Entries with tag computer science education.

Coding Tutorial Uses Popular Children’s Film to Attract Kids

Code.org and Disney Interactive have created a new basic coding tutorial for children featuring characters from the animated film Frozen to stimulate their interest in computer science. The Artist with Anna and Elsa tutorial offers viewers information on programming concepts like loops and conditionals. The module also is embedded with short video lectures from women working in technology. Code.org is a nonprofit organization focused on expanding participation in computer science, particularly by children, women, and people of color. The tutorial project is part of the organization’s Hour of Code campaign, a one-hour introduction to computer science for tens of millions of students in 180 countries. Disney is hosting Hour of Code events at several of its offices. (Geek Wire)(The Seattle Times)(Code.Org “Artist with Anna and Elsa”)

Debates Surface over US Computer Science Degrees’ Return on Investment

A survey by PayScale of the return on investment (ROI) on US college degrees in various majors found that computer science graduates make the most money after graduation. However, the findings are only part of the debate over the best value for the educational dollar. PayScale—an online employee compensation-information company—calculated ROI based on the total amount graduates could expect to earn over the next 20 years above what they could expect to earn without a degree, minus the cost of the education. Nine of the survey’s top 10 college-major pairings in terms of ROI were computer science majors. A Stanford economics degree was the only other degree foundin the survey’s top 10 most valuable degrees. Some schools on the list of top-ranked colleges for computer science majors include public institutions such as the Colorado School of Mines (for in-state students) but consist mainly of private institutions like Harvey Mudd College, the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. On the other hand, IT World, an IT-information website, looked at ROI on computer-science degrees, and found the best value generally to be public schools for in-state residents. IT World’s top five schools were the University of Virginia; the University of Washington; the Georgia Institute of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; and Harvard University. “If you're just thinking of college as a financial investment, studying computer science at one of your state's public universities is the way to go,” concluded IT World. “Of course, that's purely based on raw financial numbers and it doesn't take into account other important things that can affect one’s college experience, like the location, the choice of extracurricular activities, and the quality of the dining hall food. You (or your child) will have to do that math yourselves.” (SlashDot)(PayScale)(The Atlantic)(IT World)

Evaluation Shows US College Computer-Science Enrollment Rising

Enrollment in US college computer science programs now appears to be increasing, according to preliminary findings by the Computing Research Association. The organization publishes an annual report on college computer science enrollment and graduation and released early findings, showing a 22 percent increase in bachelor’s degree enrollment from 49,564 students in 2011-2012 to 60,453 in 2012-2013. The organization also reports that from 2012 to 2013, the number of doctoral degrees in computer science increased by 6.8 percent, although enrollment in PhD programs was down 1.2 percent. In the US, universities awarded 1,991 computer-science doctoral degrees, the highest number ever reported. The full 2013 Taulbee Report is scheduled for publication in the May 2014 issue of Computing Research News, which the organization publishes. (SD Times)(Computing Research Association)

Game Teaches Java Programming

University of California, San Diego, researchers have developed a 3D first-person video game to teach children Java programming. CodeSpells targets elementary- to high school-aged students. In the game, a wizard in a land of gnomes has no spells to help them. The player assists by writing spells in Java and performing quests that teach concepts such as conditional and loop statements. The game was tested with 40 girls, aged 10 to 12, with no programming experience. The researchers said the girls mastered basic Java concepts within an hour of game play. They are making the game freely available by request to any educational institution and are doing further testing in San Diego-area elementary schools. They presented their findings at the recent 2013 SIGCSE Technical Symposium, sponsored by ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. (SlashDot)(Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego)

Companies Push Computer Education in UK Elementary Schools

The UK is overhauling computer science education in secondary schools. However, the current shortage of computer professionals in the UK has caused at least two major technology companies to recommend computer-science education in elementary schools. Microsoft executives say this is important because in the UK, there are now about 100,000 unfilled jobs requiring computer-science degrees but only 30,500 people graduated college with a degree in the field last year. Google is supporting the concept of primary-level computer-science education by providing a grant enabling the Raspberry Pi Foundation to give 15,000 low-cost Raspberry Pi Model B computers to UK elementary schools. The Raspberry Pi Foundation will work with six UK-based educational partners—CoderDojo, Code Club, Computing at School, Generating Genius, Teach First, and OCR—to identify and work with students who would most benefit from receiving one of the computers. (SlashDot – 1)(SlashDot – 2)(Computerworld UK)(Raspberry Pi Foundation)

Game Lets Players Test Computer-Security Skills

University of Washington computer scientists have developed a card game that lets young players find out what it’s like to be a security professional. Control-Alt-Hack—designed for 15- to 30-year-olds with some computer-science knowledge—presents participants with scenarios and ethical situations that security professionals might encounter. In the game, players work for Hackers Inc., a small company that performs security audits and consultations. In their turn, one of the three to six players selects a card that presents them with a hacking challenge including threats to cars or implanted medical devices. The designers say the game could supplement a high school or introductory college-level computer science course or help IT professionals who work in fields other than security. Intel, the US National Science Foundation, and the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education helped fund the project. The researchers will provide a limited number of games for free to educators in the continental US and in the fall, will sell them for about $30. They are presented their work this week at the Black Hat 2012 information-security meeting. (Science Daily)(University of Washington)(Control-Alt-Hack)

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