Bi-Weekly Education News

3 reasons to learn to code in 2018

2018 is nearly upon us, and if you’re like most, you’ve spent some time considering how you’re going to ring the new year in strong. Of course, there are the tried and true resolutions, like shaving off a few pounds or saving up the cash to travel abroad. While these goals are certainly positive (and maybe a tad ambitious), they can fall through the cracks if you’re not careful. To read further, please visit


Middle school students see computer-coding lessons take flight

As a teacher, you know you’re doing something right when your students are so excited about what they’re learning that they beg to stay after the bell rings. That’s the situation Howard Schulz, a technology teacher at McManus Middle School in Linden, found himself in recently when his students applied what they were learning in his computer coding class to flying drones. To read further, please visit


Seven Deadly Sins of Online Course Design

I took my first online course in 2004 while pursuing my MFA. It seemed like a novel idea at the time, and I had no clue I’d be spending the next ten years up to my eyeballs in online courses. Since then, I’ve helped faculty design dozens of online and hybrid courses, taught several of my own, and evaluated online courses and professional development programs from a variety institutions. Over the years, I’ve seen certain design issues surface again and again. I had hoped to stockpile 95 of these “course design sins,” then nail them to a door in a Martin Luther-esque call for reform. That vision was later revised as I realized (A) 95 is a lot of sins to identify and (B) Martin Luther didn’t have to compete with the latest Buzzfeed list of 15 dogs wearing tiny hats. In light of those realizations, I’d like to share with you my top seven course design sins, along with practical tips for atonement. To read further, please visit


4 Ways to Truly Expand #CSforAll

Despite continued debate over what “computer science” encompasses, politicians, corporations, non-profits, school leaders, teachers and families have all been pushing to teach more of it in U.S. schools. Unfortunately, supply hasn’t kept up with demand. According to a 2016 poll by Gallup and Google, more than 90 percent of parents think computer science is a good use of school resources, but less than half of schools offer even a single class. Although an improvement from previous years, this still pales in comparison with the emphasis on so-called core subjects like math and reading.  To read further, please visit


North Dakota Education Department Partners with Microsoft for More Computer Science Classes

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction is partnering with Microsoft to expand computer science offerings. On Monday, State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced schools can participate in a Microsoft program called Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS, which pairs professionals in computer science fields with classroom instructors to offer computer science education. To read further, please visit


Google CEO: Tech education Should be More Than Just Coding

Coding is a vital component of tech education, but it won’t be enough to sustain the next generation of workers. With a rapidly evolving tech world, employees will require continuous training in basic digital skills, according to Sundar Pichai. The Google chief executive explains in an opinion piece published Thursday by NBC News THINK that the notion of getting a traditional education that will provide a lifetime of job skills is a remnant of yesteryear. To read further, please visit


White House, Tech Companies Pledge $500 Million to Increase STEM Opportunities

As K–12 schools attempt to close the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills gap, federal support for such programs is key. Under President Obama, there was Computer Science for All, an initiative designed to give schools support and funding to provide opportunities for underrepresented students. While President Trump’s 2018 budget proposed some cuts to educational services that help these students, a recent memo indicates the president may be embracing STEM in schools like his predecessor. Late in September, President Trump signed a memorandum to provide at least $200 million in annual grant funding to expand K-12 computer science and STEM education. “The Secretary of Education shall, consistent with law, establish the promotion of high-quality STEM education, including Computer Science in particular, as one of the priorities of the Department of Education,” reads the memo. To read , please visit


UCSD Computer Scientist Wins 2017 MacArthur Fellows Honors

The MacArthur Foundation recently announced its 2017 MacArthur Fellows – 24 individuals whose achievements show “exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.” The MacArthur Fellows program grants each recipient a no-strings attached stipend of $625,000 in order to support his or her own creative and professional ambitions. The program features scientists, artists, historians, and writers. The 2017 Fellows class features two computer scientists: Regina Barzilay, Delta Electronics professor and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stefan Savage, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Stefan Savage Dr. Savage researches cybersecurity and cyber crime, using an interdisciplinary method that considers the economic and social context of crime, in addition to technological solutions. One of Dr. Savage’s projects focused on email spam – rather than try to prevent spam emails, he focused on preventing profitability. After finding that a small number of banks were involved in processing these transactions, the various stakeholders were able to track and shut down these bank accounts. Dr. Savage was also a recent participant in the CCC workshop series on Sociotechnical Cybersecurity. Learn more about why the MacArthur Foundation chose these two accomplished computer scientists and read about all the remarkable MacArthur Fellows by visiting


Sweetwater High School students bring Coding to National School District
College and Career Readiness

The Coding Club/Community Service partnership/program for the Sweetwater High School Computer Science and National School District students is entering its third year! The Coding Club/Community Service partnership/program was envisioned and started with Sweetwater Alum Jose Guaro, a computer science student that envisioned that his peers within the Computer Science program at Sweetwater High School fulfilling community service requirements by serving as mentors/gurus and providing elementary school students “coding clubs” instruction that was engaging and academically driven. To read further, please visit


Expanding Computer Science in Schools is a Bipartisan Opportunity
The Hill

 A bipartisan idea is a rare creature in Washington these days, but there is one issue that brings the parties together: the need to expand computer science education in America’s schools. President Obama proposed spending an additional $4 billion, and President Trump released a more modest proposal. But despite these efforts, schools are still waiting for additional funding. That’s a shame because computer science skills hold the keys to economic opportunity for students. Just as important, the benefits don’t just accrue to students themselves. Rather, these are competencies that will be increasingly important to American competitiveness in the 21st century. To read further, please visit


CSforAll Announces Computer Science Pledges from Over 170 Organizations

The CSforAll Consortium announced commitments from over 170 organizations this week to develop and support computer science programming and train teachers, the latest in a series of recent efforts to promote STEM education and computing. Just last month, the White House released a memorandum instructing the U.S. Department of Education to direct up to $200 million a year for the next five years toward STEM and computer science. In relationship to the White House announcement, a collection of tech and education companies pledged $300 million to funding computer science programming.  The CSforAll Consortium’s slate of new commitments, announced at this year’s summit in St. Louis, came from companies, universities, national nonprofits, cities, school districts, and state departments of education. These initiatives vary widely in scope, but many are directed toward addressing persistent challenges in the field—like teacher-training pathways and professional development, curriculum resources, and accessible out-of-school time programs.  To read further, please visit


Project Aims to Increase STEM Access for Native American Students

Native Americans make up 1.2 percent of the overall U.S. population, yet only account for just 0.4 percent of all engineering bachelor’s degrees, Sandia National Laboratories reports. The University of Montana is looking to remedy that situation with the help of a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The funds will be used to launch a pilot project to encourage American Indian participation in STEM fields. The American Indian Traditional Science Experience (AITSE) will be based at the Flathead Indian Reservation. “Native American and Alaska Native students are the least represented minority population in the STEM disciplines,” said associate professor of chemistry and director of UM’s Native American Research Laboratory Aaron Thomas in announcing the grant. “Native people offer a unique perspective in these fields that will help bring innovative ideas in a diversified workforce. Our focus is to work with middle school students to help create pathways into STEM that will continue through high school and then on to higher education.” To read further, please visit


U.S. Dept. of Ed Grant Priorities Push School Choice Plus STEM

The Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education is taking public comments on her proposed priorities for $700 million in discretionary grants the agency will issue annually in the coming years.

Although many of the priorities focus on Betsy DeVos’ flagship interest, school choice, the promotion of STEM education — and particularly computer science — also makes an appearance in the list.

The availability of these grants allows DeVos to show her vision for American education, just as former Secretary Arne Duncan did in 2014. Once they’re finalized, they’ll replace his list. To read further, please visit


California Voters Strongly Back Expanded K-12 Science and Computer Education, Poll Shows

Californians overwhelmingly support expanding science and computer education starting in elementary school, according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll. The online survey of 1,200 registered voters in California found that 87 percent favored schools putting “greater emphasis on integrating science as part of the entire public school curriculum.” Athough by far the majority of respondents said they had never heard of the Next Generation Science Standards, the new science standards adopted by the state in 2013, 68 percent support the concept once the standards were described to them. The poll was conducted from late August to early September. To read further, please visit


Falling Behind
Inside Higher Ed

Job growth in the computing field is far outstripping the supply of students earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and similar disciplines, according to a new report from the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. “Strains on educational institutions are significant,” the report says. “There is a growing sense of an impending crisis in many universities.” The academies recommend colleges and universities consider channeling more resources into computer science departments to address professors’ mounting workloads, while also teaching courses creatively with more emphasis on technology for “high-quality instruction.” To read further, please visit