Tag: ott

Tech Seeking Teachers Who Want to Bring Computer Science into their Classrooms

CS4All group photoMichigan Technological University is inviting K-12 teachers and administrators to a workshop in August, to help them find ways to bring computer science and programming into their classrooms. The workshop, supported through a Google CS4HS (Computer Science for High Schools) grant, exposes teachers to exciting new ways to bring computer science into schools.

This is the third year Google has supported a computer science workshop at Michigan Tech for teachers.

“As computer technology becomes an ever more powerful and pervasive factor in our world, students need instruction in the creative problem-solving skills that are the basis of computer science,” explains Linda Ott, professor of computer science at Michigan Tech and director of the workshop. “Software design and programming skills, along with an understanding of the principles of computer systems and applications, are tremendously valuable in a wide range of future careers, and the problem-solving process of computational thinking can be used to enrich a wide range of K-12 courses. New tools and teaching materials make it possible to bring the creative spirit of computing into K-12 classrooms.”

“From a teacher’s perspective, however, bringing computer science into the classroom can seem intimidating,” Ott goes on to say. “We want to help teachers develop confidence in their own computer science literacy and help them craft a computing curriculum that meets their teaching missions.”

The workshop will cover a basic understanding of computer science principles, help teachers integrate programming into new and existing courses, disseminate K-12 computer programing course materials developed at Michigan Tech and provide tools for increasing interest in computing among young women.

Participants will receive lunches, a stipend to help with travel and other expenses and a year of assistance in course development from a Michigan Tech computer science graduate student. Out-of-town teachers will receive free accommodation at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn.

Visit the article in Tech Today http://www.mtu.edu/ttoday/ by J. Donovan for a link on how to apply.


Creating Opportunities for Women in Computing

For Linda Ott, debugging a program is like solving a mystery. “We don’t tell girls about computing when they’re young, so they don’t see how fun computing can be,” Ott explains. “They hear about biology and chemistry, but computing seems abstract.” And very few middle and high schools have computing courses or instructors. “Girls don’t see role models,” she adds.

Computer science is no longer lone individuals sitting in a dark room on a computer. It’s vibrant, team-based, and a lot more fun.

Ott studied computer science at Purdue University in the 1970s—a time when there were few other female computing scholars. At Michigan Tech, she is
devoted to giving more women the opportunity to discover computing.

Ott observes that when girls do have the chance to program—to create something out of nothing—they often really enjoy the experience. “It’s problem solving. They get to express ideas by writing code.”

With a grant from the Jackson National Life Insurance Company, in 2014 Ott helped restart the Women in Computer Science Summer Program. She is integral in the fundraising, curriculum, instruction, and coordination of the weeklong program that offers 36 girls from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania the chance to discover computer science.

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Through the National Center for Women and Information Technology Pacesetters, Ott works with a cohort of academic and industry professionals who are committed to dedicating resources, brainstorming, and marketing to recruit more women into the computing fields. “There’s a spectrum of possibilities for women in computing—they may work in the user experience end or be involved as a project manager,” Ott says.

Through her work with students, Ott observes that typical computer science job descriptions are obsolete and career assessments can be misguiding. “Women might not enter this field because an assessment directs them to other areas. What they don’t realize is the wide array of skills useful in this field.” She has convinced NCWIT to take a look at this problem—and to reevaluate career assessments, too.

“Computer science is no longer lone individuals sitting in a dark room on a computer. It’s vibrant, team-based, and a lot more fun.”


Teachers plan to educate computer sciences to all ages

Tech+WorkshopHOUGHTON Teachers are spreading knowledge of computer science into their classrooms. More than 30 teachers are on Michigan Tech’s campus to learn how.

A three day workshop is taking place for teachers from all grade levels across the state and surrounding areas. They’re learning the basic understanding of computer science. Including programming and coding. Teachers are also being taught how to increase interest in computer science among girls.

“More women are becoming involved because they’re required to take computer science and they discover that they enjoy programming,” said workshop instructor, Linda Ott.

“When they’re not required to take it they often shy away from it and they don’t realize that they might be interested.”

Read more at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Aleah Hordges.


Linda Ott blogs on STEM

linda-garden-small

Linda Ott, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Special Initiatives in the College of Sciences and Arts, was welcomed as a guest blogger on STEMconnector.org.

STEMconnector.org seeks to bring science, technology, engineering, and math educators a way to connect their ideas to improve STEM education. In The Thrill of Computer Science For All, Ott details her excitement around President Obama’s initiative to expand K-12 computer science education funding.

“We can make a difference more quickly through a concerted effort to attract more students today.  Here are some of the things we are doing at Michigan Tech.  Perhaps others will find inspiration here for immediate action:

If all of us involved in computing do something—help advise a local FIRST Robotics team, teach a Saturday class on programming at a local library, talk to a local Girl Scout troop, invite area students and parents to see how you actually use programming—there will be an immediate impact.”


Pacesetters and Michigan Tech

Linda Ott Pacesetters
Interview with Linda Ott

University selected for program targeted at women in computer science

HOUGHTON — A national organization is committed to inspiring young women to enter the field of Computer Science and Michigan Tech is taking part in the effort.

Michigan Tech Professor Computer Science Dr. Linda Ott said, “We’re faced with a situation that most students haven’t had the opportunity to learn anything about computer science. They may have used computing but they haven’t been part of creating new software, creating computing tools and things like that.”

Read more and watch the video at ABC 10 UP News, by Rick Allen.

Three Michigan Universities Receive Pacesetters Awards to Attract More Women to Computer Science

Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have been selected for the National Center of Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Pacesetters program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Google and Qualcomm. Pacesetters is a 2-year program under which participating institutions develop aggressive and measurable goals for increasing the number of women in the US computing and technology workforce.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Jennifer Donovan.


Ott Quoted in GoodCall

Linda Ott
Linda Ott

Professor Linda Ott (CS) is quoted extensively in an article on GoodCall, a website on education and consumer news, in an article on what factors predict success in a career in computer science.

From Tech Today.

Recent Survey Predicts Whether You Would Do Well in Computer Science

“A high percentage of the high school women who apply to our Women in Computer Science summer workshop are involved in music, and many are very accomplished musicians.” Ott says that campus musical groups will frequently have a disproportionately high number of computing majors as compared to other majors.

“I have heard numerous stories from young women who were surprised to discover how much they enjoyed coding.” Ott says that sometimes this occurred in a required computing course, but since most K-12 students are not required to take a computer science course, it usually occurs in an informal educational setting, such as a summer math or science camp, or an after school program.

Read more at GoodCall, by Terri Williams.