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Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

News From NSF - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:02

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18538/nsf18538.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
PDF: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18538/nsf18538.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

Document Number: nsf18538

This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

National Science Foundation presents FY 2019 budget request

News From NSF - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 12:13

Today, President Donald J. Trump's Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) was presented to Congress. More information on the FY 2019 budget request is available beginning today from the White House Office of Management and Budget.* NSF Director France ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=244509&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Teasing out the meaning of “online classes” — Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help: NYTimes

ComputingEd - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 07:00

The NYTimes published an interesting piece on the state of online education today. Increasingly, online education is being used in schools as a response to students failing in face-to-face, traditional classrooms.  If you’re not making it in the regular class, try it again in the online class.  The article describes how that’s not working. Students who fail in traditional classes need more personal contact and support, not less.

I love that the name of the column where this article appeared is called “The Economic View,” because that’s exactly what it is.  We do now how to teach every student well — give each child a well-educated teacher for their particular subject (Bloom’s two-sigma effect). We can’t afford that, so we make do with less.  But we should aim to do no harm.  Current practice with online classes is clearly doing harm.

The NYTimes article is reporting on empiricism.  We cannot empirically determine what might online classes become. The author, Susan Dynarski of the University of Michigan, is reporting on current practice and on the result of policy.  Can online classes help students?  Absolutely, and the OMS CS is a good example of that.  Can we build online classes that work better for students who struggle with traditional classes?  Maybe — it’s hard to see them in this study. At the ECEP 2018 meeting, Caitlin Dooley (Associate Superintendent for Georgia) said that their online classes do better than face-to-face classes, in part because of caring (“mama bear”) teachers who support the students outside of the online classes.  The online classes that Susan Dynarski is studying are clearly not working well for struggling students.  There may already be models that work well, but they’re swamped in a general study of policy across different kinds of online classes.  Dynarski’s article may just be telling us that the current average practice is insufficient. There may be better models (maybe still in research) that could correct these ills.

Dynarski’s article is fascinating and is sounding an important alarm. It should be even greater motivation for those of us who are working to invent better online education.

Online education helps school districts that need to save money make do with fewer teachers. But there is mounting evidence that struggling students suffer.

In the fully online model, on the other hand, a student may never be in the same room with an instructor. This category is the main problem. It is where less proficient students tend to run into trouble. After all, taking a class without a teacher requires high levels of self-motivation, self-regulation and organization. Yet in high schools across the country, students who are struggling in traditional classrooms are increasingly steered into online courses.

Source: Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help

Spinach to hearts: Leafy vegetable inspires new way to generate heart tissue

News From NSF - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 00:00

NSF graduate student training promotes innovator’s mindset to solve critical issues in medicine
Full story at https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/spinachtohearts.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51

This is an NSF News item.

Finding a home for computing education in US Schools of Education: Priming the Computing Teacher Prompt

ComputingEd - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:00

Please sign up join us for an event to launch our report and share:

Priming the Computing Teacher Pump: Integrating Computing Education into Schools of Education

This report focuses on Schools of Education (rather than Departments or Colleges of Computer Science/Computing) for creating pathways for CS teacher education.

We challenge US teacher education programs to innovate and integrate a new discipline into their programs. What we propose is nothing less than a change to the American Education canon. Such enormous change will require innovating in different ways, using different models and strategies, before we find models that work. The report, Priming the Pump, will highlight examples of integration from across the United States, and provide concrete recommendations for discussion.

With the expansion of computing education in mainstream K-12 schools, the current training mechanisms for teachers quickly will fall short of supporting a sustainable pipeline of teachers for the scale many cities and states have committed to.

Location: Microsoft Times Square – 11 Times Square, New York, NY

Date + Time: Thursday, April 12th, 2018; 3PM – 6PM ET



Apply to Attend and for possible travel funding: Formal Invite to Follow Upon Receipt of Registration


Highlights from Priming the Computer Teacher Pump

What do teachers need to know about computing? The question of what teachers need to know about computing should be at the core of developing both the structure and content of teacher preparation programs.”

Teacher Development Models for Computing Education: Currently, few models exist in the United States for the development of rigorous computing education teachers, especially focused on computer science or computational thinking, within schools of education.”

CS Education in Teacher Education: Schools of Education face a number of challenges in terms of preparing more computer science teachers. Trends over the last decade have shown a general lack interest from graduating students in pursuing a career as a teacher. In a 2016 national survey, The National Education Association reported that the number of students planning to major in education in 2014 dropped to an historic low of 4.2%.”

“Preparing Educational Leaders to Support CS Education: There is urgency around preparing administrators and other educational leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to support computer science teaching and learning for all students. To successfully do this, computer science education must be fully established within the complex and multi-layered United States school system.”



Leigh Ann DeLyser

NYC Foundation for CS Education (CSNYC)

Joanna Goode

University of Oregon

Mark Guzdial

Georgia Institute of Technology

Yasmin Kafai

University of Pennsylvania

Aman Yadav

Michigan State University

Prospective New Awardee Guide (January 2018)

News From NSF - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 19:08

Available Formats:
PDF: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18033/nsf18033.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179

Document Number: nsf18033

This is an NSF Publications item.

Important Notice No. 144: Harassment

News From NSF - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:49

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/issuances/in144.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179
PDF: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/issuances/in144.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179

Document Number: in144

This is an NSF Publications item.

Leading cloud providers join with NSF to support data science frontiers

News From NSF - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is providing nearly $30 million in new funding for research in data science and engineering through its Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA) program.

NSF's awards are paired with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure, which have each committed up to $3 million in cloud resources for relevant ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=244450&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Education is About Providing Hope to Everyone: Contrasting the Lost Einsteins and Kennett, Missouri

ComputingEd - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 07:00

I’ve had two articles bouncing around in my head that offer contrasting views of higher education and for me, of the purpose for computing education.

In “Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing,” the NYTimes tells us about unequal access to opportunity in the United States.  We do not have a meritocracy. Our inventors, patent holders, and innovators overwhelmingly are male, white, and upper income. Two children of equal ability do not get the same access to opportunity, if one is poor, female, or from a minority group. That opportunity includes higher education, access to funding, and the social capital of figuring out how to file a patent or produce an invention.

Women, African-Americans, Latinos, Southerners, and low- and middle-income children are far less likely to grow up to become patent holders and inventors. Our society appears to be missing out on most potential inventors from these groups. And these groups together make up most of the American population.  The groups also span the political left and right — a reminder that Americans of different tribes have a common interest in attacking inequality.

In “A Dying Town: Here in a corner of Missouri and across America, the lack of a college education has become a public-health crisis,” the Chronicle of Higher Education tells us the story of Kennett, Missouri, a town with little hope and few college degrees.  Perhaps it’s correlation, but maybe it’s causation. Only one in 10 adults in Kennett, MO has a four-year degree.  The article points out the correlates for attaining a college degree. There are decreased mortality rates with college attendance.

It would be easy to say this is just about being poor, but people who study the phenomenon say it’s not that simple. Yes, having a job — and the paycheck and health insurance that come with it — matters. Those aren’t all that make a difference, however. Better-educated people live in less-polluted areas, trust more in science, and don’t as frequently engage in risky behaviors. Have a college degree and you’re more likely to wear a seat belt and change the batteries in your smoke alarm.

Both of them are sad stories. I’m struck by the differences in the desired goal in each.  In “Lost Einsteins,” we are told about the innovations and inventions we all are missing out on, because access to opportunity (including higher education) is so biased. In “A Dying Town,” we’re told that everyone need access to the opportunity for higher education.  In Kennett, MO, a college degree means hope, and hope means life — literally.

In “Lost Einsteins,” opportunities like higher education are about creating inventors and innovators. In “A Dying Town,” opportunities like higher education are about improving quality and length of life.  Contrast these perspectives as being like coaching a sports champion and providing public health. I made a similar contrast in my book Learner-Centered Design of Computing Education in how we think about computing education.  Many CS teachers are trying to produce innovators, inventors, champions, and Tech heroes — they want their students to go to the great Tech companies, or invent the next must-have app, or start a company that will be worth millions if not billions.  I argue that we have a much greater need to provide everyone with the computing literacy that they need to be successful in the 21st Century.  It is important to coach the champions, but not at the cost of providing the public health that everyone needs.

I’m curious about the relationship between college degrees and the health issues in Kennett, MO.  I have taught undergraduates for over 25 years.  I’ve never taught anyone to wear a seat belt or to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.  Where did they learn that?  Is it just because they’re smarter after they get the degree?  Or were they prone to do those things anyway, because they were the kind that sought out higher education?  I don’t know, but if it’s causal, we have to be careful not to lose those important side benefits of a college degree as we downsize higher education.  As we get rid of the teachers for the MOOCs, and get rid of the campus for virtual space, we might also get rid of whatever intangibles that lead a college graduate to make the right choices in life, like wearing a seat belt and having a long, healthy, and productive life.


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