Monday, June 02, 2014

Interesting Links 2 June 2014

I used to tell people that I liked to blog because I knew that classroom teachers didn’t have a lot of time to look for things. As the school year comes to a close and I am a classroom teacher I am finding the truth of that. My blog production is diminished the last few weeks. And I was sick over the weekend so even this post is late. So lets start with some fun.

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People have started a crowd funding effort to raise money to make Born With Curiosity: The Grace Hopper Documentary Hard to understand why there hasn’t been a movie made about her life yet.

KIDS REACT TO OLD COMPUTERS The kids are shown an Apple ][ some of us remember when that was the state of the art in school computers. The video is worth showing students so they can see how far we have come.

Founder of and Harvey Mudd President: Don't Call It "STEM" (Video)

Google Computer Science for High School programs from Google regarding CS in high schools.

Two more though provoking posts from Mark Guzdial

Do programmers still need a computer science degree to land a great job? Good question. What do you think?

Recently on the CSTA blog - Moving From "CS for a Few" to "CS for All" to "CS For Each"

Finishing up with a quote to think about:

    "The most effective debugging tool is still careful thought, coupled with judiciously placed print statements." -- Brian W. Kernighan


Michael S. Kirkpatrick said...

I love the Star Trek meme, because it raises a critical point for me: English classes should teach science fiction works. Science fiction has inspired so many people to develop new technologies, just like the ST image shows. At the same time, science fiction works have explored the ethical impacts of technology in many ways, as well. I'm thinking of novels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Cat's Cradle, Fahrenheit 451, Logan's Run, Snow Crash, Neuromancer, etc.

I especially liked the Don't Call it STEM video. Excellent points about the overproduction of chem/bio majors compared with the underproduction of CS.

Garth said...

I really like the "Don't Call it STEM" video. One problem is the three seem to think high schools are meant for job training. If high schools were training students for the job force we would not be doing 4 years of English, 4 years of math and science for high level students (as math and science is taught now), 3 years of history and so on. High schools would be teaching a lot more business and shop classes. Talk to a plumber or electrician and ask them about their work load. Ask them about finding qualified help. It is scarce. There are more plumber jobs than physicist jobs so if high school was job training we would replace physics with plumbing. Using the job market stats argument has just too many holes to counter arguments. The average starting salary for a CS degree is about $68,800. My next door neighbor does concrete work for a living. He makes twice that in 9 months. High schools are not job training sites, they teach students so they are not ignorant of their environment and the world in general. CS should be a big part of that education. It is not.

Michael S. Kirkpatrick said...

Perfectly stated, Garth. I had a conversation with someone (non-academic) recently who stated that the problem is there are no teachers or professors advocating for greater support for trade schools. I pointed out that is flat-out false, because most of the faculty I know are dismayed at the number of students who go to college because they have to in order to earn gainful employment. They accrue large amounts of debt to get a degree in a field that doesn't interest them in order to land a job that they hate. They would do better financially and emotionally if they pursued other options.

But, as you state, that doesn't mean converting high schools into job training programs. Based on my memories of 20 years ago (and this is pure anecdote, not objective data at all), the vocational training programs (about 20%? of my fellow students were enrolled) were rather misguided. They failed to offer any sort of basic accounting where these students could someday be self-employed. I believe they also had a sort of pre-nursing program, as well, but the students coming out of it would not have been qualified for admittance to a college nursing program; I'm not even sure how many of them were able to go on to become LPNs. I am not convinced that these programs (at least as the existed 20 years ago) served the purpose they were intended to.

As you said, high schools should be about making sure these future adults are not ignorant of the world in general. I would love to see significant resources devoted to post-secondary 1-year vocational training or associate's degree programs.