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Is writing education vital to emerging technology?

E-School News – Jeremy Cunningham

“In an age of technological advancement, it’s easy to feel obsolete. I feel confident that education will always be needed; but, occasionally I wonder if writing education has value in a computer-driven world. Students enter my English classrooms and see the course as a requirement for advancement. They look at is as one of many “basics” they need until they can study their actual interest.”(more)

Want to Break Stereotypes in STEM and Computing? Take a Look at Computer History

Ed Surge – Sheena Vaidyanathan

“The history of computers is not just an intriguing account of amazing innovations. More importantly, it is the story of the people who helped us get there. These stories teach us lessons that go far beyond computing—tales of determination, persistence and overcoming the odds. By sharing this history with our students we can help break the stereotypes about gender and race in computing.”(more)

Teaching computing? Try switching off your screens

The Guardian – Helen Caldwell and Neil Smith

“Computing is now a required part of the curriculum from early years to key stage 3 and beyond. But the subject is much more than just using a computer and learning about programming: it’s a way of thinking, of understanding the world so that people can change it. Those thinking skills can also be developed away from the computer; in fact, moving away from the screen can often help students understand the ideas without being distracted by the technology. They are more likely, as well, to be able to transfer them to new contexts.”(more)

Secret Teacher: giving students wifi has made lessons chaotic

The Guardian – Secret Teacher

“Our school recently started providing in-school wifi access to pupils. Teaching staff were not privy to the logic – but when the leadership team announced the news in assembly, they were cheered to the rafters by grateful children. The schools grounds have poor phone signal, so logging on through 4G had not been an option, and the internet had only been available through school computers until this point.”(more)

Understanding science an important gift

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

We are the cusp of modifying, controlling, and creating life. Human to human brain sharing, artificial life forms, and robot swarms are all reality. Even though these technologies are in the early stages of development and are still too expensive and complicated for widespread use, it is not too early to start preparing for the eventual impact these discoveries will have on society.

Unlike earlier scientific advances, these breakthroughs come with a myriad of ethical issues. What kind of security is necessary to protect individuals from having information shared or removed from their brains? What are the safety issues and risks associated with releasing artificial life forms into the environment? Should man be playing God and creating life that does not exist in nature? What happens if robots work together without humans?

Unsettling, certainly. Terrifying, if our children are not able to keep their brains and bodies safe.

There is a delicate balance between the benefits of these new technologies and safety. Used in the right ways, these scientific advances could provide everyone with a much higher quality of life. Used in the wrong ways, these discoveries could lead to the destruction of humankind.

As a result, it is imperative that parents prepare their children to ask good questions and make wise decisions about the use of these new technologies.

First, parents must embrace change. Even though it was not imperative to understand science 30 years ago, it is now. This means science education needs to be a top priority for all children. Science, especially chemistry and physics, requires a strong math background, so kids need high math proficiency as well. Fortunately, there are many free online tools available to supplement what children learn at school including courses and materials available through the Kahn Academy, MIT, and Stanford.

Academic learning alone, however, is not enough. Everyone needs to be aware of the latest technical advances. Many articles about scientific discoveries are now written for a lay people, so it is possible for the general population to stay up to date on the latest innovations.

In addition to encouraging children to read about cutting edge scientific research, it is also important to talk about the potential positives and negatives of these new technologies. As with drugs and alcohol, discussion and awareness helps prepare kids to make wise decisions about how they will allow these technologies to interact with their bodies and lives.

White House announces boost to computer science education

The Hill – Ali Breland

“The White House announced on Monday new initiatives to bolster computer science in K–12 education. Citing the rapidly expanding demand for technology jobs, the Obama administration outlined new efforts by two federal agencies: The National Science Foundation plans to spend $20 million on computer science education in 2017, on top the the $25 million it spent in 2016, with an emphasis on training teachers.”(more)