachers, journalists and CEOs are being created today. These people don't know how to use computers, yet they are going to be creating laws regarding computers, enforcing laws regarding computers, educating the youth about computers, reporting in the media about computers and lobbying politicians about computers. Do you thinks this is an acceptable state of affairs?
Most educators agree that basic application and internet skills (typing, word processing, spreadsheets, web literacy and safety, etc.) are fundamental, and thus, “digital literacy” is a part of K12 curriculum. But is coding now a fundamental literacy, like reading or writing, that all K12 students need to learn as well?
In order to gain a deeper understanding of the devices and applications they use everyday, it’s important for all students to try coding. In doing so, this also has the positive effect of inspiring more potential future programmers. Furthermore, there are a set of relevant skills, often consolidated as “computational thinking”, that are becoming more important for all students, given the growth in the use of computers, algorithms and data in many fields.
Computer-generated topics use statistical methods to suggest themes that emerge from term coöccurence — how often certain words appear close to one another.
The topics on this page were generated by a computer program which automatically “read” all of the articles ever published in Vogue, and grouped together those words which were clustered more frequently than a normal distribution would predict.
Click on a the timeline displayed in each topic to see the highest-saturated articles for that year
The push to teach coding and computational thinking in schools is starting to attract widespread support, to the point where it’s only a matter of time before these subjects are introduced.
While some states have already made plans to introduce a digital technology course option into the curriculum, there’s a need to ensure that sufficient resources are in place to help teachers make the transition.
“Some schools have been selectively teaching coding for years and most teachers already incorporate some aspects of computational thinking and problem-solving in their lesson program so it shouldn’t be too hard to fill in the gaps,” she said. However, some of her peers aren’t so confident. A study by Macquarie University of 144 teachers late last year found that more than half (79) had never heard of computational thinking and most had very little idea of what it involved.
Whenever I speak to teachers about computational thinking it seems to place a layer of tension and confusion upon their shoulders, as most have preconceptions about this new ‘imposition placed upon them’.
Computational thinking is typically associated with coding and computer programming, but it’s also more than that, involving “solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior,” according to Carnegie Mellon University.
These are important skills in a technology-driven world, whether you want to become a programmer or not. Many schools around the country offer after-school programs or electives for students interested in computational thinking. In South Fayette, a suburban and rural district of 2,700 students near Pittsburgh, it’s woven into the district culture, as well as the core curriculum at every grade level.
The exhibition brings the Pixar production pipeline to life—from storyboard and concept art all the way to a final rendered frame. Throughout the exhibition, visitors can engage in hands-on, screen-based, and physical activities that let them explore the computational thinking skills integral to the Pixar process. Visitors can explore the creativity and artistry of Pixar filmmakers, and learn how computers are used as a filmmaking tool. In this exhibition, students and adults will learn about the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills needed in the 21st century workforce.
The Museum has been working in collaboration with Pixar on this exhibition for five years. The opportunity to collaborate with the artists and computer scientists at Pixar has been a great experience for our institution. What made the collaboration work so well is the fact that Pixar and the Museum of Science share a similar culture: We both value the roles interdisciplinary teams and iterative design play in the creative process.
Our initial plans called for a 5,000-square-foot exhibition. But that wasn’t big enough. We needed a bigger platform to show how computational thinking must become an essential part of the way schoolchildren learn how to breakdown complex problems into smaller steps, how to handle data, and how to test the design of their solutions.
Many passionate computer science educators believe computational thinking, problem solving, persistence and analysis learned in computer science helps students do better in other courses, especially math.
There’s a clear correlation
According to College Board data, students who take the AP Computer Science exam earn higher AP Calculus and Statistics scores relative to peers who previously performed at a similar level in math.
Girls are less likely than boys to play video and computer games, so are less familiar with computers.
The top three things educators can do to bring more young women into technology, said Alice Steinglass, vice president of products, engineering and marketing for code.org, are to change their perception of careers in computers, encourage positive reinforcement by family and friends, and encourage them to participate in computer classes and related extracurricular activities.
“There is a false impression that computer science is nerdy, it’s boring, and it’s something you do by yourself in a dark closet,” Steinglass said. “That is far from the truth.”
Einstein published his ideas and became a pivotal element in shifting the way we think about physics - from the Newtonian model to the Quantum - in turn this changed the way we think about the world and allowed us to develop new ways of engaging with the world.
We are at a similar juncture. The development of computational technologies allows us to think about astronomical volumes of data and to make meaning of that data.
The mindshift that occurs is that “the machine is our friend”. The computer, like all machines, extends our capabilities. As a consequence the types of thinking now required in industry are those that get away from thinking like a computer and shift towards creative engagement with possibilities. Logical thinking is still necessary but it starts to be driven by imagination.
Computational thinking and data science change the way we think about defining and solving problems.
Schools that offer accelerated training in digital skills are drawing more and more “career changers,” and graduates can make six-figure base salaries.
Internet giants like Google and Facebook have long fought over the top software engineers in the country, and that continues. But now, companies in most every industry, either by necessity or to follow the pack, are pursuing some sort of digital game plan - creating lucrative opportunities for computing-minded newcomers who want to reboot their lives.
This summer, over 1,000 girls around the country are participating in a free summer program that gives them intensive instruction in computer science and mentorship from top female technology executives.
It’s no secret that computer science (CS) courses are not a priority in many high schools. Across the nation, many schools get away with packaging courses that teach kids to make Powerpoints, spreadsheets and other rudimentary work as ‘computer science.’But when authentic CS is offered, it’s often in the form of the notoriously difficult and intimidating Advanced Placement courses, whose culminating test only a tiny fraction of students around the nation take and pass.
Realizing the dearth of access to computer science offerings in high school, the National Science Foundation, together with the College Board, convened a group of teachers and academics to craft a new course called “AP Computer Science Principles.” The primary goal of this new course, to be offered in fall 2016, is to increase student access to computer science, computing and STEM through a more multidisciplinary approach than the current AP course.
Understanding how to work effectively on a team is critical for a successful career in computer science, you can be a great programmer no matter when you start learning — and, yes, the perks for employees at big tech companies are pretty sweet.
Those were some of the takeaways from a panel that the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering department hosted on Friday afternoon as part of an annual event called CS4HS to expose middle and high school teachers to computer science.
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