Breaking the code for women programmers

In her new film She++: The Documentary, co-director Ellora Israni says, “We didn’t aspire to be nerds.” But she ended up as one—and is encouraging other women and girls to embrace their inner geek as computer scientists, The Daily Beast reports. Turns out, the field is far from nerdy. In fact, it is one of the most in-demand careers right now—the number of jobs is currently tripling, according to Facebook’s director of engineering, Jocelyn Goldfein—and it doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon. But computer science has a supply problem: there are nowhere enough software engineers to match the current demand. According to the film, U.S. businesses will need 1.4 million computer scientists by 2020. But at the current rate, only 30 percent of those jobs will be filled by American-trained professionals. And numbers are even more dismal for female scientists…

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Starting high school later may help sleepy teens

Quinn Cooney of Mill Creek, Wash., is excited about starting high school in September, but she’s not looking forward to waking up at 5:30 a.m. to arrive on time, the Associated Press reports. Classes for ninth-graders start at 7:30 a.m., 45 minutes earlier than they did in middle school. “I think it is going to be harder to get up,” said Quinn, 13. “I do think it is better to start early so that we can be finished early and do things after school, but I am worried that if I have a boring class for my first period that it will be hard to stay awake.”

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Under code, apps would disclose collection of data

Like food packages that display nutrition labels, some mobile apps could soon display information that allows consumers to decide at a glance whether the apps are good for them, The New York Times reports. A variety of groups, including app developers and consumer advocates, have agreed to test a voluntary code of conduct that would require participating app developers to offer short-form notices about whether their apps collect certain personal details from users — including health and social networking data — or share user-specific data with entities like advertising networks or consumer data resellers…

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How much time do school districts spend on standardized testing? This much.

Exactly how much standardized testing are school districts subjecting students to these days? A nearly staggering amount, according to a new analysis, The Washington Post reports. “Testing More, Teaching Less: What America’s Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time,” released by the American Federation of Teachers, looks closely at two unnamed medium-sized school districts — one in the Midwest and one in the East — through the prism of their standardized testing calendars…

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What’s important in a digital device initiative?

Student engagement and quality of “screen time” are important considerations in device deployments.

In recent years, many ed-tech advocacy efforts have morphed from emphasizing the need for schools to have ed-tech tools and devices to figuring out exactly which device, or mix of devices, meet students’ needs, and how best to manage those devices. But before determining which device or devices students should use, education leaders must first identify what they want students to be able to do with the devices, according to a panel of experts.

During a July 25 Project 24 webinar, school ed-tech leaders discussed the factors influencing their decisions to move to a one-to-one or bring your own device (BYOD) policy.

“Ultimately, the students will help lead the adults down the path that you need to go,” said Patrick Larkin, assistant superintendent for learning for Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts. “The only wrong choice you can make is not getting all the stakeholders in on the conversation to choose the right device from day one.”

(Next page: How do districts handle the influx of technology?)

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Education leaders call for moratorium on testing

A number of education leaders are calling for a moratorium on annual student assessments until Maryland switches to tests that match a new curriculum being implemented in classrooms, The Baltimore Sun reports. The state teachers union and school superintendents association said Wednesday that they would support a halt to the Maryland School Assessment, which is given every year to students in the third through eighth grades. “We should just not give the current MSA. Just stop giving it tomorrow,” said Joshua Starr, Montgomery County’s superintendent. Calls for suspending the tests followed the state’s release of the most recent student test scores, which dropped significantly for the first time in a decade. State officials blamed the poor showing on rapid changes to the curriculum, called the Common Core…

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In search of the benefit of homework

The debate about homework is growing heated in education circles. With more and more demands being placed on teachers, students, and educational leaders, homework can provide valuable practice time for students, TeachThought.com reports. It can also be a time of torture where families lose their precious little time to conflict and stress, as the battle of “I don’t want to do my homework” ensues. It’s important to impress upon students the value of getting the work done, but sometimes homework demands are unrealistic, bringing up the question “Is homework productive?” It has been argued that homework unfairly punishes students who do not have family members available to help them, giving the long-term edge to students with parents who do…

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Beyond design thinking in education and research

What the heck is ‘design thinking?’ I can’t seem to find a concise definition, Forbes reports. It feels like a buzzword catch-all phrase. Since I write about edtech, I’m constantly encountering authors, speakers, and experts who claim that bringing design thinking into the classroom can transform education. I read the phrase on educational blogs all the time but I don’t really know what it means. Perhaps it is too vague, too ambivalent, too general. I wanted to have a clear sense of just what folks mean by design thinking, especially in regards to education…

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Watch: Chicago student slams school board for massive teacher layoffs

In less than two minutes, nine-year-old Chicago Public School student Asean Johnson on Wednesday unloaded a heartfelt plea to save teachers while excoriating the Board of Education that signed off on last week’s massive budget cuts and teacher layoffs, The Huffington Post reports. “One thing I don’t about this board is that you only give us two minutes to speak and you give these corporate businesses, what, an hour to speak?” the student said during his emotional speech…

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