Intimidation factor zero A coding curriculum for beginners and their teachers

Tom Ball Microsoft research manager

Microsoft has released a new computer science curriculum designed for teens who may not have expressed much interest in computer programming – and teachers who don’t necessarily have any background in the field, either.

The curriculum, called Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, is available for free to any educator who wants to use it.

The course aims to encourage a wide range of students to explore computer science by teaching them to program and publish real apps and games.

It teaches kids how to code using Microsoft Touch Develop, a programming language developed by Microsoft researchers. Touch Develop is designed so that even students without any computer science background can quickly learn how to write simple programs.

Touch Develop also works on any device that has a modern Internet browser. That means students can write programs on smart phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers, regardless of the operating system the device is running.

It’s the same technology that’s being used for the BBC’s micro:bit program, which is providing every Year 7 student in the UK with a gadget and the tools to program on it.

Ball said he hopes this new curriculum will introduce

Microsoft to spend $75 mln to boost computer science in schools

Two people working with computer and book.
Two people working with computer and book.

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft will invest $75 million over the next three years in initiatives to increase access to computer science education for youth.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella made the announcement during his keynote speech at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual gathering in San Francisco for its customers and partners.

This marks a major expansion of Microsoft’s YouthSpark program, the company’s effort to get young people hooked on computer science and build a larger, more diverse talent pool for the technology industry.

The shortage of computer science graduates is one of the most pressing issues facing the industry, as is the underrepresentation of women and minorities.

With the new investment, nonprofit organizations around the world will receive donations and resources from Microsoft. And Microsoft will expand its outreach into high schools through TEALS, which stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools. The program pairs engineers from Microsoft and other high-tech companies with

De Blasio to Announce 10 Year Deadline to Offer Computer Science to All Students

asd

To ensure that every child can learn the skills required to work in New York City’s fast-growing technology sector, Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce on Wednesday that within 10 years all of the city’s public schools will be required to offer computer science to all students.

Meeting that goal will present major challenges, mostly in training enough teachers. There is no state teacher certification in computer science, and no pipeline of computer science teachers coming out of college. Fewer than 10 percent of city schools currently offer any form of computer science education, and only 1 percent of students receive it, according to estimates by the city’s Department of Education.

Computer science will not become a graduation requirement, and middle and high schools may choose to offer it only as an elective.

But the goal is for all students, even those in elementary school and those in the poorest neighborhoods, to have some exposure to computer science, whether building robots or learning to use basic programming languages like Scratch, which was devised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach young children the rudiments of coding.

At least two other American cities have recently

Main Challenges and Benefits of Paralegal Management

Main Challenges and Benefits of Paralegal ManagementIf you in general love management and prefer legal issues to the general management projects then a position of a paralegal manager of the office will definitely suit your requirements to the job. The main benefits that you can acquire from this job will be connected to the satisfaction which usually comes from performing all management duties. Moreover, it is always challenging and so interesting for young people to start their career from scratch and then over the time grow into intelligent, highly skilled, senior-level legal case managers, they also learn important lessons from observing court sessions and over a time are able to do a complete paralegal performance. Another important factor that most paralegal experts mention is the satisfaction from the received recognition from a company or private lawyer that come from the increased productivity and profitability. These qualities help new paralegals develop as employees and also help a company or employer to make a positive contribution to the bottom line.

Annoying Class Myths About Student Education

One of the most annoying myths is that exams are easier these days than they ever were. To be honest, there are now newer and easier ways of getting higher marks. It is not that exams are easier, it is that the way students are tested and the way they are taught has changed. Here are a few more annoying habits that get under the skin of hard working students.

Myth 1 – Students that talk are bad students

This is completely carrots! Some of the smartest students talk in class, especially the ones that are discussing the concepts they have just learnt. On many occasions, talking about the subject with a few like-minded people will help give the ideas and concepts buoyancy in the minds of the students and helps them flesh out their ideas a little. It is true that many students simply start chatting and not working, but let us not tar all students with the same brush.

Myth 2 – Learning in a busy and disruptive environment is bad for you

This is one of the biggest selling points of home-school tutors and private

Standardized and Conspicuous Education Facilities in Metro City

India education is valued everywhere owing to its global standardization and very opportune traits, has very old history and there are many matter of fact found that proved the importance of education from ancient time. Many major cities around the India boasts many number of famous educational hubs, institutions, universities, colleges, schools etc for supplying quality education to students to prepare well esteemed societies. Education is actually a very strong foundation of future and growth.
As a capital of nation, Delhi is truly a prominent hub for education and numbers of students around the country, reach here for study at different level. The delhi education has carried a marvelous growth in recent years, and makes their gibbosity around the world as the city invites students from each corner of nation as well as overseas. Boasting world famed DU, JNU, GGSIPU, Jamia Islamia, IGNOU, Delhi also features many new institutions, research centers and colleges where one can take in superior learning with up-to-date and advanced research and vocational programs. As literacy rate of 81.2%, Career opportunities are huge in Delhi, but one need to grab with their hard work through with higher studies, featuring many areas including technical, management, medical etc

Education loans can augment the boundaries of what you can achieve

Education loans are open to all people in all its myriad forms. Education loans can realize your education plans or the education plans of your children. You can strengthen you own future and the future of your son or daughter with education loans. An extensive range of student and parent loans are presented under the category of education loans. There are many types of education loans. Discerning about the types of education loans will help you in making the accurate decision. The single largest resource of education loans is federal loan. The two main federal education loan programmes are the Federal Family Education Loan Programme and the Federal Direct Loan Programme. In the Federal Family Education Loan Programme the bank, credit union or the school is the lender. While the federal direct loans programme, the department of education is the lender.

Private education loans are offered to people so that they can provide financial backup to their education plans. Private education loans are not endorsed by other government agencies but are provided by other financial institutions. Private education loans programme are optimum for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

Formal education is requisite for future success. Though this is not a hard and

Voter Education Kicks Off with U.S. Senate Debate

Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout among all states in 2012 – with less than half (44.5 percent) of eligible voters casting ballots. Yet, older voters turn out to the polls at a much higher rate than any other age group, suggesting that Hawaii voters age 50-plus will play an important role in determining this year’s election results.

Beginning in July, AARP Hawaii will sponsor a televised debate and numerous in-person voter education events designed to help residents make informed decisions as they cast their votes.

The voter education season kicks off on Tuesday, July 15 on KHON2 (7 – 8 p.m.) with a live, televised debate featuring Senator Brian Schatz and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, leading Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. Sen. Schatz was appointed to the United States Senate in December 2012, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Rep. Hanabusa has served as Representative of Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District since January 2011.

At a time when “entitlement reform” and Social Security have become bargaining chips in Washington, D.C., and as increasing numbers of boomer-generation residents feel unprepared for their own retirement, the debate is expected to include questions about the candidates’ positions on Medicare

Elementary Students Held Back In Early Grades Often Do Not Get Special Education Plan

Many children who are retained in kindergarten, first or third grade for academic reasons do not subsequently receive a document outlining the individualized special education services they should receive, according to a new report.

Each year, 5 percent to 10 percent of American students are retained at the same grade level, according to background information in the article. One in 10 students age 16 to 19 have repeated a grade. “Some of these students may require special education services at the time they are retained, in subsequent years or both,” the authors write. “One approach to supporting a child with low academic achievement is the provision of special education services, as indicated in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a legally binding document describing a child’s special education services and is developed after the child has undergone a special evaluation and has been determined eligible for services.”

Eligibility for an IEP varies from state to state, but under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, every American child has the right to an evaluation. Michael Silverstein, M.D., M.P.H., of Boston Medical Center, and colleagues studied 380 children nationwide who were retained in elementary school for academic reasons (300

Putting the education in educational apps

New apps developed for children come online every day and many of them are marketed or labeled as “educational” — but how can we tell which of these thousands of apps will actually help children learn? A comprehensive new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, integrates research from scientific disciplines like psychological science, linguistics, and neuroscience to provide an evidence-based guide that parents, educators, and app designers alike can use to evaluate the quality of so-called “educational” apps.

Since the iPad was introduced just five years ago, over 80,000 educational apps have become available in the Apple app store, which means apps are being developed far faster than the scientific community can evaluate them, say report authors Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (Temple University), Jennifer Zosh (Penn State University, Brandywine), Roberta Michnick Golinkoff (University of Delaware), James H. Gray (Sesame Workshop), Michael B. Robb (Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College), and Jordy Kaufman (Swinburne University of Technology).

The full report and accompanying commentary by communications researcher Ellen Wartella (Northwestern University) are available free to the public online.

While scientific research examining specific features of individual apps may be scarce, scientists have

Teacher shortage costing millions in supply staff

Teachers’ union leaders are warning that teacher shortages are costing schools hundreds of millions of pounds in temporary supply staff.

The National Union of Teachers says schools in England spent £733m last year on supply teacher agencies.

The union says it is wasting money intended for children’s education.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is launching a TV recruitment campaign to attract a “new generation of passionate and gifted teachers”.

Head teachers have been reporting deepening problems with getting enough staff.

The Department for Education has launched a television advertising campaign to encourage more applications, saying that 35,000 trainee teachers need to be recruited every year.

Cash incentives

There are particular problems in finding teachers in subjects such as physics, and the government is offering increasingly generous bursaries.

A physics graduate with a good degree can claim up to £30,000 tax free for entering teaching.

Image copyright DFE
Image caption A TV advert is being launched to attract more people into teaching

“Great teachers are at the heart of our drive to extend opportunity to every single child,” says Mrs Morgan.

“That is why we are focused on attracting more talented people into

How to Get a Job at Google

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.

Don’t get him wrong, Bock begins, “Good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.

“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained

Is Music the Key to Success

CONDOLEEZZA RICE trained to be a concert pianist. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player. The hedge fund billionaire Bruce Kovner is a pianist who took classes at Juilliard.

Multiple studies link music study to academic achievement. But what is it about serious music training that seems to correlate with outsize success in other fields?

The connection isn’t a coincidence. I know because I asked. I put the question to top-flight professionals in industries from tech to finance to media, all of whom had serious (if often little-known) past lives as musicians. Almost all made a connection between their music training and their professional achievements.

The phenomenon extends beyond the math-music association. Strikingly, many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.
Photo
Credit Anna Parini

Will your school music program turn your kid into a Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft (guitar)? Or a Woody Allen (clarinet)? Probably not. These are singular achievers. But the

Turning Education Upside Down

Three years ago, Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, became a “flipped school” — one where students watch teachers’ lectures at home and do what we’d otherwise call “homework” in class. Teachers record video lessons, which students watch on their smartphones, home computers or at lunch in the school’s tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates.

Clintondale was the first school in the United States to flip completely — all of its classes are now taught this way. Now flipped classrooms are popping up all over. Havana High School outside of Peoria, Ill., is flipping, too, after the school superintendent visited Clintondale. The principal of Clintondale says that some 200 school officials have visited.

It’s well known by now that online education is booming. You can study any subject free in a MOOC — a massive open online course — from single-digit addition to the history of Chinese architecture to flight vehicle aerodynamics. Courses are being offered by universities like Harvard and M.I.T. and by the teenager next door making videos in his garage. Among the best-known sources are the Khan Academy, Coursera and Udacity. But while online

The myth of the lazy teen why the school day should start later

CAN you help my teenager with his sleep?

This is a question we frequently encounter at the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center and Seattle Children’s Sleep Disorders Clinic. We are often met with a look of mixed relief when parents find out this shift in nighttime wakefulness is a normal part of adolescent physiology.

Still, many students need to be at school by 7:30 a.m. What are parents and teenagers supposed to do?

We suggest that schools begin the day later for teenagers. Seattle Public Schools plans to survey parents this fall about school start times for the 2014-15 school year.

Most Read Stories
SEAHAWKS FILE — Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman stretches with the team before the Seattle Seahawks…
Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman arrested for investigation of hit, run
Mayor wants developer off project, cites violation of city values
Police: Woman linked to 1973 disappearance is actually alive
Outraged Seattle Public Schools parents, pace yourselves
null
Seattle Seahawks release WR B.J. Daniels, RB Rod Smith

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Currently, our high schools start as early as 7:50 a.m., with buses arriving at 7:35 a.m. and requiring much earlier wake-up times. The organization Start School Later Seattle advocates starting classes at a more

Learn to Code, Code to Learn

Is it important for all children to learn how to write? After all, very few children grow up to become journalists, novelists, or professional writers. So why should everyone learn to write?

Of course, such questions seem silly. People use writing in all parts of their lives: to send birthday messages to friends, to jot down shopping lists, to record personal feelings in diaries. The act of writing also engages people in new ways of thinking. As people write, they learn to organize, refine, and reflect on their ideas. Clearly, there are powerful reasons for everyone to learn to write.

I see coding (computer programming) as an extension of writing. The ability to code allows you to “write” new types of things – interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. And, as with traditional writing, there are powerful reasons for everyone to learn to code.

The recent surge of interest in learning to code, reflected in sites like codecademy.com and code.org, has focused especially on job and career opportunities. It is easy to understand why: the number of jobs for programmers and computer scientists is growing rapidly, with demand far outpacing supply.

But I see much deeper and broader reasons for learning to code. In

Let Them Sleep In: Docs Want Later School Times for Teens

Your teenager wants to sleep later and now his doctor agrees. Middle and high school students shouldn’t have to start school until 8:30 in the morning or later, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

“The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” says Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who led the team that wrote the group’s policy statement on the issue.

“Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn.”

Many school districts are debating making the change. The Long Beach, California, school board voted last year to delay the start of middle school until 9 a.m. But the school district in Durham, North Carolina just this month delayed a plan to move high school start times to 8 a.m. instead of 7.30 a.m.

South Carolina principal Amanda O’Nan moved Hilton Head High School’s start time from 7:45 to 8:35 this year

The case for letting high school students sleep in

Jackson Hole High School might have some of the best-rested teenagers in America. The Wyoming high school used to start class at 7:35 a.m. — earlier than the average American high school, but not by much.

In 2012, though, the school district listened to a growing chorus from researchers, pediatricians, economists and others who say high schools should start later than they do. They moved their start time back more than an hour, to 8:55 a.m.

starting the high school day before 8:30 a.m. doesn’t make medical or academic sense

After the change, students reported sleeping more. They were more likely to show up to class on time. It’s even possible that the later start date contributed to a dramatic drop in car crashes in the district.

But Jackson Hole’s 8:30 start is an outlier. Most high schools start the day way earlier — a survey of 18,000 public high schools in 2011 found that the average start time was 7:59 a.m. The vast majority, 86 percent, started before 8:30 a.m.

And the evidence suggests that’s bad for kids’ health and their grades. Teens might be able to do better, pediatricians argue, if we just let them sleep a little bit later.

Adolescents are wired

The Best Language for Math

What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.

The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.

Differences between Chinese and English, in particular, have been studied in U.S. and Chinese schools for decades by Karen Fuson, a professor emerita in the school of education and social policy at Northwestern University, and Yeping Li, an expert on Chinese math education and a professor of teaching, learning and culture at Texas A&M University. Chinese has just nine number names, while English has more than two dozen unique number words.

The trouble starts at “11.” English has a unique word for the number, while Chinese (as well as Japanese and Korean, among other languages) have words that can be

Warm bright quiet Students do best in well-designed classrooms

Big windows to let in lots of natural light, a temperature set at a constant 72 degrees, an acoustically quiet room — if you designed the optimal classroom, these are some of the elements you would want to include.

That’s the conclusion of a new paper that points to a growing body of scientific evidence on the importance of a classroom’s physical environment.

“Designing Classrooms to Maximize Student Achievement,” an article in the inaugural issue of a journal called Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, says the following about how light and heat and sound can help — or hinder — classroom learning:

  • Natural light. Students scored better on math and reading when they were exposed to a larger amount of daylight.
  • Controlled temperature. The optimal temperature range for learning is between 68 and 74 degrees. Any colder or warmer, and learning seems to  suffer.
  • Acoustics. Not surprisingly, excessive external noise is distracting and can hinder learning. Some examples: noisy heating and ventilation units, airplane flight paths and road traffic.

The studies also show that wall decor and objects such as posters can have an effect on learning, too. “Far from being trivial details, these features powerfully affect classroom culture,” researchers wrote.

For example, posters depicting powerful women leaders and women scientists

Seattle’s Later School Start Time Plan Gets A Wakeup Call

A task force is getting ready to make a formal recommendation for whether Seattle Public Schools can shuffle their bell times to let middle- and high schoolers get more sleep — and if they can, present options on how to make the change.

But some members of the task force aren’t happy. Advocates who’ve pushed for years for earlier start times for secondary students say they’re concerned district officials have taken the best plan off the table prematurely, and have instead been shopping inferior options around for public comment and review.

The Seattle Public Schools staffer overseeing the work of the 30-member Bell Times Analysis Task Force says there was nothing premature about it at all: the option the advocates prefer is simply too expensive, and officials nixed it in favor of solutions the district could realistically afford.

Yet the advocates, many aligned with the group Start School Later Seattle, say they haven’t seen these cost estimates on paper. They’re concerned district officials aren’t adequately representing the work of the 30-member Bell Times Analysis Task Force to the public.

“It’s a huge decision. It impacts 52,000 kids. It needs to be done right,” said task force member Dianne Casper, who’s also a board member for the Seattle Council

Let secondary students sleep in start elementaries earlier, panel says

Seattle high schools and middle schools should start at least an hour later than they do now, and most elementary schools should start 90 minutes sooner, says a committee that has spent seven months figuring out a schedule better suited to teen-sleep needs.

Its recommendations, released Wednesday morning, would cost an estimated $3 million for busing and probably wouldn’t take effect until fall 2016 at the earliest.

If the School Board approves the changes, Seattle would be among the largest districts in the country to push back high-school start times.

“For maximizing academic achievement, health and safety, and equitable access to educational opportunities, improving school-start times may be the most cost-effective investment the district can make,” the committee wrote.

Most Read Stories
SEAHAWKS FILE — Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman stretches with the team before the Seattle Seahawks…
Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman arrested for investigation of hit, run
Mayor wants developer off project, cites violation of city values
Police: Woman linked to 1973 disappearance is actually alive
Outraged Seattle Public Schools parents, pace yourselves
null
Seattle Seahawks release WR B.J. Daniels, RB Rod Smith

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Superintendent Larry Nyland, who late last year convened the committee of parents, teachers, sleep experts, community members

Bell Times Task Force Issues Recommendations to Superintendent

The district’s Bell Time Task Force, convened for the purpose of studying the feasibility of a district-wide school start time change for the 2016-17 school year, has released its Bell Time Analysis Task Force Recommendation Report to the Superintendent.

The recommendations will not affect 2015-16 school year. School start times for the 2015-16 school year can be found here.

Task Force Recommendations

In the report, the task force recommends flipping school start times beginning September 2016 for all high schools with most elementary schools to allow high school students to start and end school later than the current schedule. Elementary schools will then start sooner than the current schedule.

  • High School Bell Time Recommendations
    The modified flip option recommended by the task force calls for high schools to be in session from 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
  • Elementary School Bell Time Recommendations
    Most elementary schools would run from 8 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. while a few elementary schools (which have not been identified) would be in session from 8:50 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Middle School and K-8 School Bell Time Recommendations
    In this recommendation, all middle and K-8 schools would run from 9:40 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.

Feedback and Analysis Process

The report is one step in a