Every year, in recognition of the Dec. 9 birthday of computing pioneer and Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, ACM and the CS community hosts Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) to raise awareness about CS education and computing careers.
Last year, CSEdWeek featured more than 300 events and projects engaging students, parents, and teachers. This year, we are highlighting 10 CSEdWeek activities that we think you will truly enjoy, namely:
• You Direct It!
An opportunity to create your own TV commercial. Students from K-12 are being invited to highlight how CS has changed the world and then to upload their commercial to YouTube. The Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science, for example, created “The Adventures of CS Man” who single-handedly defeats Virus Man.
• Grace Hopper Birthday Celebration
Come help celebrate Admiral Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday at Rochester Institute of Technology with a slice of birthday cake and a viewing of a rare TV clip of her being interviewed on the David Letterman Show shortly after her retirement in 1986.
• Which Computer Scientist are You?
Chances are you look nothing like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but students are being asked to celebrate CSEdWeek by changing their Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social media profile photos to the computer scientist they identify with most.
• A CS Magic Card Trick That Reads Minds
The Computer Science Unplugged series cleverly teaches students about how computers work without using computers. For starters, here’s a simple card trick that “magically” reads minds, demonstrating how a computer detects errors using parity checking and corrects them.
• CodeNow–Teaching Under-Represented Youth to Code
A program designed to empower youth, especially those from under-represented communities, to be hackers and look under the hood of technology. CodeNow’s nonprofit and community partners will teach high-school students in the Washington, D.C. area the basics of computer programming in these free classes.
• ACM Computing Careers Web Site
An online resource that can help students decide how to develop the skills they need to be successful in a computing career, including a list of the “Top 10 Reasons To Major In Computing” and an “ACM Career Resources” page that can assist in job searches.
• Field Trip to Google Boston
Women In Science Club members from UMass Boston will visit Google’s Cambridge office which is known for its playful office design and is ranked in this year’s Top Places To Work. The search-engine giant is expected to demonstrate to students how CS and IT jobs are enjoyable career choices.
• Computer Science Showcase
A veritable plethora of CS activities will be shoehorned into Emmaus (PA) High School where students in grades 6-12 will showcase projects they have created and parents in the community will share information about their CS careers. Meanwhile, alums will show YouTube videos of what they are doing now and how a CS background has helped them. The Robotics Club will also demonstrate programmable robots.
• A Cartoon Guide
Especially for CSEdWeek comes the official launch of Computational Thinking Illustrated, a cartoon guide to solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior. Cartoonists Ben Chun and Tim Piotrowski are making them free for downloading … and recommending CS4FN, an online magazine about the fun side of CS “where the digital world meets the real world.”
• Cool Computing At Georgia Tech
A one-day event for high school students to showcase all of the “cool things” taking place in computing … and to help see themselves as part of the future cool computing projects and applications. Focus will be on general computing concepts, robotics, and phone app development.
Since CSEdWeek events will be taking place nationwide, check out the 2011 events map for local information.
Paul Hyman was editor-in-chief of several hi-tech publications at CMP Media, including Electronic Buyers’ News.
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