PBS KIDS Resources for Computer Science

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week from December 3-9, we’re inviting teachers and parents to discover PBS KIDS resources that introduce little ones to coding, storytelling, and creative problem-solving. With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite PBS KIDS characters. The storytelling possibilities are endless with this creative coding app for children ages 5-8. Check out the PBS KIDS ScratchJr collection on PBS LearningMedia and splash page on PBS KIDS. You’ll find resources and activities designed for educators to support the use of the app in both formal and informal learning settings.

Colleges Have Increased Women Computer Science Majors: What Can Google Learn?

Harvey Mudd College students Ellen Seidel and Christine Chen work on a summer research project in computer science. Photo: Harvey Mudd College

By Laura Sydell, NPR

A Google engineer who got fired over a controversial memo that criticized the company’s diversity policies said that there might be biological reasons there are fewer women engineers. But top computer science schools have proven that a few cultural changes can increase the number of women in the field. In 2006, only about 10 percent of computer science majors at Harvey Mudd College were women. That’s pretty low since Harvey Mudd is a school for students who are interested in science, math and technology.

Human Face of Big Data

Human Face of Big Data airs on WSKG TV February 24, 2016 at 10pm.  

With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in incredible ways. Every two days the human race is now generating as much data as was generated from the dawn of humanity through the year 2003. The massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges—pollution, world hunger, and illness—but as Edward Snowden and the release of National Security Administration documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price. The Human Face of Big Data captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution.

Code Like a Girl puts more girls in the game

  PBS Newshour Extra

Alexa Cafe and Code Like a Girl teach girls the basics of game design and encourage interest in technology so they can create games and help to diversify the heavily male-dominated gaming industry. Even though many girls love playing video and computer games, the subject matter and design of popular games almost always aim for the interests of a male audience. Part of that lies in who makes the games. Women made up only 11 percent of computer game designers in 2013, and just three percent of programmers. “We’re trying to create that environment to say, hey, you could be the world’s best coder,” said Code Like a Girl instructor Claudia Ortiz.

Write Your Name in Binary Code

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100001

Those ones and zeros might not look like anything to you, but in binary code the numbers are actually saying “Hello!” Science Friday’s Ariel Zych shares how you can write your own name using binary code. Any code that uses just two symbols to represent information is considered binary code. Different versions of binary code have been around for centuries, and have been used in a variety of contexts. For example, Braille uses raised and unraised bumps to convey information to the blind, Morse code uses long and short signals to transmit information, and the example above uses sets of 0s and 1s to represent letters. Perhaps the most common use for binary nowadays is in computers: binary code is the way that most computers and computerized devices ultimately send, receive, and store information.