New Education Bill


(Surprisingly) Congress passed a new education bill last week. Forget “No Child Left Behind” rolled to in 2001 and embrace “Every Student Succeeds Act“. So what are the changes?

  • Testing will continue, but STATES – not the U.S. government – will now decide how to use the results in evaluating teachers and schools. The new law encourages states to limit the time students spend on testing, and it will diminish the high stakes for underperforming schools.(Associated Press)
  • Computer Science has been included in the definition of well-rounded education subjects. Its inclusion, for example, will allow computer science educators the same level of access to professional development opportunities as teachers in other subject areas such as science and math. (Wall Street Journal)

(see also The Case for Computer Science)

These are the two main points I saw as I scanned multiple news outlets’ headlines – there may be more. You can read the full details here (it’s only 1,068 pages). #HappyReading

Private Photo (Calculator%)

Kids have tricked their parents for decades. From the classic “going to the library” with a friend response to “group outings” that are really double dates – some parents have learned all the tricks and are hip to these games! But it’s a new day. Kids are not just into old-school trickery, they are much more tech-conscious and as a result, you definitely should expect and assume they are using most adults’ lack of tech-expertise to fully dupe them in every way possible. Surely you have noticed the trend: kids join Facebook/Instagram and by the time adults catch up and “join” to keep and eye on them, their pages go blank. There’s no more posting or sharing. Adults are left to “enjoy” the site themselves. Why? By the time you find out, the kids have already moved on to another new, cool tool (i.e. Snapchat, see privacy concerns here). Kids everywhere are definitely posting/sharing on some social media platform – you just aren’t aware of what that is yet. Which means you can’t know what they are doing.

 So let me ask you a question – if you want to check and see if your kids are taking inappropriate photos, where would you check? The photos app that comes with our phone? The trash to see what has been (temporarily) deleted? The sent folder in your child’s email? All very wrong! Kids are not that stupid.

Enter Calcualtor%. It looks like a regular Calcualtor app and even shows a calculator when you open the app up. But, there’s a secret door! (Yes, like the hidden ones we’ve seen the film Indiana Jones). Users can create a secret code that unlocks additional functionality:

Via Mashable, “But if you know the right sequence of digits, you can unlock a hidden feature that gives you access to a photo album. Inside the photo album, you can import photos you’ve already taken using the iPhone’s native photo app, shoot and save photos directly from the Calculator% app and email any photos saved in the app.”

Be sure to check out the video below which shows a 34-year old District Attorney from Alabama exposing this “secret”. There are also other apps that do the same thing (shocker). You can check them out here.

The Confidence Code

ConfidenceCode3DCover-web-readyI live for a non-fiction book recommendation! That’s exactly what I got this morning while planning a Women’s networking event with a co-worker. The book is called The Confidence Code, published in April of 2014 by Claire Shipman, a regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and Katty Kay, anchor for BBC World News America in Washington.

“Confidence. We know it when we see it or think we do. And we want it for ourselves. The authors deconstruct this essential, elusive, and misunderstood quality and offer a blueprint to bring more of it into our lives. Inspiring, insightful, and persuasive, The Confidence Code shows that by acting on our best instincts and by daring to be authentic, women can feel the transformative power of a life on confidence.”

88d7b06c16e8a149a250c64014b1594cI have not read this book (nor have I ever heard of it) but I 100% trust her reading taste! While discussing the book, she noted that she hates non-fiction (which this book is) but was able to easily get through it. That should be good news for those of you who may feel the same way. So watch (the video below) or purchase the book and start reading ~ I am!!


Here are a few more resources: Top 25 Books Corporate America is Reading: January 2015, SunTimes, Book Review on GoodReads, Center for Social Confidence

I Can Be a Computer Engineer

barbieengineerMattel recently released a dual Barbie book titled: I Can Be an Actress/I Can Be a Computer Engineer. Cool! There’s a national focus on Girls and STEM, so this can only be good, right? WRONG! One blogger sums it up this way:

Despite having ruined her own laptop, her sister’s laptop, and the library’s computers, not to mention Steven and Brian’s afternoon, she takes full credit for her game design— only to get extra credit and decide she’s an awesome computer engineer! “I did it all by myself!

The problem is that Barbie didn’t actually do any of the work. Another blogger sums it up with an article titled, “Computer Engineer Barbie Needs Men To Write Code, Can’t Reboot Computer“.

My first job out of college was a Software Engineer. I was the only African-American female of about 300 employees (there were probably 10 black people total and maybe 20 women). Reading a book that has Barbie relying on her male counterparts to implement her ideas and then taking credit for it is pretty offensive. Is she not smart enough? Does she not know how to do these types of things? What message are you sending to little girls? Kinda goes counter to the #Girls and #STEM movement!

So what does the Internet do when companies get it wrong? Kathleen Tuite put together a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie, which allows the public to rewrite the book. You basically take a scene from the book and re-write it with a more acceptable story-line! (And post it to social media of course).

If you still don’t believe the hype, check out the reviews for this book on Amazon.

Made with Code

Google just launched an initiative, Made with Code, to get girls interested in computer programing. The tech giant has set aside $50 million for the program. “Made with Code will organize events where girls will be invited to do programming together and discover that computer programme codes can be used to make and print bracelets using 3D printers, design accessories to superimpose on “selfies” or compose an instrumental piece.” You can become a mentor or find an event near you. The site also offers resources (beginner and intermediate) for future coders, teachers, counselors  and parents.

Everyone (big kids included) can dig in and introduce themselves to techy-type projects if you’re interested!