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Arecibo: Statement on NSF Record of Decision

News From NSF - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:48

On Nov. 15, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) signed its Record of Decision for the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This important step concludes the agency's decision-making process with respect to the general path forward for facility operations in a budget-constrained environment and provides the basis for a future decision regarding a new collaborator.

NSF issued its Record of ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243729&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

NSF-supported scientists present research results on Earth's critical zone at 2017 AGU fall meeting

News From NSF - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:00

Find related stories on NSF's Critical Zone Observatories at this link.

The thin veneer of Earth's surface that stretches from the top of the forest canopy to the base of bedrock is known as the "critical zone." It's where fresh water flows, rock turns to soil and life flourishes.

To provide a deeper understanding of the critical zone, the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports nine ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243660&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


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NSF makes new awards to advance Science of Learning

News From NSF - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 17:02

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $8.2 million through its Science of Learning program to fund 24 new projects that will advance theoretical insights and fundamental knowledge of learning principles, processes, environments and constraints.

"NSF has shown long-standing leadership in the Science of Learning through past investments in the Science of Learning Centers and Science of Learning Collaborative Networks," said Fay Lomax Cook, assistant director for NSF's ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243658&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

Shape of Lake Ontario generates white-out blizzards, study shows

News From NSF - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:00

A 6-foot-wide snow blower mounted on a tractor makes a lot of sense when you live on the Tug Hill Plateau. Tug Hill, in upstate New York, is one of the snowiest places in the Eastern U.S. and experiences some of the most intense snowstorms in the world. This largely rural region, just east of Lake Ontario, gets an average of 20 feet of snow a year.

Hence the tractor-mounted snow blower.

The region's massive snow totals are due to lake-effect snowstorms and, it turns out, to ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243636&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

Royal Society Report on CS in English Schools: The Challenge of Reaching Everyone

ComputingEd - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 07:00

The new report from the UK’s Royal Society is fascinating and depressing. More than half of school don’t offer CS. Because the largest schools do offer CS, 70% of English students are at a school that offer CS — but they’re still not getting into CS classes. Only 1 in 5 CS students are female. The Royal Society recommends a tenfold increase in funding.

We have heard about some of these demographics before (see the Roehampton report and BBC coverage). Here in the US, we’re also talking about dramatically increasing funding (see blog post here about the $1.3B funding from White House and Tech industry).  Are the US and England on the same paths in CS? Is there any reason to expect things to be different, or better, in the US?

report by the UK’s national academy of sciences finds that more than half of English schools do not offer GCSE Computer Science, leaving too many young people without the chance to learn critically important programming and algorithm skills at a crucial stage of their education.

Unless the government urgently invests £60m in computing education over the next five years – a tenfold increase from current levels that puts it on par with support for maths and physics – an entire generation may never unlock the full potential of new technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 54% of English schools do not offer Computer Science GCSE

  • 30% of English GCSE pupils attend a school that does not offer Computer Science GCSE – the equivalent of 175,000 pupils each year

  • Bournemouth leads England with the highest uptake of Computer Science GCSE (23% of all pupils), with Kensington & Chelsea (5%), Blackburn (5%) and City of London coming last (4%)

  • England meets only 68% of its recruitment target for entries into computing teacher training courses, lower than Physics and Classics

  • Only 1 in 5 Computer Science GCSE pupils are female

Source: Invest tenfold in computing in schools to prepare students for digital world, says Royal Society


Tagged: CAS, computing education, public policy

Why do so few schools try LiveCode? We let industry dictate our tools

ComputingEd - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 07:00

I’m an old HyperCard programmer, so I like LiveCode.  LiveCode does very well on the five principles I suggest for picking an educational programming language. The language is highly readable, and was actually designed drawing on research on how novices best understand programming. It’s easy to put together something that looks authentic and that runs on virtually any platform — much easier than Python, Java, Scratch, Blockly, or any of the other top five most popular teaching languages. Authenticity is often engaging for students.

The LiveCode folks have just put together a web page (linked below) describing some of the reasons why teachers should consider LiveCode.  But in general, we don’t.  Why not?  I have two guesses:

  1. There is no community of practice. There isn’t a visible community of teachers using LiveCode. There isn’t an obvious industry call for more LiveCode programmers.
  2. We in computing education are mostly driven by surface-level interpretations of industry needs.  It isn’t obvious that it must be so, or even that it should be so.  But the same forces that killed Pascal and promoted Python, Java, and C++ as our intro languages prevent LiveCode from getting adopted.

I think LiveCode, Smalltalk, and Lisp are all excellent pedagogical programming languages, but our teaching decisions in secondary and post-secondary CS education are rarely based on what will engage students, be easier to learn, or lead to transferable knowledge.  Instead, we tend to make decisions on what obviously looks like what current professionals do.  It binds us to normative practices. We’re stuck in apprenticeship as our teaching perspective, and can’t consider social reform or developmental perspectives.

Better Exam Results, Better Real Life Outcomes, More Fun!

Over a third of Scottish schools are now teaching using LiveCode. They are doing this because they have proven results showing that using LiveCode results in more students remaining engaged, reaching good grades, and continuing in the direction of a coding career.

Source: Education | LiveCode


Tagged: computing education, HyperCard, Java, Lisp, Livecode, pascal, Smalltalk

NSF awards $2.8 million grant to develop advanced ocean and atmosphere simulator

News From NSF - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 06:00

Can Earth's complex ocean-atmosphere system be mimicked in a laboratory? The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $2.8 million to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in La Jolla, California, to construct just such a replica.

The new Scripps Ocean Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS) will accurately duplicate ocean conditions, capturing the interactions of wind, waves, microbial marine life and chemistry in a laboratory setting.

With SOARS, scientists will ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243548&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

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