Saturday, March 07, 2015

Computer Science Camps

From the UW Computer Science and Engineering Department:
  • Want to control computers?
  • Like to impress your friends with new skills?
  • Curious about computing?
Our summer camps introduce middle and high school students to computer science through programming projects, magic tricks and faculty presentations. 
  • Registration will be opening March 9th and closing 11:59pm on March 16th.
    The application will ask for the student's T-shirt size and a couple short written answers from the student.
  • Students who register during this period will hear back by March 23rd at the latest.
  • Read FAQs about our upcoming camps.
They also include a huge list of other camps/programs with similar themes.  


Greg Linden said...

These do look great. UW CS has a great track record here too with their excellent and expanding DawgBytes K-12 program.

I'd add that there's a lot of crazy profiteering in tech and education which I too pick on. But there's some amazing examples of geeky coolness too. I'm impressed with Scratch (early programming), Duolingo (foreign language learning), Khan Academy CS (programming), and Khan Academy's new math personalized tutorials (such as, all of which are free.

Technology is a tool. It can be used poorly, and often is, but sometimes it is used well. I think these four examples are worth calling out as particularly good. And they're free, no cost at all, anyone can use them. That's great, I think.

dw said...

And they're free, no cost at all, anyone can use them. That's great, I think.

I disagree. "Free", more often than not these days, is WAY too expensive, especially in terms of online services. Because of course, it's not really free at all, we (or our kids) are just paying for it in other ways. Student data-mining is rampant these days, and it's not only difficult to stop, it's difficult to even know when or how it's happening.

Salman Khan himself even said something like "It's all about the data" in an interview not long ago, and he's far from the worst of that lot. Without knowing a lot about the specifics, that's dangerous thinking; and while it might be reasonable for consenting adults, it's absolutely unacceptable for student data.

So while I agree that we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater ("crazy profiteering"), let's not let the dirty bathwater infest our babies' environment either!

Great: Things like Scratch are amazing, and TRULY free. Kudos to all involved with that project!

Mixed bag: Things like Khan can have nice benefits, as long as we don't let them marry their collected data to individuals. That is happening, and needs to be reined in. Nearly all student data that leaves any school district should be anonymized, and that doesn't mean

Ugly: Companies that are primarily data-miners, like Google with their "Google Apps For Education" need to be shut down from those markets completely -- and yet, they are growing, because educational organizations are lazy and they think they can save a buck or two. Read this article:

Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages

They have attempted to clarify their policies, but the only thing they've stopped doing is showing ads. All emails and communications are still mined, analyzed, stored in perpetuity, for later use.

Another great article, with good links:

NPR: What Parents Need To Know About Big Data And Student Privacy

To the original topic: Yes, DawgBytes is awesome.

dw said...

Sorry, cut off a sentence mid-stream.

Nearly all student data that leaves any school district should be anonymized, and that doesn't mean just removing their names. I know you (Greg) understand the process of de-anonymizing data, but for the other readers: be aware that there is an entire sub-industry that has sprung up around marrying data from completely disparate sources together to build "better" profiles of individuals -- and to identify them personally from "anonymized" data. Most people would be amazed at how sophisticated these tools have become, and children/students are not immune.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dw is absolutely right.

Do not let anyone tell you, "oh, it's not personally identifiable information we're gathering."

While on the face of it that statement may be true, as DW says, there are those who know how to gather data from different points to find out who that person is.