Saturday, August 30, 2008

inspiring kids to learn about technology

Computer Science is awesome, but it needs our support. For some crazy reason enrollment is declining. I don't get why; its one of the best jobs ever. Building the newest and coolest technology is so much fun and so challenging. I don't get why kids are eating it up. Nevertheless, things aren't that great in the computer science field these days. here is a little quote from a recent google blog

At a time when more and more digital technologies are becoming indispensable to millions of people, the field of computer science (CS) is in trouble. Enrollment and retention of CS students, particularly those historically underrepresented in the field (women, African-Americans, Native-Americans, and Hispanics) has declined sharply. According to the Computing Research Association, CS enrollment in the U.S. was at its peak in 2000, with 15,958 undergrads. By 2006, enrollment declined by roughly half: 7,798 undergrads. And enrollment among already-underrepresented groups has dropped even more sharply.

i totally think we need to promote computer science to kids in grade school to get the more interested and inspired to want to join our field. i would like to really figure out how i can do that in hawaii. so far, i've been limited to events like lacy veach day of discovery and the college of engineering junior expo. those were awesome events, but i want to reach a broader audience. i often wonder how much career guidance is done in elementary and intermediate schools. do we do any at all? do we need to do more? can industry participate.

here is one idea to reach kids; Pathways in Computer Science. this video is put together by the university of washington Computer Science & Engineering school. its a pretty good video that explains why the students got interested in computer science (its probably appropriate for intermediate kids).

wouldn't it be cool if all students in hawaii watched this video? how would i go about doing that?

btw, UWCSE has a lot of other videos. check it out here.

or maybe we need to teach innovation!
standford's entrepreneurship week is another attempt to foster creativity and innovation. the cool thing is that this creativity and innovation eventually leads to technology.


there are so many great resources here:
  • imagine it! - What would happen if you gave thousands of students around the world a single pad of Post-it® Notes and challenged them to innovate... in one week! What would they do? How would they use their imaginations? What would they create? This is the story behind the first film in the documentary series imagine it! (you can download this version).
  • imagine it2! - Imagine It!² ("squared") weighs in on the most important conversation of our time. Imagination, creativity and innovation can unleash human potential to help solve the world's grand challenges. Imagine It!² proves that positive is greater than negative, and in the process takes you on a journey to a brighter, more prosperous future, where the next generation engages their curiosity in ways we can only imagine. Imagine It!² isn't just a movie…it's a movement.
  • winners of the 2008 innovation tournament - These videos were recognized at the Stanford Innovation Tournament Showcase. Teams were given one week to create value from rubber bands and then documented their work with video. Click on the links below to see the winning submissions and other videos that were recognized.
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