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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Uncovering the Science in Computer Science: Challenges for the 21 st Centry

educause 2006

Presenter: Venton Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

Mr. Cerf’s very engaging presentation discussed the current state of technology, network security issues, information management, and the self-service nature of web users and their impact on marketing strategies. He concluded his presentation with a challenge to educational entities.

In this posting I will not be recapping the networking aspects of his presentations (they can be found on the blogs of those that are more network savvy than me), what I will be concentrating on is the implications of the “self-service” trend in consumers of web information, and Mr. Venton’s challenge to educational institutions.

The Self-service Consumer of Web Information

Sites like Amazon, FedEx, virtual visits to homes and museums, image and video sharing sites, and products like Instant Massager, Tivo and GSP navigators have created self-service consumers that have control over what they want for services and then serve themselves. This growing consumer base is changing the face of marketing for products, services and education. We are quickly approaching the point where educational institutions and their associated programs will have invest more of their marketing resources into optimizing their websites and learning materials sot that they are easy to search, discover, and interact with and share.

Education Challenge: Develop strategies for addressing declining enrollment in Computer Science Programs

Children are natural scientists, so what happens in their educational process that inhibits their natural inclination? The speaker believes (and so do I to a greater extent) some of the current teaching methods and the migration of technology based positions in the United States being shipped off-shore has lead to the declining inters in Computer Science Programs.

Mr. Cerf stated that when he was in school much of the science and technology curriculum was modeled around a central theme –“the Sputnik”. The introduction of this theme acted as a catalyst for computer science programs in colleges and universities. And the students in these programs developed many of the technological innovations we enjoy today. He went on to state that what we now need a new challenge to rally around. This challenge should be integrated into the K-12 science and technology curriculum on a national level. The enthusiasm for the skills developed in these settings will encourage students to enter science and technology programs in the higher education setting.

One of the suggested theme possibilities was global warming with a focus on fossil fuel replacement. This focus would require massive number of new computing programs and algorithms to model effects. The results of these efforts would create new career opportunities for program graduates.

What are your thoughts on this challange?

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This entry was posted on October 12, 2006 by in Educause2006.

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