As with all of the trends I’m covering in my year-end review, neither the “Learn to Code” nor the “Maker Movement” are new. I’ll say it again: read Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms, published in 1980.
Last year, I wrote about “Learning to Code” and “The Maker Movement” in two separate trends post. This year, I’m combining the two. This decision shouldn’t be seen as an indication that interest in either has diminished. To the contrary.
CS in Schools
Despite the proliferation of these learn-to-code efforts, computer science is still not taught in the vast majority of K–12 schools, making home, college, after-school programs, and/or librariesplaces where students are more likely to be first exposed to the field.
Additive manufacturing, the technological innovation behind 3-D printing, has revolutionized the way we conceive of and build everything from electronic devices to jewelry to artificial organs.
It is not surprising that this field has enjoyed enormous economic returns, which are projected to grow over the coming decade. According to a recentindustry report prepared by Wohlers Associates, 3-D printing contributed to more than $2.2 billion in global industry in 2012 and is poised to grow to more than $6 billion by 2017.
While both public and private investments contributed to the development of this technology, the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided early funding and continues to provide support for additive manufacturing, totaling approximately $200 million in 2005 adjusted dollars from more than 600 grants awarded from 1986-2012.
Although a wide range of programs across NSF have supported this endeavor, greater than two-thirds of the awards and more than half of the agency's total financial support for additive manufacturing was provided by NSF's Directorate for Engineering, which promotes fundamental and transformative engineering research and education through a broad range of programs and funding mechanisms.
"Additive manufacturing is a great example of how early NSF support for high-risk research can ultimately lead to large-scale changes in a major industry," says Steve McKnight, director of the Engineering Directorate's division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI).
What is additive manufacturing?
Compared to traditional manufacturing techniques, in which objects are carved out of a larger block of material or cast in molds and dies, additive manufacturing builds objects, layer by layer, according to precise design specifications.
Proclamations like 'kids need to learn to code!' may be accurate but, without some context and conceptual unpacking, they can be rather unhelpful. Thankfully, fellow DMLcentral contributor Ben Williamson has done a great job of problematising the current preoccupation with coding by asking questions like: "What assumptions, practices and kinds of thinking are privileged by learning to code? Who gains from that? And who misses out?" In many ways what follows builds upon these ideas so it's worth reading Ben's article first if you haven't already.
Along with the landscape issues identified in Ben's article there's a couple of additional procedural issues that need addressing with kids learning to code. The first is what we actually mean by 'coding'. While I'm a big fan of productive ambiguity in providing a space for creativity to flourish I suspect that, collectively speaking, we've done a poor job of defining what 'learning to code' actually involves. Once we've gained some clarity on that, then (and only then) do we find ourselves in a position to outline reasons why learning to code might be important.
The Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018: An NMC Horizon Project Sector Analysis was released as a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Centro Superior para la Enseñanza Virtual (CSEV), Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Electrónica y de Control at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education Society (IEEE). This report will inform education leaders about significant developments in technologies supporting STEM+ (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
“Campus and school leaders along with practitioners across the world use the Horizon Project as a springboard for discussions around emerging technology,” says Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the project. “By examining these technologies through a STEM+ lens, the report will help educators to think more critically about how emerging technology can engage learners in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics and push the boundaries on how they related to the world around them.”
Twelve emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving educators, administrators, and policymakers a valuable guide for strategic technology planning across STEM+ education. The addition of the “+” in the acronym incorporates communication and digital media technologies in the traditional four areas of study.
The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The Google Code-in 2013 contest runs from November 18, 2013 to January 6, 2014.
For many students the Google Code-in contest is their first introduction to open source development. For Google Code-in we work with open source organizations, each of whom has experience mentoring university students in the Google Summer of Codeprogram, to provide "bite sized" tasks for participating students to complete during the seven week contest.
These tasks include:
Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
Outreach/Research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing or studying problems and recommending solutions
Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction
Students earn one point for each task completed. Students will receive a certificate for completing one task and can earn a t-shirt when they complete three tasks. At the end of the contest each of the ten (10) open source organizations will name two (2) grand prize winners for their organization based upon the students’ body of work. The 20 grand prize winners will receive a trip to Google’s Mountain View, California, USA Headquarters for themselves and a parent or legal guardian for an award ceremony, an opportunity to meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and have a fun day in the San Francisco, California sun.
Stay tuned to the Google Open Source Blog and subscribe to the contest announcement list for updates.
Are you succeeding in science lab instruction with minimal equipment? The Shell Science Lab Challenge gives you an opportunity to share your exemplary approach for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000!
Over $93,000 in lab makeover prizes to be awarded this year to 18 schools!
"The end of "do not touch": Use the Smithsonian X 3D Explorer to explore and manipulate museum objects like never before. Create and share your own scenes and print highly detailed replica of original Smithsonian collection pieces."
At more than 80 Boston public schools, teachers are moving the classroom outdoors.
Four years ago, the nurse at Boston's Young Achievers School was overwhelmed. Previously a middle school, Young Achievers had recently become a K-8 school and there was no appropriate space for recess. Instead, according to a teacher at the school, students spent recess in “a disorganized, cracked, muddy parking lot,” where they ran between and bounced balls off of cars.
That changed when a group called the Boston Schoolyard Initiative began a community planning process to build a new playground and outdoor classroom at the school. Today, students spend recess digging in a sand box, crafting tunnels through a bramble, and playing in a stream—and asphalt injuries no longer fill the nurse’s office.
2013 Traveling mini exhibition of technical photographs
While exhibitions of images of purely artistic nature may be available for loan from a variety of sources for use at schools and galleries, the availability of collections of technical and scientific work are not as plentiful. Furthermore, most such "traveling" exhibitions place restrictions on their use such as a rental fee, insurance, etc.
The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, in an attempt to help increase awareness among the technology community of career opportunities in the broad field of imaging, has organized a mini traveling exhibition (12 photographs) and makes it available on loan, free, to interested hosts. The only expense might be shipping to the next venue (about $10-15 via UPS ground). No requirement for insurance, exhibition of all images, etc. In short, a low-stress, low cost opportunity to bring some high impact technical photographs with brief explanatory captions to your school, for use as you see fit. The images are mounted on foam core and laminated. They have a tab included on top so they can be taped to a smooth surface or pinned or stapled to homosote or they can be placed in a display case.
High speed photography allows for the visualization of quickly changing events. Refraction accounts for the creation of a full spectrum from white light. Polarization is used to demonstrate stress in plastics or glass. Stroboscopic imaging tracks motion and displays it for ready interpretation by athlete and coach.
Every photograph is somehow connected to science, technology and engineering and by extrapolation to mathematics. STEM!
The idea is for these photographs to possibly be a point of departure for discussions and conversation about applied technology and physics and solving difficult imaging/photographic problems.
To discuss this project or to obtain a set (to get on the list!) simply email Prof. Andrew Davidhazy, at firstname.lastname@example.org to make the arrangements. To see a representative sample of the photographs go to:
Places & Spaces: Mapping Science is meant to inspire cross-disciplinary discussion on how to best track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale. It has two components: the physical part supports the close inspection of high quality reproductions of maps for display at conferences and education centers; the online counterpart provides links to a selected series of maps and their makers along with detailed explanations of how these maps work. The exhibit is a 10-year effort. Each year, 10 new maps are added resulting in 100 maps total in 2014.
Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, have built a Linux cluster using 16 Raspberry Picomputers as part of a program to teach children and adults the basics of parallel computing using a simple model that demonstrates how computers leverage their capacity when working together.
The system, named Meteor to complement Comet – a new supercomputer to be deployed in early 2015 as the result of a recent $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) – will be demonstrated at SC13, the annual conference for high-performance computing to be held November 18-22 in Denver, Colorado. SDSC staff will hold a friendly gaming competition using Meteor, which will be connected to a large tiled display wall of LCD panels during the show’s exhibit hours in the SDSC display space (booth #3313).
“The goal of Meteor is to educate kids and adults about parallel computing by providing an easy-to understand, tangible model of how computers can work together,” said Rick Wagner, SDSC’s manager for high-performance computing (HPC). “One way we achieve this is by using Meteor as a presentation tool for demonstrations, with all of its components laid out in front of the audience. More importantly, we present Meteor in a fun, informal learning environment where students can try their hands at gaming competition while learning about the benefits of parallel programming.”
“Like Comet, Meteor is all about high-performance computing for the 99 percent,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman. “It’s about increasing computing access on a broad scale to support data-enabled science and engineering across education as well as research.”
The Best Resource for News and Emerging Ideas in STEM EducationWhat's Happening at CTEq
We’re gearing up for a December STEM Salon to release important new data on women and computer science. You’ll also be interested in our Regional Summit and our corporate strategy session on the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, both of which drew strong corporate support and covered plenty of hot-button issues. Learn more about Career and Technical Education in a webinar. And we’re mulling the good news and bad news about student performance in STEM subjects.
STEM Salon on Dec. 12. You won’t want to miss the release of our new report, Half Empty: As Men Surge Back into Computing, Women Are Left Behind. The report examines trends in the number of computer degrees and certificates going to women, why women and men have responded differently to recent economic forces and, most important, what states can do to get more girls and women into computer science.
Join us for a lively panel discussion with Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code; Allyson Knox, director of education policy and programs, Microsoft; Alison Derbenwick Miller, vice president, Oracle Academy; and CTEq CEO Linda Rosen. Please RSVP by Dec. 9 to attend in person for the 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., ET event at CTEq in Washington, D.C. Seating is first-come, first-served. Space is limited. The event will be live-streamed online and available on our website afterwards.
The competition begins on September 3, 2013 with the beginning of the submission period and ends on February 17, 2014 with the announcement of the Best in Nation Team Winners. All dates are subject to change.
App Concept registration and submission period: Begins on September 3, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. EST and ends on December 17, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. ESTJudging: December 18, 2013 to February 17, 2014Best in State team winners notified: On or after January 20, 2014Best in Region team winners notified: On or after February 3, 2014Best in Region team winners will present their App Concept via webinar to judging panel: Week of February 10, 2014Best in Nation team winners announced: February 17, 2014Best in Nation team winners invited to present developed apps at the 2014 National Technology Student Association Conference in Washington, D.C: June 27–June 29, 2014
The hottest topics in this year's CEM are getting their own showcase. Add your mobile/gaming events/activities to the calendar or send us your best related resources!Going Mobile, Having Fun!Two of CEM 2013's meteoric risers, games & mobile learning, continue onin this packed collection of upcoming, ongoing, archived, and evergreen events, activities, and resources...
t's official. The BBC gets behind 'making and coding' for schools and families, writes Tony Parkin
BBC’s Howard Baker (right) (photo Leon Cych)
The 'will they, won't they' debate over the BBC launching a major initiative to support a new generation of coders has been resolved at last. A packed crowd at the recent Edmix session at Hackney College (Thursday November 7) heard that 2015 will definitely be the Year of Making and Coding at the BBC, although there are few details available yet.
The informal confirmation came from the BBC's innovation 'guru' Howard Baker and amplified the curiously low-key announcement back in October on the BBC's own news website — "BBC plans to help get the nation coding"
Howard Baker is innovations editor at BBC Learning Research and Development and is a familiar and respected figure at education conferences and events, and always happy to tell everyone that he has the best job in the world. At Edmix he took the opportunity to prove this, sharing some of the exciting tools and projects that he and his team are involved with up there in Salford's MediaCity UK.
These included an extremely exciting web-based coding platform that has been successfully piloted in a small number of schools. But before everyone got too excited, he did point out that these 'proof of concept' pilots may well not be the finished products that are used in the BBC's 2015 initiative. But they will undoubtedly influence the thinking.