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Teachers Get 1 Week To Test Tech Giants' Hour of Code 81

theodp writes "In a move straight out of Healthcare.gov's playbook, teachers won't get to preview the final lessons they're being asked to roll out to 10 million U.S. students until a week before the Dec. 9th launch of the Hour of Code nation-wide learn-to-code initiative, according to a video explaining the project, which is backed by the nation's tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon. The Hour of Code tutorial page showcased to the press sports Lorem Ipsum pseudo-Latin text instead of real content, promised tutorial software is still being developed by Microsoft and Google, and celebrity tutorials by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are still a work-in-progress. With their vast resources and deep pockets, the companies involved can still probably pull something off, but why risk disaster for such a high-stakes effort with a last-minute rush? One possible explanation is that CS Education Week, a heretofore little-recognized event, is coming up soon. Then again, tech immigration reform is back on the front burner, an initiative that's also near-and-dear to many of same players behind Hour of Code, including Microsoft Chief Counsel Brad Smith who, during the Hour of Code kickoff press conference, boasted that Microsoft's more-high-tech-visas-for-U.S.-kids-computer-science-education deal found its way into the Senate Immigration Bill, but minutes later joined his fellow FWD.us panelists to dismiss a questioner's suggestion that Hour of Code might somehow be part of a larger self-serving tech industry interest."
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Teachers Get 1 Week To Test Tech Giants' Hour of Code

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  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday October 20, 2013 @03:34AM (#45179357) Journal
    If you thought your kids were getting a proper education in public school you might want to think again. My rule is that I teach my kids math, science and art - and then I send them to public school not to learn stuff, but to learn what is taught there so they can understand where their peers are coming from. My youngest: "people are stupid." Yes dear, but you have to deal with them anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 20, 2013 @04:38AM (#45179471)

    Assuming the material is actually available, one week is more than enough for preparation. Most teachers do not have time for the kind of preparation you probably think they ought to do. I worked as a teacher for 5 years. Generally speaking, If I had a 1 hour class, I spent 1-3 hours on preparation. This was a fair bit more than most other teachers at the school who had more responsibilities than I did. Usually I tried to have my lessons prepared a week in advance, but more often than not, they were prepared 1-2 days in advance. No matter how much lead time you give the teachers, I guarantee that virtually nobody will look at it until a few days before. There just isn't enough time to do so.

    BTW, if you think this is ridiculous, you could probably vote to raise your taxes, have more money sent to the schools and insist that it is spent on hiring more teachers rather than on toys like iPads for every student. There is barely a subject in school that wouldn't benefit from ripping out all the technology in a classroom and replacing it with a blackboard and another teacher.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @05:46AM (#45179569) Homepage Journal

    I invite you to get out into the countryside, and to learn about those local schools.

    I'm a transplant to Arkansas. I attended a relatively wealthy school district in Pennsylvania. My wife grew up here. She attended a high school where the graduating class ranged from ten to thirty students over a one hundred year history. That little school excelled. I mean, it seriously excelled. Students routinely placed very high in all college tests, military tests, you name it.

    Soon after our kids started school in that same school, governor Bill Clinton made it his business to start consolidating smaller schools with larger schools. Our kids attended k-6 in the old school building, but the high school kids were being bussed to another school, in another county. Today - the old small school system is completely gone - everyone is bussed somewhere.

    And - all of the schools involved have attained a roughly equal level of mediocrity.

    Excellence in education doesn't depend on large sums of money. Really, it doesn't. The fact is, schools that have a lot of money today, tend to spend that money on sports, rather than education.

    http://espn.go.com/dallas/story/_/id/8323104/allen-texas-high-school-ready-unveils-60m-football-facility [go.com]

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn