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Transforming K-12 computing education
All U.S. high school students should have the opportunity to take rigorous computer science (CS) courses that are relevant to their lives and their interests, courses that engage and inspire them. The new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course is just such a course. Like the earlier Exploring Computer Science, AP CSP was designed from the beginning with equity in mind, with the explicit goal of attracting and retaining a broad range of students, especially students from those groups that are often underrepresented in computing: women, persons of color, and persons with disabilities. AP courses are popular with administrators, admissions officers, students, and parents. School administrators see them as a way to raise the academic profile of their school; college admissions officers see them as a known quantity with an established level of rigor and a standardized assessment; students and their parents see them as a way to strengthen high school transcripts and provide an economical start on college credits. The AP designation helps get CSP accepted in schools across the U.S.
Posted on 15 Dec 2015
Are Hardware Toys the Future of Kids' Coding?
Plenty of games and apps teach kids to code. But educators and toymakers are betting that teaching computer science isn't about coding at all. ''Computers have gotten so user-friendly that modern people, maybe not just kids, expect the computer to come to us,'' Gene Luen Yang, a graphic novelist and computer science teacher, told EdSurge earlier this year. ''But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of how to create new technology, you need to understand how the computer works natively.'' The proliferation of devices has made technology a ubiquitous presence in children's lives. But that does not mean they understand how anything works. Enter computer hardware toys, which hopefully build kids' understanding of how electronics function.
Posted on 15 Dec 2015
What Does Parental Leave Look Like in NYC's Silicon Alley?
Workers in most industries struggle to achieve a healthy balance between career advancement and parenting. In the last year, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix have all announced sharply improved family benefits including up to a year of leave for mothers and fathers. With these announcements, media outlets have started to declare the tech sector as the ''most radical'' on the issue. Anecdotal evidence suggests New York tech companies are not emulating their Silicon Valley rivals. A survey of local companies found some startups offer no leave at all, while others provide a very modest six to 12 weeks of paid time off. One provided parental leave only to its paid female staff.
Posted on 15 Dec 2015
What Does Parental Leave Look Like in NYC's Silicon Alley?
Workers in most industries struggle to achieve a healthy balance between career advancement and parenting. In the last year, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix have all announced sharply improved family benefits including up to a year of leave for mothers and fathers. With these announcements, media outlets have started to declare the tech sector as the ''most radical'' on the issue. Anecdotal evidence suggests New York tech companies are not emulating their Silicon Valley rivals. A survey of local companies found some startups offer no leave at all, while others provide a very modest six to 12 weeks of paid time off. One provided parental leave only to its paid female staff.
Posted on 15 Dec 2015
Stem Toys Made For Girls Are The Hot New Trend
The shortage of women in computer science and tech has been a topic of heated discussion and much teeth-gnashing. . Given that STEM careers are regularly among the highest paid and the number of STEM jobs is predicted to grow by 17% over the next ten years, there has been a movement afoot to spark girls' interest at a young age, with coding camps for girls. The latest effort? This holiday season sees a flood of new STEM toys marketed explicitly for girls. It might seem counterintuitive, given that many retailers, like Target and Disney, have begun eschewing gender labels on toys. But Adrienne Appell , trend specialist at the Toy Industry Association in Manhattan, says STEM toys for girls is a big trend. ''We named it as a major trend in 2014 and we've seen it continue in 2015,'' says Appell.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015
SendGrid's diversity strategy results in more job candidates
In the seven months since being named senior director of software engineering at SendGrid, Sha Ma has hired five engineers, including one female. Ma is evidence that the fast-growing Boulder e-mail firm's strategy to include all potential talent while hiring for a job is working. By leaning on Ma's network - she's led development teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies - SendGrid expanded its candidate pool and hired women it may have otherwise overlooked. Half of Ma's referrals hired for other jobs at the company also were women. Last year, SendGrid joined Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Google in sharing the gender makeup of its staff - as embarrassing as it was. Most companies reported that less than 20 percent of tech jobs were held by females, compared with the general U.S. labor force, where women make up 46.8 percent. SendGrid was at 9 percent. In an update shared with The Denver Post, SendGrid said its numbers are inching forward. While the improvement is not fabulous, its female tech workers now hold 12.3 percent of its tech jobs. Female tech leaders doubled to six, including Ma, or 25 percent of SendGrid's technical leadership. Nonwhite employees are at 18.9 percent, up from last year's 17 percent.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015
3 Ways Tech Companies Are Offering Parental Leave
Tech companies are competing for recruits and retention: same old, same old. What's new is their strategy - something other than on-site massages, nap rooms, and haircuts. Google, Facebook, Netflix, and most recently, Amazon, are now bragging about their generous family leave policies. Who would've thunk it? Companies have heard the message: today's top talent cares about work-life balance. But the devil's in the details. Which family leave model will actually attract and retain valued employees? Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement of his intention to take two months of parental leave provides the crucial clue.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015
How Do You Engage and Retain Diverse Students? EngageCSEdu Can Help
Engaging and meaningful introductory courses are important to drawing and keeping diverse students in computing. But what practices are most likely to have the biggest impact on retaining diverse students? And why? To help the computing education community share their answers to these questions, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) teamed with Google to create EngageCSEdu, a comprehensive collection of peer-reviewed CS1/2 course materials designed to engage diverse students. All materials in EngageCSEdu collection have been peer reviewed for the quality of their CS content and for their use of high impact 'Engagement Practices': a set of practices that research suggests help both improve instruction and retain diverse students. This article overviews several of these practices and highlights some of the materials in the collection that use them.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015
New Hackbright CEO Sharon Wienbar Says Programming Now More Attractive to Women
Venture capitalist Sharon Wienbar is taking the helm as chief executive of Hackbright Academy, a San Francisco computer engineering school whose mission is to bring more women into the tech industry. Ms. Wienbar, a partner at Scale Venture Partners since 2001, succeeds Hackbright co-founder and CEO David Phillips, who will become chairman of the school. The two met in 2014 when she was researching an article on how to hire more female engineers. The next day she offered to advise the school. In an interview, Ms. Wienbar said her venture capital experience will help the school grow by reaching beyond its San Francisco campus to serve more aspiring female software developers and companies looking for talented workers.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015
Why it makes sense to have more women in tech (infographic)
The position of women in tech is something Silicon Republic spend a lot of time discussing it. Through the Women Invent campaign, they aim to highlight inspiring women in technology - from the legendary Hedy Lamarr to modern inspirations like astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Techmums founder Sue Black. Silicon Republic is also the driving force behind Inspirefest, an international sci-tech festival that also aims to promote diversity in STEM. In 2013, just 26pc of computing jobs in the US were held by women while only 11pc of all engineers in the US were women. Less than 20pc of technical roles at Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter were held by women when this infographic was compiled, despite the fact that women are the lead adopters of technology. Read on for more statistics that may give you pause for thought.
Posted on 01 Dec 2015

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