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Darpa Seeks to Shape Young Minds

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The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched an initiative to increase the number of computer science (CS) graduates by using a variety of online tools and educational strategies to guide interested middle and high school students into CS careers. The computer science, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (CS-STEM) program's goal is to expand the talent pool of applicants available for jobs to support secure Department of Defense networks and to facilitate new computer science developments.

The CS-STEM project focuses on a distributed online community, an online robotics academy, and an extracurricular online community for students. The first section, called Teach Ourselves, was developed by the University of Arizona and is intended to introduce students to the knowledge economy. The second part of the program is Carnegie Mellon University's Fostering Innovation through Robotics Exploration (FIRE) online robotics academy. FIRE enables students to hone their problem-solving skills using robotics technology. The final part of CS-STEM is an extracurricular online community for middle and high school students that will feature collaborative activities, puzzles, games, Webisodes, workshops, and other content aimed at attracting students to the site on a daily basis.

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