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Comment It used to be... (Score 1) 306 306

That people were not pushed to University. Now that are being pushed, cajoled and threatened to go in that direction. Not only that, anything that isn't a STEM degree is touted as worthless.

It also used to be that employers trained their employees; be they young apprentices or fresh and clueless out of uni.

It also used to be that people valued education in and of itself (to some degree) and did not treat it as a checkbox system, where everything taught could be forgotten after the box had been checked. Seriously, ask some of these "straight A" planks anything that they should know, as it was in their syllabus, they got an "A" on the test, and then claim they've never heard of it, or that it doesn't matter, they'll just google it.

Now, more than ever, people are treated as mere mindless widgets. Not that that didn't happen before, but it's pretty much the norm today, when in a past era or few it wasn't.

Comment Microsoft or no, it's a complete waste of time (Score 1) 166 166

Why? Not H1B's although that is amusing to consider how it will screw local hopefuls beyond their wildest dreams. But rather, the natural progression is to university CS and related programs. And here's the catch. They demand Calculus + Physics, and only give token (if any) consideration to what you did in CS in grade school. Not even AP and/or IB CS is all that well respected, if it is respected at all.

Until the Universities care, it's all a vast waste of time, effort and money.

Comment Re:Ability to multitask (Score 5, Informative) 109 109

Zheng Wang, Illinois University is but one of a throng of people that have debunked the bollocks that is multi-tasking.

Multitasking is only possible if at least one of the tasks is so well learned that it is almost automatic, like walking or eating but it's epic fail for the most part when we try to both walk and eat). The general case where it appears that we can multitask are when two activities involve different types of brain processing, such as auditory and visual, like driving and listening to the radio although it's pretty bloody obvious that one has to focus far far more on the driving to not be a complete and utter disaster.

At best all we are doing is task switching, and that pretty bloody inefficiently.

Attention span of a gnat is what passes as a "true multi-tasker."

Comment The word important is being used in a flawed sense (Score 2) 39 39

Do page views really reflect importance? I'd conclude that that proposition is bollocks.

Classic case in point. No music video even comes close to Psy's "Gangnam Style" in views. But seriously, is it the most important music video? Hint, the answer is not even close.

I'd even hazard that water is (just probably, slightly) more important than Chocolate, but it wouldn't even register on this measure.

Comment This English Teacher should focus on History (Score 2) 352 352

This has all been tried and failed before. But they'd have known that if they learnt from history. I guess he needs a History "super teacher" session or few.

It's almost as bad as the "everyone can learn [insert insanely difficult subject area here]" with the best teachers and all that of course, and no particular requirement for aptitude or engagement by the student.

As for me, the most I ever expect from a teacher is to be average over time.

Comment Re:just because the dept of ed.... (Score 3, Informative) 528 528

Which of course explains away why a steadily increasing number of incoming college freshman have to take remedial courses. Here's a quote from http://www.highereducation.org... for you.

"he California State University (CSU), a large public university system, for many years has applied placement or readiness standards in reading, writing, and mathematics that are linked to first-year college coursework. All first-time students at all 23 CSU campuses must meet these standards, principally through performance on a common statewide placement examination. Despite systemwide admissions policy that requires a college-preparatory curriculum and a grade point average in high school of B or higher, 68% of the 50,000 entering freshmen at CSU campuses require remediation in English language arts, or math, or both."

Comment Amusing, but potentially a waste of time (Score 1) 180 180

Saying that CS will be considered core doesn't change the simple fact that it won't make the universities care.

If you want to do CS (or EE) at uni then the requirement is top end math (Calculus) and Physics, with it being a bonus if you've also done Chemistry. Until that changes it doesn't matter what else happens, CS is going to continue to be a lame duck option for high school students.

Comment The sick joke is this (Score 1) 113 113

Even if CS for everyone was a laudable goal, all these initiatives are aimed at going off to college, and in case the universe has changed in the last 24 hours people will get a rude shock when they find the universities care less about what you did in CS at K12, especially if you want to CS or CS/EE.

Vast amounts of cash thrown at a solution to a problem that doesn't care. Epic American knowhow baby.

Comment A lot of the posters here have it part right (Score 2) 293 293

However, I reckon the real issue is that CS at university cares less about what you did at high school. They want Calculus/Further Mathematcs and Physics for sure, and having Chemistry is a help. It is rare than a college cares about AP CS other than in a token way. All this has the effect of making CS in high schools a complete and utter waste of time, for the student and for the school, which is why CS in high school will (unless things change) always have a wave of enthusiasm sinking back into a slough of "why did we even care?"

Think of it this way, if you go to university wanting to major in X (be it Art, Music, Languages, Sciences, Mathematics etc, anything but CS), they check that you've done X in high school. CS doesn't want X, they want Y and Z. So, the failing to have a proper CS program in high schools that would properly prepare students for CS (and for that matter Engineering and to a degree the Natural Sciences) is that the universities cannot or will not agree to what constitutes a proper preparation for CS.

What makes it worse is the likes of Google, Microsoft etc plump down money for these "feel good, everyone can/should code" initiatives. The kids, their families etc get all excited and then it hits them like a brick - the universities do not care.

I believe if the universities got their act together, or were presented with a solid CS program that fed into their undergraduate core on much more than a "Whee! We can now write functions!" (which is all AP CS provides) then things would get real and be of actual practical good to all. I know there's the smarts for this in high schools, and I know if universities got over themselves they'd be able to as a team come up with something great.

Comment Gates et al are all... (Score 1) 165 165

Well, let's be polite.

Nothing's going to change until two things happen. Firstly, people value education for its own sake, not as a set of boxes to check on the route to "somewhere," having no other value. Secondly, until the programs taught at high school (CS, Engineering, anything not "core") have both the rigour and the status of pre-requisite courses (for university study or vocation) then the devolution to the "core" will continue as will the decreasing value placed on education. Would that taking a CS/Engineering/Other strand was actually valued and required for entry into matching university programs!

All that exists is the faffing around that is the AP and such as "Project Lead The Way" which butcher the job and are perhaps the biggest barrier rather than being a decent stepping stone. The AP should never have existed except as a stop-gap measure. The state curriculums and program strands (In CS, Engineering, and pretty much anything else) in and of themselves should have had the required rigour, and more, the recognition by universities as valid pre-requisites.

Not that Gates et al have anything like this in mind with their peanuts that they toss at "the problem."

Comment Re:Ads added post-purchase? (Score 1) 169 169

Newspapers (may want to) but don't/can't troll your hard drive and your online presence to "serve" you the "ads you want."

It'd be interesting to see how the EC reacts to Windows doing this privacy invasion thing. Google's already been walked about 1/2 way along the plank for its sins, and you have to note that Microsoft has already ticked the EC off to epic proportions. Mayhaps Google could toss this current Microsoft bollocks to occupy them for a while.

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