Understanding Technology Policy

With an Obama administration coming right on the heels of the New Year, there is a lot of technology policy on the table you should know about. Here are a couple of interesting reads:

Weighing a Broadband Stimulus Plan

A clip: "In today's deep recession, digital age advocates are trying to persuade President-elect Barack Obama to put billions into a nationwide broadband build-out as part of his planned economic stimulus package ... But how do we make sure that the billions aren't spent creating the 21st century equivalent of ditches to nowhere?"

A little background: The United States is embarrassingly behind other tech-savvy nations in broadband adoption. To over-generalize the situation, our internet is slower, more expensive, and less available than many countries in the world. If you are interested, The Internet Technology & Innovation Foundation has a separate article on the issue.

(click picture for a larger view)

Should Computer Science be Part of a K-12 Education?

A clip: "Computing education benefits all students, not just those interested in pursuing computer science or information technology careers," said Bobby Schnabel, chair of ACM's Education Policy Committee (EPC). "But students often do not have many opportunities to engage in rigorous computer science study at the K-12 level," said Schnabel, dean of the Indiana University School of Informatics. "To meet the nation's educational and professional needs in the face of insufficient numbers of undergraduates majoring in computer science, we need to work harder to increase interest at the K-12 level, and to expand the pipeline supplying the necessary workforce for an information-based economy."

A little background: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is recommending that Obama insert Computer Science into basic K-12 Education. The ACM is "the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society." Anyone who does anything related to computing is probably part of this organization (including me). I tend agree with them, as CS encourages abstract thinking and problem-solving skills that are difficult for children to develop at the elementary level. Also, even a cursory knowledge of programming gives enormous power to students later on in their education. Anyways, read the article and decide for yourself. It probably won't be the last you hear of it.

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