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High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

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  • #16
    High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

    Let us not forget, that hidden in the recent senate immigration bill was a provision to raise the H1-B cap by almost double. It is fortunate that the house had other ideas. Dave

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    • #17
      High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

      The comment about "core competencies" is right on the money. This kind of language also promotes an unfriendly recruiting environment. Look, as a computing professional, I just don't want to hear from my employer that computers aren't a core competency. Even if it's essentially true, it's an unfriendly message. The underlying message is that I'm not very important, my opinion isn't very important, and my career isn't very important. I can't influence my organization and I should be thankful I haven't been outsourced (yet). How many organizations say that HR isn't a core competency? Payroll? Purchasing? Physical plant? All might be true in many respects, but it isn't respectful of the people currently working there, and potential future staff either.

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      • #18
        High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

        Purchase College does offer computing courses! Purchase College offers majors in the liberal arts as well as the visual and performing arts. In fact, more than half the students are NOT in what we call the conservatories. The Continuing Education/Liberal Studies catalog has been deficient in the past by hiding courses that are not provided specifically by the School of CE. This may have been the case here. We do not offer a computer science major. Instead, there is a combined major in mathematics/computer science. There also is a major in new media, with courses from/in school of natural and social sciences, the school of art and design, the school of theater arts and film, and the conservatory of music. Many courses are taken by a mixture of students. I have not yet read the article or all the postings and will not comment except to say that technology and the application of technology is evolving and, though there are 'basics' that deserve attention, colleges should a) attempt to keep up and b) educate students for change by showing how to learn how to learn. Jeanine Meyer coordinator, mathematics/computer science board of study and member of new media board of study (we don't have departments) Purchase College newmedia.purchase.edu/~Jeanine

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        • #19
          High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

          Ok, I can't speak for the entire industry or entire country, but here in sunny Southern California, all the community colleges in my area have experienced a dramatic reduction in enrollment in computer science courses. I'm on the advisory board for the CS department at one such college, and they all agree. The lower-level "Computers 101"-type classes fill up easily, but anything involving actual programming does not usually attract enough students to make the class viable. (Since community colleges are so inexpensive, it usually takes at least 20 students to generate enough money to pay the teacher.) Therefore, NUMEROUS programming classes get cancelled each semester. Itís very disturbing, but itís a fact that we cannot deny. Less and less students are interested in careers in programming. The more interesting (and difficult) question is WHY? Is it because of the trend towards outsourcing? ... Maybe ... Is it because computers have become so ubiquitous that they no longer "dazzle and enthrall" students like they did when I started programming in 1981? ... Maybe ... Iím sorry, but I donít have any good answers here, just observations. -- Dave

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          • #20
            High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

            DaveSlash wrote: Itís very disturbing, but itís a fact that we cannot deny. Less and less students are interested in careers in programming. If there are no careers, it's difficult to generate an interest. From what I understand, the trend that you are seeing is pervasive around the country. There are probably other fields that have been legislated out of existence, but none, more so in recent memory than the field of programming. There are other reasons too. I wrote this article http://www.mcpressonline.com/mc?1@23...T.17@.6ae61001 over three years ago. Despite some realizations by politicians that in many cases the wrong action has been taken, the tilting point may have been reached. Regardless, it is just very difficult to get by these days. Dave

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            • #21
              High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

              DaveSlash wrote: Itís very disturbing, but itís a fact that we cannot deny. Less and less students are interested in careers in programming. If there are no careers, it's difficult to generate an interest. From what I understand, the trend that you are seeing is pervasive around the country. There are probably other fields that have been legislated out of existence, but none, more so in recent memory than the field of programming. There are other reasons too. I wrote this article http://www.mcpressonline.com/mc?1@23...T.17@.6ae61001 over three years ago. Despite some realizations by politicians that in many cases the wrong action has been taken, the tilting point may have been reached. Regardless, it is just very difficult to get by these days. Dave

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              • #22
                High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                In Fall, 2006, we will be offering Programming Games, Computer Science I (Java), Creating Web Documents (2 sections: one in the evening), Networking and Security, Emerging Web: Design using XML. Many other technology courses are offered, such as Digital Media Studio and Experimental Web Practice. We welcome 'adult/non-matric' students. Please go to www.purchase.edu to find out information.

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                • #23
                  High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                  DaveSlash wrote: Itís very disturbing, but itís a fact that we cannot deny. Less and less students are interested in careers in programming. Dave wrote: If there are no careers, it's difficult to generate an interest. From what I understand, the trend that you are seeing is pervasive around the country. The trend is indeed pervasive - but to equate to a lack of careers is overly simplistic and misses the bigger point entirely. If it was simply a case of "no careers", how do you account for the fact that _all_ science and engineering disciplines are seeing a significant decline? IT was just ahead of the curve - possibly as a legacy from the Y2K fiasco. The scenario is even worse when it comes to women in technical courses. Enrollment right now is running at a level comparable to 1976. That's really sad. What it is telling you is that Tech in general has become boring/passe/unattractive. Students are enrolling in Liberal Arts programs in their thousands. Think they are doing that because of the wonderful job opportunities? I don't know what the cause is - but to put it at the door of a lack of careers is missing the point.

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                  • #24
                    High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                    JonFParis asked: how do you account for the fact that _all_ science and engineering disciplines are seeing a significant decline? It is indeed a fact that the H1-B visa covers all science and engineering disciplines. This is not necessarily a conclusion, but it must be considered a contributing factor if nothing else. Dave

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                    • #25
                      High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                      > but it must be considered a contributing factor if nothing else.
                      I'm not sure it does anything of the sort Dave. As I noted before - it does not explain why they would opt instead to be schooled in disciplines that in and of themselves offer little or nothing in the way of career prospects. I fully agree that a great many of the H1B visas are issued under false pretenses - but I just don't see that the "career" argument holds water. Jon

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                      • #26
                        High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                        Yep, there's an example, with all the hooplah: "___On November 8, 2005 the Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to allow science students in public schools to hear materials critical of evolution in biology classes, allowing teaching of Intelligent Design to be taught in classes. The board, in order to accommodate the teaching of Intelligent Design in biology class, went so far as to redefine the meaning of science to 'no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.'__" Science never was a "search for natural explanations of phenomena", rather the following, from dictionary.com: # 1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. 2. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena. 3. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study. # Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science. # An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing. # Knowledge, especially that gained through experience. Trying to restrict the possibilities to a specific philosophical or metaphysical stance that excludes a priori possible conclusions, without any objective basis, is very anti-scientific. Like restricting a customer-taxable flag to always read "Y". Why would then one need such a flag. Or trying to restrict all computing activity to MS's own solutions. Some of your "idiotic" programmers examples even show such things. One programmer I heard about from a client once had HARD-CODED the EXACT NUMBERS on the report for the totals that the controller had told them he wanted them to match up to! Isaac Newton: Not welcome in science faculties today. Woo hoo. In this computing discussion, it might as well be back to calculators! --Alan

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                        • #27
                          High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                          What is experimental web practice? Should that be experiential web practice? Tom.

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                          • #28
                            High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                            Let's be clear about where this report originated. It came from the high school educators, not from the IT industry. This is not about H1Bs, but about what kids are learning (or not learning) in school about computer science (as opposed to "computer literacy"). The question of whether the jobs will "be there" is a completely separate issue. The demand for skills will still be very high -- either as knowledge workers using packaged software, or in some other fashion. The computer clearly isn't going to go away. The issue is really more about what is being taught, how it is being taught, and why it should be taught in the first place. Should we give up on English reading literacy because there are a bunch of people in India who know how to read English and are willing to do it for us very cheaply? Should we give up on teaching Mathematics because China can produce more calculators per capita than any one can possibly use? Should we give up on any area of higher education simply because technologies are over-taking traditional requirements and forms of training, teaching, and learning? IMHO, computer science should not be an second-rate vocational subject in high school but be taught as a means to an end. What is the end? Rational, procedural, systems-based thinking processes. Give a person a computer and he will browse the Internet today. Teach a person some computer science and he will build you a universe for tomorrow. Just my opinion folks. Thomas M. Stockwell Editor in Chief, MC Press Online

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                            • #29
                              High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                              Give a person a computer and he will browse the Internet today. Teach a person some computer science and he will build you a universe for tomorrow. Beautifully said. In my opinion, the language of the computer, and for all practical purposes that is Java/C# or equivalent, should at this stage of our progression be on par with mastery of Latin and Geometry. There is some practical usefulness, but more importantly there is the teaching of thinking in a logical, structured way. Teaching the lingua franca of virtual universes is not teaching a trade. It is teaching the ability to converse with knowledge itself. rd

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                              • #30
                                High School Computer Science: Does Not Compute?

                                I question the wisdom of promoting advanced level computer science in high school. Kids can focus on college prep, music, and physical education in high school, liberal arts and sciences during their bachelors program, then pick an advanced focus during a masters or doctoral program. A lot of doors are closed to people without masters degrees in an economy dominated by large companies and organizations. Outsourcing, H1B visas, Y2K bungling, the dot.com bust, monopolies, poor employment prospects, the hassles of managing complex and disparate technologies in today's IT environment, and other factors are discouraging people from looking at a career in computer science, which is sad. On the bright side, there's a program at MIT to develop a $100 laptop for students that has captured my attention. Click on the photo gallery at the link below to see a number of design features that set the prototype apart. Low Cost Laptop for Students We're beginning to see robust applications with rich user interfaces, books, and curriculum deployed on servers on the Internet. Enabling students to carry around a rugged low cost device that plugs into wireless network resources made available by the school, might rekindle an interest in computer science, as well as enhance the education experience. Having a thin client alternative to the HEAVY applications and HEAVY workstation requirements of today would be nice. Deploy robust, high-performance Web applications on an iSeries and offer a connection to students, teachers, and administrators. Nathan Andelin

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