A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool – NYTimes.com

The presence of technology in the lives of most teenagers hasn’t done much to entice more of them to become programmers. So Hadi Partovi has formed a nonprofit foundation aimed at making computer science as interesting to young people as smartphones, Instagram and iPads.

Mr. Partovi, a successful Seattle-based technology investor and entrepreneur, founded Code.org with the goal of increasing the teaching of computer science in classrooms and sparking more excitement about the subject among students. Mr. Partovi, who is an adviser and investor in Facebook, Dropbox and Airbnb, was inspired to create the Code.org after seeing technology companies struggle to find enough programming talent.

See mare at: A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool – NYTimes.com.

Stanford’s Most Popular Major Is Now Computer Science

If you want to get a good sense of an era’s history and culture, one good place to start is that era’s most popular college majors. Take, for example, the subjects students studied at Stanford University between 1955 and today. In the muscular years of 1955 and 1965, when any liberal arts degree qualified a white male to work in business, History was the school’s most popular major, with Economics and Political Science lurking behind. In 1975, Psychology ruled. Then Reagan won the presidency, finance took over, and by 1985, most students studied Economics. In 1995 — just before the rise of the web — the most popular majors were Biological Sciences and Human Biology. Economics held the third spot. Now? According to three stats buried in a press release from the university’s engineering school, Computer Science is the most popular major at Stanford. More students are enrolled in it than ever before (even more than at the dot-com boom’s height in 2000-2001). And more than 90 % of Stanford undergrads take a computer science course before they graduate. Stanford is Stanford, and its stats aren’t necessarily indicative of academia at large: Countrywide, the most popular major is business. But the school’s computer-heavy numbers reflect its existence, both as a member of what candid college administrators call the Big Four (the other three are Princeton, Harvard and Yale), and as a school nestled close to Silicon Valley’s elite.   See more at … Stanford’s Most Popular Major Is Now Computer Science.

And, for my students who want inspiration …

Schools embrace Baccalaureate to produce ‘fantastic results’

WHEN St Leonard’s College became the first Victorian school to introduce the International Baccalaureate diploma in 1982, just two students enrolled – including the principal’s son. The only other school in Australia to teach the internationally recognised qualification – which requires students to study six subjects, including a second language, write a 4000-word research essay and perform community service – was Narrabundah College in Canberra. Thirty years later, the prestigious diploma is offered at 63 schools, including 16 schools in Victoria, which accounts for about 40 per cent of enrolments nationwide. Victorian schools that offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma. This year, Werribee Secondary School will become the first state school in Victoria to offer the IB diploma, which enables students to go on to study anywhere in the world. Selective-entry state school Melbourne High is also seeking authorisation to implement the program. St Leonard’s College student Kara Robinson, who was one of about 3000 Australian students to receive her results on Friday, was grateful for her school’s pioneering approach. See more at … Schools embrace Baccalaureate to produce ‘fantastic results’.