Monday, November 11, 2013

Learn To Code

There is a big push throughout the country for all students (heck, everybody) to learn to code.  Do I know how?  Nope but I think it's a fine idea.  It allows everyone to tweak or invent.  Here's the latest from UW's Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Computer Science Education Week is December 9-15, 2013 but never too soon to start planning.

What's an Hour of Code?
It's a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code" and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.

We'll provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone. We'll even have unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.

Watch this "how to" video for more information. Check out the tutorials in beta.

Other CSEdWeek events
Computer Science Education Week is observed each year, in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

The Hour of Code is just one of many different events planned for CSEdWeek. If you are a CS teacher, see our Participation Kit for CS Teachers, and if you plan a special event tell us about it so we can celebrate your hard work.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

We were recently discussing coding instruction in the District V Forum. Here is my modified post:




I was reading an article recently about how they are teaching children how to type due to the testing requirements of the Common Core assessments. While perhaps efficient from a testing company and education funding standpoint it seems a bit forced, especially as so many of us in the tech field know the negative physic limitations of sitting at a computer. RSI anyone?

Even kindergartners take on keyboarding
http://mobile.seattletimes.com/story/today/2022121969/

It reminded me of Code.org, a new endeavor by a former Microsoft employee importance of teaching computer coding early. How does SPS stack up in this area?

http://code.org

Here is another reference point, an article that reviews apps for teaching kids to code, including the Tynker curriculum from Code.org

7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-apps-teaching-children-coding-anna-adam

Ann D

Anonymous said...

There is a big push throughout the country for all students (heck, everybody) to learn to code. Do I know how? Nope but I think it's a fine idea.
-- said Melissa

Dan says:

I do NOT think this is a fine idea.

So what gets tossed out or not funded?

There is NO STEM professional shortage in the USA... this comes from professional engineering organizations. .. wages are stagnant and there is hardly a STEM job surplus.

In 2005 laid off Boeing engineers were retraining as math teachers... Hardly an engineer shortage.

I absolutely do not want another centralized push for anything. One Size does NOT fit all.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

There is a big push throughout the country for all students (heck, everybody) to learn to code. Do I know how? Nope but I think it's a fine idea.
-- said Melissa

Dan says:

I do NOT think this is a fine idea.

So what gets tossed out or not funded?

There is NO STEM professional shortage in the USA... this comes from professional engineering organizations. .. wages are stagnant and there is hardly a STEM job abundance.

In 2005 laid off Boeing engineers were retraining as math teachers... Hardly an engineer shortage.

I absolutely do not want another centralized push for anything. One Size does NOT fit all. ... except the vendors love it.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Dan,

You're wrong about the job crunch for tech jobs. I work in an HR tech field and I attend the national conferences on HR trends and issues. This is a crisis for recruiters, particularly since visa requirements have been tightened. There are not enough qualified candidates for high tech jobs, and competition is fierce. I go to presentation after presentation on how to attract tech talent - most companies say that qualified candidates have 4-5 other offers. It is a crisis now. Seattle can't fill all their jobs. We need to advertise at colleges in other cities. Developers are worth their weight in gold. You are misinformed. I appreciate your work in math, but this is my industry and you are flat wrong. There are lots of articles on this, but here's just one: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130220/TECHNOLOGY/130219895#

-Need Tech.

seattle citizen said...

Need Tech - how many jobs are we talking about? Could the industry absorb, say, 10 million new workers? Or just a couple hundred thousand? STEM might be being oversold: convincing everyone they should trsin for tech and then not having enough jobs? I have no idea; help me out.
I know STEM seems to be the Next Great Thing for polucy makers in education, but is it being over-hyped?

Anonymous said...

Seattle Citizen,

Thanks for the question. It's nice to have someone who wants to dialogue rather than rant. I have heard wild figures either way (There are a million unfilled tech jobs! It's all a hoax - there is no shortage!) and I'm skeptical of all. The best data that I saw at the conference estimated I think 50,000 tech jobs unfilled by 2017 - I have the notes at work, but I think that was it. However, I was more compelled by the many presentations by HR professionals and recruiters about this issue. The attendees were looking for the latest edge in recruiting and hiring, and they were major companies, small companies, recruiters and others. All said that hiring for tech jobs was ridiculous - multiple offers, ridiculous outreach to college campuses, etc. These employers were trying to scale for their own organization's growth, but are worried they can't fill the positions. All said that foreign candidate were often preferred and more qualified, but the visa tightening made it harder to hire. It is my firm belief we will have a tech shortage. If UW can put a little outreach in our schools about coding, seems like a great thing. If it's not your thing, no big deal. But seems like students should get some basics.
Need Tech

Linh-Co said...

This is a great article with supporting and historical data debunking the STEM shortage. Here's a nice cherry-picked statement form the author:

"A broader view, I and many others would argue, is that everyone needs a solid grounding in science, engineering, and math. In that sense, there is indeed a shortage—a STEM knowledge shortage. To fill that shortage, you don’t necessarily need a college or university degree in a STEM discipline, but you do need to learn those subjects, and learn them well, from childhood until you head off to college or get a job."

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did mean that everyone should put their student in a STEM program. I meant that there's a reason for everyone to tip their toe into coding because of the benefits of that knowledge in other areas of life.

Anonymous said...

If there is a shortage of engineers, how come I hear about recent graduates from good schools who can't find jobs?

HP

Anonymous said...

Many of the households in our area have been taking coding classes via Code.org for some time. Our entire family seems to benefit. I believe we're not just learning a coding language, we're gaining basic experience in an industry that affects each of us on a daily basis.

Beyond that, I think we're enjoying greater focus, attention to detail and a better ability to recognize patterns as a result of taking free classes online.

I'm happy to hear about this project. I think our gen ed curriculum focuses so much on launching our kids into college, which may not be a great fit for some of our SPS kids. Learning about a technical skill could engage everyone, including those kids who are average in school, giving them a chance to further a technical education and find a worthy job upon graduation.

ML mom

Anonymous said...

A discussion on Quora about inspiring girls to consider technical fields:



http://www.quora.com/Women-in-Engineering/What-are-some-ways-to-inspire-girls-to-embrace-technology


One of the posters included mentions of these resources:

http://www.girlswhocode.com/

http://www.blackgirlscode.com/


If you haven't seen it, check out the Adafruit site for some fun inspiration:

http://www.adafruit.com/

http://learn.adafruit.com/

There are even videos for kids using puppets to teach about electronics:
http://www.adafruit.com/blog/category/circuit-playground/


Ann D.

Alex said...

I love the initiatives being taken! I'm super passionate about helping others learn to code. I'm currently writing a book that contains a simple step-by-step guide to help you learn to build you very own first web app (think Facebook or Twitter). You can view more information and sign up to receive updates here:

http://www.alexpcoleman.com/your-first-web-app/