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Federal S&E obligations to universities, colleges fell 2 percent between fiscal years 2014 and 2015

News From NSF - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:56

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, federal agencies obligated $30.5 billion to 1,016 academic institutions for science and engineering (S&E) activities, a 2 percent decrease in current dollars from the $31.1 billion in obligations to 1,003 academic institutions in FY 2014.

These statistics are from the Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions (Federal S&E Support Survey) from the National Center for Science and ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242842&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

NSF Proposal and Award Policy Newsletter - Auguest/September 2017

News From NSF - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 13:19

Available Formats:
PDF: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17119/nsf17119.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179

Document Number: nsf17119

This is an NSF Publications item.

Teaching Computer Science Is Great, But It’s Not Enough: Calls for Functional Computer Science Literacy

ComputingEd - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 07:00

The article quoted below by Florence R. Sullivan & Jill Denner calls for us to go beyond “simply giving more students access.” We need to give them “functional computer science literacy.”  By that phrase, they mean that we need to have students consider ethical and social issues.  That’s not what Andy DiSessa meant when he defined computational literacy, who talked more about using computing to understand the world.  But there may be a more mundane, critical form of literacy than either of these definitions.

Computing classes that emphasize coding over traditional technology literacy (e.g., how to use the computer) are not attracting students in the UK.  The BBC said it frankly, “Computing in schools – alarm bells over England’s classes.” In the UK, even where there is access to computing education, but students aren’t flocking to the classes.  It’s not just a matter of “time, funding, and qualified teachers.” Traditional Information and Communications Technologies classes are more attractive to English students than Computing classes, based on number of students taking GCSE’s.

Massachusetts merged their digital literacy standards into their new computer science standards.  That’s likely going to be the most successful path. We can use digital literacy as a context to introduce some CS, to draw students into CS classes. CS may not be the draw. Literacy is.

There is still much work to do, however. In an ongoing, multiyear study on computer science education conducted by Google and Gallup, researchers found that although students, parents, teachers, and school administrators value computer science, it is still not offered in many schools. This is because of a lack of time, funding, and qualified teachers. Only 25 percent of schools nationwide reported offering a computer science class in 2014-15, and while that number rose to 40 percent in 2015-16, we are still years away from providing sufficient computer science education in all schools.

As educational researchers focused on computer science learning, we welcome the push by more districts to teach the discipline to students. But we believe that our nation’s current conception of computer science education does not go far enough. It is not sufficient to simply give more students access. As computer science continues to expand, we advocate for educators to teach functional computer science literacy, just as the field of science education has spent decades refining an approach to teaching socio-scientific reasoning (which integrates learning science content in the context of real-world issues).

Source: Education Week

Tagged: computational literacy, computing at school, computing literacy

Leslie Lamport tells Computer Scientists to go create ebooks (and other new media)

ComputingEd - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 07:00

Yes! Exactly!  That’s why we’re trying to figure out new media for expressing, learning, and talking about computing.

“If you succeed in attaining a position that allows you to do something great, if you do something that really is great, and if you realize that it’s great, there’s still one more hurdle: You have to convince others that it’s great,” he told the graduates. “This will require writing.”

He exhorted graduates in biological physics; chemistry; computational linguistics; computer science; language and linguistics; mathematics and physics to find new modes of communication.

“There must be wonderful ways in which a writer can interact with the reader that no one has thought of yet, ways that will convey ideas better and will make reading fun,” Lamport said. “I want you to go out and invent them.”

Source: Computer scientist Leslie Lamport to grads: If you can’t write, it won’t compute | BrandeisNOW

Tagged: computational media, computing education, ebooks, media, teachers

NSF makes new awards for graduate education projects

News From NSF - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 13:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $4.8 million for 10 new projects that will pilot, test and validate innovative and potentially transformative ways to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in graduate education.

The awards are part of the NSF Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program, designed to connect students with multiple career paths, support diversity and inclusion in graduate schools, and test approaches aimed at improving ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242564&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

10 new awards support ecological research at regional to continental scales

News From NSF - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 12:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued 10 new awards, worth a total of $12.2 million, through its MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) Science program. These awards will support research to help better detect, understand and predict the effects of phenology, climate and land-use changes on living systems, and also predict the feedbacks to the environment that cross local and continental scales.

"The scientific community has seen a ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242764&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

It’s not about Google. Our diversity efforts aren’t working

ComputingEd - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 07:00

The sexist “internal memo” from Google has been filling my social media feeds for the last few days. I’m not that excited about it.  Within every organization, there will be some people who disagree with just about any policy.  The enormous screed is so scientifically incorrect that I have a hard time taking it seriously.  

For example, the memo claims that the gap between men and women in CS is due to biology. That can’t be when there are more women than men in CS, especially in the Middle East and Northern Africa.  I saw a great study at NCWIT a few years ago on why programming is seen as women’s work in those parts of the world — it’s detailed work, done inside, sometimes with one other person. It looks like sewing or knitting. When told that programmers were mostly male in the US, the participants reportedly asked, “What’s masculine about programming?”  There’s an interesting take from four scientists who claim that everything that the internal memo says is correct.

The positive outcome from this memo is Ian Bogost’s terrific essay about the lack of diversity in Tech, from industry to higher education. It’s not about Google. It’s that our diversity efforts are having little impact. Ian explains how our problem with diversity is deeply rooted and influences the historical directions of computing. I highly recommend it to you.

These figures track computing talent more broadly, even at the highest levels. According to data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, for example, less than 3 percent of the doctoral graduates from the top-10 ranked computer science programs came from African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander communities during the decade ending in 2015.

Given these abysmal figures, the idea that diversity at Google (or most other tech firms) is even modestly encroaching on computing’s incumbents is laughable. To object to Google’s diversity efforts is to ignore that they are already feeble to begin with.

Source: A Googler’s Anti-Diversity Screed Reveals Tech’s Rotten Core – The Atlantic

Tagged: BPC, computing for all, computing for everyone, Google, NCWIT

NSF funds new multidisciplinary approaches to study the brain

News From NSF - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 10:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) made 19 awards to cross-disciplinary teams from across the United States to conduct innovative research focused on neural and cognitive systems. Each award provides a research team with up to $1 million over two to four years.

The awards will contribute to NSF's investments in support of Understanding the Brain and the BRAIN Initiative, a coordinated research effort that seeks to ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242719&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Extreme melt season leads to decade-long ecosystem changes in Antarctica's Dry Valleys

News From NSF - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:35

An abnormal season of intense glacial melt in 2002 triggered multiple distinct changes in the physical and biological characteristics of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys over the ensuing decade, new research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) shows.

The findings suggest that abrupt, short-lived climate events can cause long-term alterations in polar regions that unfold over the span of several years and subsequently change the overall trajectory of an ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242559&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Laser mapping project shows effects of physical changes in Antarctica's Dry Valleys

News From NSF - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:15

Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have publicly released high-resolution maps of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys, a globally unique polar desert.

The high-resolution maps cover 3,564 square kilometers of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and allow researchers to compare present-day conditions with lower-resolution LIDAR surveys conducted almost 13 years ago.

Scientists from Portland State University led the new research project, which mapped the area using ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242558&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

What's killing trees during droughts? Scientists have new answers.

News From NSF - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:00

Find related stories on NSF's Macrosystems Biology program and Critical Zone Observatory Sites.

As the number of droughts increases globally, scientists are working to develop predictions of how future parched conditions will affect plants, especially trees.

New results published today in ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242634&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

IEEE Prism on the Georgia Tech Online MS in CS Program

ComputingEd - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:00

Nice piece in IEEE Prism about Georgia Tech’s On-line (Udacity MOOC-based) MS in CS degree.  I like how they emphasized that the program really discovered an un-met demand for graduate education.

Only after students began enrolling in OMS CS did researchers discover another unprecedented element of this massive online course. As economist Joshua Goodman of Harvard University tells Prism, he and his co-investigators found “large demand among mid-career [professionals], particularly mid-career Americans . . . for high-quality continuing education.” Indeed, demand is so robust that the program appears capable of boosting the overall production of computer science degrees in this country.Whether the new credential can fortify experienced professionals against the widespread threat of replacement by younger and cheaper workers remains an open question. For the thousands who have enrolled so far, however, the answer clearly is yes.

Source: Course Correction

Tagged: MOOCs, OMSCS, on-line education

Rare audio of indigenous languages saved by invention 100 years later

News From NSF - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:00

Non-invasive technology allows researchers to transfer recordings from thousands of decaying wax cylinders
Full story at https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/waxcylinders.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51

This is an NSF News item.

Michigan is phasing out its computer science teaching endorsement

ComputingEd - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 07:00

I’d heard that this was happening, but couldn’t believe it, until I saw the news reports.  While other states are ramping up computer science teacher certifications or endorsements, and schools are starting to offer programs for those certifications, Michigan is actually phasing it out.

Teachers who currently hold the endorsements will continue to see them displayed on their certificates and may continue to teach in those areas. However, starting in 2017-18, administrators will have discretion in assigning a teacher in those endorsement areas. For example, a teacher with a computer science endorsement may be assigned to teach computer science, or a district may employ a teacher without the endorsement who displays strong computer science skills.

Source: Some Teaching Endorsements Phasing Out – Michigan Education Association

Tagged: computing education, public policy, teachers

Primary mirror delivered to Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

News From NSF - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 17:31

The primary mirror for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) -- the heart of this sophisticated instrument -- was successfully delivered Aug. 2 to its destination atop Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii.

When completed in 2020, DKIST will be the world's largest solar telescope, providing scientists with new insights into the physics of the sun and a better understanding of how space weather affects satellites, the power grid, and other ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242744&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Process Separations

News From NSF - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 16:03

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505458&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 18-1417

This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.


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