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Privacy

The Upsides of a Surveillance Society 93

Posted by timothy
from the you-mean-it's-not-all-upside? dept.
theodp writes Citing the comeuppance of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, who was suspended from her job after her filmed ad-hominem attack on a person McHenry deemed to be beneath her in terms of appearance, education, wealth, class, status went viral, The Atlantic's Megan Garber writes that one silver lining of the omnipresence of cameras it that the possibility of exposure can also encourage us to be a little kinder to each other. "Terrible behavior," Garber writes, "whether cruel or violent or something in between, has a greater possibility than it ever has before of being exposed. Just as Uber tracks ratings for both its drivers and its users, and just as Yelp can be a source of shaming for businesses and customers alike, technology at large has afforded a reciprocity between people who, in a previous era, would have occupied different places on the spectrum of power. Which can, again, be a bad thing — but which can also, in McHenry's case, be an extremely beneficial one. It's good that her behavior has been exposed. It's good that her story going viral might discourage similar behavior from other people. It's good that she has publicly promised 'to learn from this mistake.'"
Education

LAUSD OKs Girls-Only STEM School, Plans Boys-Only English Language Arts School 584

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-a-balanced-education dept.
theodp writes: Citing statistics that showed a whopping 46 more boys than girls passed the AP Computer Science Exam in 2011-12, the 640,000+ student Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on Tuesday approved a waiver to enable the District to operate a single-gender, all-girls STEM School called the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA). Students in GALA will follow a six year sequence of computer courses starting in middle school that will culminate in AP Computer Science Principles. "Fewer females take AP courses in math, science, or computer science, and they are not as successful as males in receiving passing scores of 3, 4 or 5," argued the General Waiver Request (PDF, 700+ pages). "An all girls environment is reasonably necessary for the school to improve the self-confidence of girls in their academic abilities, especially in STEM areas where an achievement gap currently exists. GALA's admissions shall also comply with AB 1266 to ensure male students who identify as female are admitted to the school." The school's CS-related Partners include the UCLA Exploring Computer Science Program, as well as Google-bankrolled Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, and NCWIT. One of the reasons the all-girls STEM school reportedly got the green light is that its backers satisfied federal regulations requiring a "substantially equal school" for excluded male students by submitting a plan for a companion all-boys school that would emphasize English Language Arts, where they often fall short of girls' test scores, rather than GALA's focus on STEM. One suspects the no-fan-of-gender-restricted-public-schools ACLU may call BS on this maneuver.
Education

LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
SternisheFan sends news that Los Angeles Unified School District is asking Apple for a refund of the district's effort to equip students with iPads. The project was budgeted at around $1.3 billion to equip its 650,000 students, though only about 120,000 iPads have been purchased so far. After the program went bad, the FBI launched an investigation into their procurement practices. The iPads weren't standalone education devices — they were supposed to work in conjunction with another device carrying curriculum from a company named Pearson. But the district now says the combined tech didn't meet their needs, and they want their money back. Lawyers for the local Board of Education are looking into litigation options. They've also notified Apple and Pearson they won't pay for any new products or services.
Crime

Can Online Reporting System Help Prevent Sexual Assaults On Campus? 231

Posted by timothy
from the vote-early-and-often dept.
jyosim writes Studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by repeat offenders. A new system is designed to help identify serial assaulters, by letting students anonymously report incidents in order to look for patterns. But some argue that having the ability to report someone with just the click of a button may not be a good thing. Andrew T. Miltenberg, a New York lawyer who represents young men accused of sexual misconduct, says though the system seems well intended, he is concerned about dangers it may pose to students who are accused. 'We're all guilty of pressing send on an angry text or email that, had we had to put it into an actual letter and proofread, we probably wouldn't have sent,' he says.
Education

MIT Celebrates 10 Years of SCIgen Bogus CompSci Paper Generator With New Tool 13

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-it-all-up dept.
alphadogg writes Three MIT grads this week are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their clever SCIgen program, which randomly generates computer science papers realistic enough to get accepted by sketchy technical conferences and publishers, with a brand new tool designed to poke even more fun at such outfits. Just a bit late for April Fool's Day, the new SCIpher program from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab alums enables users to hide messages inside randomly-generated calls for papers from phony conferences whose names are so ridiculous that they sound legit. An MIT spokesman says the new tool is really just a way for geeky friends to mess with each other, whereas SCIgen pointed out major flaws in the worlds of scientific journals and conferences.
Education

Cornell Study: For STEM Tenure Track, Women Twice As Likely To Be Hired As Men 498

Posted by timothy
from the whose-bias-is-called-bias dept.
_Sharp'r_ writes In the first "empirical study of sexism in faculty hiring using actual faculty members", Cornell University researchers found that when using identical qualifications, but changing the sex of the applicant, "women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields." An anonymous reader links to the study itself.
Education

US Dept. of Education Teams With Microsoft-Led Teach.org On Teacher Diversity 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-politically-correct-dept-lines-found dept.
theodp writes: Citing a new study that suggests academic achievement can benefit when children are taught by a teacher of their own race, the NY Times asks, Where Are the Teachers of Color? Towards that end, the Times reports that "Teach.org, a partnership between the Department of Education and several companies, teachers unions and other groups, is specifically targeting racial minorities for recruitment." Teach.org describes itself as a "public-private partnership led by Microsoft, State Farm and the U.S. Department of Education." To the consternation of some, the U.S. Dept. of Education delegated teacher recruitment to Microsoft in 2011. With its 2.2% African American/Black and 3.9% Latino/Hispanic tech workforce, who better to increase diversity than Microsoft, right?
China

Report: Chinese Government Plans To Put 3D Printers In All Elementary Schools 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the class-printer dept.
InfiniteZero writes The Chinese government has a new plan to install a 3D printer in each of its approximately 400,000 elementary schools over the next two years. Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run. The problem though is getting the machines into the schools in the first place. With prices generally ranging from $400 to $3,000 for typical desktop 3D printers, they are not cheap, and with budgets within many school districts running dry, both in the United States and overseas, the unfortunate fact is that many schools simply can’t afford them, not to mention the materials and time it takes to train teachers to use them.
Microsoft

Microsoft Pushes For Public Education Funding While Avoiding State Taxes 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the cognitive-dissonance-provides-shareholder-value dept.
theodp writes: After stressing how important the funding of Washington State education — particularly CS Ed — is to Microsoft, company general counsel Brad Smith encountered one of those awkward interview moments (audio at 28:25). GeekWire Radio: "So, would you ever consider ending that practice [ducking WA taxes by routing software licensing royalties through Nevada-based Microsoft Licensing, GP] in Nevada [to help improve WA education]?" Smith: "I think there are better ways for us to address the state's needs than that kind of step." Back in 2010, Smith, Steve Ballmer, and Microsoft Corporation joined forces to defeat Proposition I-1098, apparently deciding there were better ways to address the state's needs than a progressive income tax.
Crime

Florida Teen Charged With Felony Hacking For Changing Desktop Wallpaper 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the climate-of-fear dept.
colinneagle writes: A 14-year-old middle school student in Holiday, Florida, was arrested this week and charged with "an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access," which is a felony. The student reportedly used an administrator password to log into a teacher's computer and change the background image to a photo of two men kissing.

The student also revealed his secrets after he was caught – the password was the teacher's last name, and the teacher had typed it in in full view of the students. The student said many other students used these administrators' passwords (their teachers' last names) so they can screen-share and video chat with other students. The student was briefly held in a nearby detention center, and the county Sheriff warned that other teenagers caught doing the same thing will "face the same consequences."
Education

German Teenager Gets Job Offer By Trying To Use FOI For His Exam Papers 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-for-an-edge dept.
Bruce66423 writes "A German schoolboy has taken exam preparation to ingenious new levels by making a freedom of information request to see the questions in his forthcoming Abitur tests, the equivalent of A-levels in the UK." and SATS in the USA. The media attention from his FoI request has already garnered him an offer of work from another transparency-related organization, the research website Correctiv. “If I have time before university starts I’ll definitely do it,” he said.
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming? 315

Posted by timothy
from the first-you-must-erase-his-mind dept.
THE_WELL_HUNG_OYSTER writes I'm a professional programmer and have been programming since I was a small boy. I want to introduce this to my 7-year-son but know nothing about teaching this to children. Since he enjoys Roblox and Minecraft very much, and knows how to use computers already, I suspect teaching him to write his own small games would be a good starting point. I'm aware of lists like this one, but it's quite overwhelming. There are so many choices that I am overwhelmed where to start. Anyone in the Slashdot in the community have recent hands-on experience with such tools/systems that he/she would recommend?
Education

Senate Draft of No Child Left Behind Act Draft Makes CS a 'Core' Subject 216

Posted by timothy
from the your-best-interests-at-heart dept.
theodp (442580) writes "If at first you don't succeed, lobby, lobby again. That's a lesson to be learned from Microsoft and Google, who in 2010 launched advocacy coalition Computing in the Core, which aimed "to strengthen K-12 computer science education and ensure that computer science is one of the core academic subjects that prepares students for jobs in our digital society." In 2013, Computing in the Core "merged" with Code.org, a new nonprofit led by the next door neighbor of Microsoft's General Counsel and funded by wealthy tech execs and their companies. When Code.org 'taught President Obama to code' in a widely-publicized White House event last December, visitor records indicate that Google, Microsoft, and Code.org execs had a sitdown immediately afterwards with the head of the NSF, and a Microsoft lobbyist in attendance returned to the White House the next day with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and General Counsel Brad Smith (who also sits on Code.org's Board) in tow. Looks like all of that hard work may finally pay off. Education Week reports that computer science has been quietly added to the list of disciplines defined as 'core academic subjects' in the Senate draft of the rewritten No Child Left Behind Act, a status that opens the doors to a number of funding opportunities. After expressing concern that his teenage daughters hadn't taken to coding the way he'd like, President Obama added, "I think they got started a little bit late. Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors." So, don't be too surprised if your little ones are soon focusing on the four R's — reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic, and Rapunzel — in school!"
Education

The Cyberlearning Technologies Transforming Education 19

Posted by Soulskill
from the learning-to-learn-gooder dept.
aarondubrow writes: The National Science Foundation funds basic cyberlearning research and since 2011 has awarded roughly 170 grants, totaling more than $120 million, to EdTech research projects around the country. However, NSF's approach to cyber-learning has been different from other public, private and philanthropic efforts. NSF funds compelling ideas, helps rigorously test them and then assists in transitioning the best ideas from research to practice. This article describes several examples of leading cyberlearning projects, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality, that are transforming education.
Television

Why CSI: Cyber Matters 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-computer-is-broadcasting-an-IP-address dept.
New submitter hypercard writes: CSI: Cyber has been the butt of many jokes in the infosec community since its inception. But in addition to facilitating lots of cyber bingo events and live tweets to call out technical errors, the show has real value in bringing awareness about infosec issues to the masses. Members of the Army Cyber Institute at West Point discuss the upside of CSI: Cyber in an article in the Cyber Defense Review. "Children all over the country have been inspired to be law enforcement agents by shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Bones, and CSI." One of CSI: Cyber's cast members, Shad Moss, has more followers than the entire top one thousand information security professionals on Twitter.
Education

Prosecutors Get an 'A' On Convictions of Atlanta Ed-Reform-Gone-Bad Test Cheats 201

Posted by timothy
from the cheating-in-schools-geogia-edition dept.
theodp writes Just weeks after an L.A. Times op-ed called on public schools to emulate high-tech companies by paying high salaries to driven, talented employees whose productivity more than compensates for their high pay, the New York Times reported on the dramatic conclusion to perhaps the largest cheating scandal in the nation's history, which saw a Judge order handcuffed Atlanta educators led off to jail immediately for their roles in a standardized test cheating scandal that raised broader questions about the role of high-stakes testing in American schools. Jurors convicted 11 of the 12 defendants — a mix of Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators — of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sowed suspicion about the veracity of the test scores in 2009, and while investigators found that cheating was particularly ingrained in individual schools, they also said that the district's top officials, including Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, bore some responsibility for creating "a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation" that had permitted "cheating — at all levels — to go unchecked for years." (More below.)
Education

Slashdot Asks: What Will You (Or Your Kids) Learn This Summer? 81

Posted by timothy
from the shameless-plugs-are-welcome dept.
For those in the northern hemisphere, summer is rapidly approaching, especially for those with kids. Camps, educational programs, and other activities are enrolling now, in advance of the long summer vacation. (Particularly long for Americans!) Aside from conventional sleepaway options for kids, there are science and technology courses, space camps, survival adventures, and more. Whatever your age, and whether on your own or as part of a formal group, do you have any specific learning activities planned for the summer, whether as participant or parent? Are there summer education opportunities you'd like to recommend to others, or ones you'd rate as not worth the price? (Naming details helps, in this context -- which space camp? How much does it cost?)
The Media

Ask Slashdot: Options Beyond YouTube For An Indie Web Show? 60

Posted by timothy
from the pirate-tv-from-your-house dept.
New submitter Deltree Zero writes: I have an indie TV-style education/entertainment show which focuses on medicinal cannabis growing and use in Maine, product reviews, guests, etc. I have been creating the show at home using a very passable camera, editing with Lightworks, and have been distributing it via YouTube. I am five monthly episodes in, and besides needing a small upgrade in the microphone department, production has settled in to a workable quality level that I can be proud of. I am not looking to collect money at any time during distribution. The show is getting quite popular and I was wondering if any Slashdot readers had any advice on how to distribute my show other ways than YouTube. I see Roku is an outlet like this but my show must first pass through some sort of content filter and I am still waiting to hear if medicinal cannabis is on the "no-no list." There are other indie TV-style channels I have heard of, Revision 3, for example. What other indie channels exist that might deliver my show at low or no cost? What other methods of digital distribution make sense for an upcoming web show looking to free itself from YouTube as its only distribution point?
Education

Stanford Turns To Pair Programming: 1 CS Education For the Price of 2? 121

Posted by timothy
from the jury-of-your-peers dept.
theodp writes: Stanford students may pay $44,184 in tuition, but that may not even entitle them to individually graded homework. The Stanford Daily reports that this quarter, Stanford's Computer Science Department will implement 'pair programming' in the introductory computer science courses CS 106A: Programming Methodology and CS 106B: Programming Abstractions. "The purpose of this change," reports the paper, "is to reduce the increasingly demanding workload for section leaders due to high enrollment and also help students to develop important collaboration skills." The CS 106A Pair Programming Q&A page further explains, "Our enrollments have grown rapidly, and we are trying to explore creative new ways to manage student work that will also reduce the heavy workload on our section leaders," adding that students who don't get with the Pair Programming program and elect to go solo will not be awarded "late days" that can be used to avoid penalties on overdue assignments, unlike their paired classmates. Google in November put out an RFP to universities for its invite-only 3X in 3 Years: CS Capacity Award program, which aimed "to support faculty in finding innovative ways to address the capacity problem in their CS courses," which included a suggestion that "students that have some CS background" should not be allowed to attend in-person intro CS courses. Coincidentally, Google Director of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson, whose name appeared on the CS Capacity RFP, was Director of Undergraduate Studies in Stanford's CS Department before joining Google.
Wikipedia

If You Thought Studying History Was Bad, This Math Professor Is Making It Harder 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-reference-books-become-religion dept.
Raven writes: New research out of Streeling University aims to make planning for the future much easier. The work, led by professor Seldon, tries to set probabilistic values on future events, and then weigh those probabilities against each other to figure out what combination of events is most likely to happen. Describing it under the unlikely moniker "psychohistory," Seldon seems to think planning even 10,000 years into the future might be possible. (Seldon also seems to be a bit of a doomsayer, so this is likely exaggerated.) Nevertheless, it'll be another tool for government planners to consider when developing new colonies.