Google to HBCU for the win!

THIS is how you change the game… go straight to the source. #STEM #HBCU #ComputerScience #BlackSoftwareEngineer <== šŸ™‹šŸ½šŸ™‹šŸ½šŸ™‹šŸ½

Read more about Google and Howard’s partnershipĀ here. Here’s to hoping this business-to-hbcu trend continues and my Alma Mater is next in line…. šŸ¤”


Amazon and GE

urlI love it when two companies I love parter together to create innovative products! I actually think there is notĀ enough collaborations from major brands and we will see MUCH MORE of this in the future.Ā Amazon’s Alexa, think digital personal assistant, has been a hit for some time. So much so that you can barely get your hands on it. But instead of a black box to house the Siri-like technology, Amazon has partnered with General Electric to put Alexa in a lighting unit. šŸ™‹šŸ½ #fan

It includes always-on microphones listening for commands and questions, and when it hears one, itā€™ll react or speak out a response through its built-in speakers. The Verge

amazon-logoBut that’s not all. Amazon is inserting Alexa into everything: speakers, TV’s, lamps, cars, robots, you name it! Google and Amazon are both competing in this space. Who will win? I honestly don’t care! It’s a great example of innovation and competition is good for consumers! Check out the GE lamp powered by Alexa below. It’s supposed to be available in the 2nd quarter of this year. #engineering #computerscience #technology #manufacturing #stem



New Education Bill


(Surprisingly) Congress passed a new education bill last week. Forget “No Child Left Behind” rolled to in 2001Ā 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.Ā 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 detailsĀ here (it’s only 1,068 pages). #HappyReading

The Case for Computer Science

IMG_4199-0This morning Martin Armstrong releasedĀ a post titled, “Most Schools Do Not Teach Computer Science.” After hearing a few years ago that some schools don’t even offer Physical Education (PE) any more – better known as play time to kids – I’m not surprised one bit! Do you know what Computer Science is and the benefits? Many people may not know or others may think fixing personal computers is all the field has to offer. Not so my friends! So let’s explore the field a little more, Bri Alys style! (Two of my three degrees,Ā BachelorsĀ TuskegeeĀ and Masters RIT, are in Computer Science so I like to think I have a bit of expertise in this area. I’ve also taught college courses in this space.)

What is Computer Science ? As you can see in the video above, the key theme is PROBLEM SOLVING, followed by the USE OF COMPUTERS (or other technologies) to solve those problems. They both go hand in hand. The field is all about logic, reasoning, rational thinking and creating aĀ solution.

Putting this back in the context of schools, Martin argues, “computer science is probably the most essential qualification next to reading. You can even get a pocket calculator to do your math, and you can have phones read your text messages, but the one skill set that children cannot do without is computer science.”Ā Studying Computer Science trains your brain. It trains you how to think. It trains you to focus on the solution rather than the problem. It trains you to break complex problems down into smaller components and come up with a solution. It teaches you how to think critically. TheseĀ traitsĀ are not just valid for a computer, they areĀ valuable in real life!

The article Martin references in his post points out three problems with kids not studying Computer Science:

  1. First, employers are clamoring for qualified people to fill tech-related jobs.
  2. Second, the lack of computer science in earlier grades also makes it more difficult to attract students into computer science majors in college.
  3. Finally, and perhaps most important, basic education in computer science makes sense for all studentsā€”even kids whoā€™ll never earn a living writing software code.

We’ve all read the recent reports about the lack of diversity in the tech field – I’ve written about my own experiences before. Some companies like Intel are upping its referral bonusesĀ to attract diverse tech talent. Couple that with Forbes recentlyĀ reportingĀ The College Majors With The Highest Starting Salaries. In at #1? Computer Science.


Makes me want to teach again! But for you, it’s never to late to learn. Checkout free online courses from Stanford and edX. Yes, you! Or if you have a kid, get them started early with a Kids Coding magazine.