Presentation on theme: "Teaching High School Computer Science…. … as if the Rest of the World Existed."— Presentation transcript:
Teaching High School Computer Science…
… as if the Rest of the World Existed
Computer Science is widely confused with Computer Literacy or CTE vocational courses (the use of computers), when it should be thought of as a sister ACADEMIC field to Mathematics. Problems Implementing Effective Computer Science Courses at the High School Level There are no accepted or recognized national or state standards. There is little research on which to judge the effectiveness of pedagogical strategies. The field struggles with a large gender gap and low enrollments of under-represented minority students (URMs). There is a lower level of high school STUDENT INTEREST in and/or ACCESS to Computer Science – by an order of magnitude – as compared to Calculus, Statistics or Biology, as measured by those taking the AP Exam. There is no credible certification process, nor credential training programs, for Computer Science instructors. HS CS curricula are all over the map.
Even if we had a standards-based curricula, there exist no standardized assessment mechanisms to determine whether we would be successfully teaching the material to our students. (putting aside the question of whether a pen-and-pencil examination without a computer-based programming portion meaningfully assesses whether students can solve real problems in new contexts)
Typical High School Standards: Math vs. CS ACM Model Level II Curricular Standards Standard 6: The connection between elements of mathematics and computer science, including binary numbers, logic, sets, and functions. Algebra I 9.0. Students solve a system of two linear equations in two variables algebraically and are able to interpret the answer graphically. Students are able to solve a system of two linear inequalities in two variables and to sketch the solution sets. 19. Students know the quadratic formula and are familiar with its proof by completing the square. ACM Model Level III Curricular Standards Topic 1: Program Design and Problem Solving. 14. Iteration. The math standards are specific concepts and skills detailing how students will demonstrate mastery. The CS standards are general topics. What ARE the specific connections? Iteration in what context? Iteration to do which tasks? Iteration to solve what kinds of problems? For what tasks are you using binary numbers, sets, etc.?
How do you create High School Standards? In CS, we use control structures for many specific purposes. For each year, determine (1) what specific concepts and skills we want students to know, and (2) what kinds of problems should they be able to solve using those concepts and skills? When we determine exactly what we want our students to know, then we can devise assessments that will measure whether students have learned those standards. There is general agreement that we want at least a two-year sequence for programming. What might a specific CS Standard look like? Iteration through a list (array / arraylist): Students know how to write a loop that uses iteration to: (1) FIND a specific value in a list. (2) REMOVE all items in an arraylist that have a specific value. (3) CALCULATE an AGGREGATE VALUE for items in a list.
AP EXAM – 2010N Physics C E&M14,191 Government & Politics Comparative16,864 Music Theory17,267 Computer Science A20,120 Art History21,643 Physics C Mechanics31,973 Economics - Micro51,601 Physics B67,312 Human Geography68,397 Calculus BC78,998 Economics – Macro83,146 Environmental Science86,650 European History102,629 Chemistry115,077 Statistics129,899 World History167,789 Biology172,512 Psychology177,708 Government & Politics United States211,681 Calculus AB245,867 English Literature353,781 English Language374,620 United States History387,416 Number of US Students taking AP Exams (by Subject) 12x fewer students took the CS exam than took Calculus AB.
At our schools, CS teachers are often the only people who know – or care – about computer science education. The upside, however, is that this also gives CS instructors a great deal of freedom in what and how they teach. HOWEVER… Other teachers (and administrators) are not only ignorant of the possibilities of potential application of CS to their subject matter, they are oftentimes indifferent. This can be a lonely state of affairs.
With GREAT POWER comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY... Spider Man - With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.flv
Broadening the Scope of CS in Course Content A research study 1 of differences between men and women CS students at CMU found: 1. Caring About Connections: Gender and Computing (1997). Jane Margolis, Allan Fisher and Faye Miller. Curriculum helps set the tone and, unfortunately, most computer science programs in their early years are narrowly focused on programming and the more technical aspects of the field, with applications and multidisciplinary projects deferred to the very end. This gives beginning students the false message that computer science is "only programming, programming, programming," abstracted away from real world contexts. Feminist educator Sue Rosser , from her investigation of gender and science education, argues that "insuring science and technology are considered in their social context…may be the most important change that can be made in science teaching for all people, both male and female" (p.72.) Computer science professor Dianne Martin , in her article In Search of Gender Free Paradigms for Computer Science Education, discusses "a premise for the gender bias in computer science: the existing educational paradigm that separates studies of science, math, and computer science from studies of the humanities, starting in the secondary schools." She speculates that an integrated approach to computer science would attract more women students, and that "greater attention [should be paid] to values, human issues, and social impact as well as to the mathematical and theoretical foundations of computer science."
1. The pervasiveness of computer games in recent decades, as well as instructors' embrace of gaming as a central curricular theme for attracting young people, reinforces a badly skewed perception of CS as both (a) an arena of hyper- competition and (b) a field having limited application to areas outside of CS itself. If an academic field can be said to exist within a context, then: The context of CS is popularly believed to include a very narrow slice of human knowledge and activities. 2. Consider that, at the undergraduate level, women are either overrepresented or have high representation in the fields of Environmental Science (a subfield of the geosciences), the Life Sciences, Psychology, the Social Sciences, Education and the Arts. Were CS curricula to add content whose contexts included, but were not limited to, these subjects, it would more fairly represent the influence and scope of CS in matters of potential interest to a broader swath of students. Hypothesis #1: Interdisciplinary CS curricula that emphasize connections with academic subjects where the representation of women is more balanced might increase enrollment numbers of women (and URMs) in CS courses.
Parity Line: 50% CPST, 2008 Secondary source: Jan Cuny, NSF Women are overrepresented or have high representation in the Life Sciences, Psychology and the Social Sciences. (Environmental Science not shown)
AP EXAM MaleFemale% F Computer Science A16,2933, % Physics C E&M10,9333, % Physics C Mechanics23,6098, % Physics B43,74723, % Calculus BC46,97632, % Music Theory9,8897, % Economics - Micro29,47222, % Economics - Macro45,70937, % Chemistry61,31753, % Calculus AB126,849119, % Government & Politics Comparative8,6848, % Statistics64,38565, % Government & Politics United States100,464111, % European History48,57254, % United States History179,313208, % Human Geography31,22537, % World History76,10991, % Environmental Science38,63548, % Biology72,79399, % English Language141,409233, % English Literature130,311223, % Psychology64,997112, % Art History7,10714, % 2010 AP-Exam Gender Balance Data by Subject
If Prof. Dianne Martin were correct, namely that separating the curriculum into discrete academic subjects - with a major demarcation between the STEM fields and the humanities – contributes to gender inequities, then one would expect gender disparities to show up in all STEM areas across the board. From the 2010 AP Exam data shown below, this is not the case. AP EXAM (2010)N% Female Biology172, % Calculus AB245, % Calculus BC78, % Chemistry115, % Computer Science A20, % Economics – Macro83, % Economics – Micro51, % Environmental Science86, % Physics B67, % Physics C E&M14, % Physics C Mechanics31, % Psychology177, % Statistics129, %
However, the 2010 AP Exam data for the STEM fields do show a positive correlation between the NUMBER of students who take a particular subject exam and the participation of female students in that high school course. AP EXAM (2010)N% Female Physics C E&M % Computer Science A % Physics C Mechanics % Economics – Micro % Physics B % Calculus BC % Economics – Macro % Environmental Science % Chemistry % Statistics % Biology % Psychology % Calculus AB %
So one question that arises is: What are those subject areas doing that CS is NOT doing? … or …. What is CS doing that is TURNING OFF STUDENTS ? But the data also suggest a different strategy for addressing gender and ethnic inequities: If we increase the participation of ALL students in Computer Science, will that by itself bring about an increase in the percentages of females (and URMs)? In deciding whether to pursue this line of attack, it may be instructive to look at the narrowing/elimination of the gender gap in mathematics and try to understand why that area has experienced an improvement in gender equity.
Women and Math, the Gender Gap Bridged Social equality frees women to match men Based on the Research of Luigi Guiso, Ferdinando Monte, Paola Sapienza And Luigi ZingalesPaola Sapienza June 2008, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University Regardless of which measure of gender equality they used, Sapienza and her colleagues found that improved social conditions for women were related to improved math performance by girls. For example, the math gender gap almost disappeared in Sweden (GGI = 0.81), while girls scored nearly 23 points below boys in math in Turkey (GGI = 0.59). Not only did average girls’ scores improve as equality improved, but the number of girls reaching the highest levels of performance also increased. In Iceland, for example, there were 117 girls for every 100 boys among the top 1 percent of math students. “We establish that in some countries the gender gap in math disappears. But there’s a big tension. Is it emancipation of women, or is it something else?” said Sapienza. “One possible explanation is wealth.”
To learn whether the math gender gap shrank as a result of girls in richer countries performing better than those in poorer countries, the researchers incorporated each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) into their mathematical model. Regardless of national differences in per capita GDP, the relationship between gender equality and the math gap remained. Improved roles for women in society, not simply economic development, predicted more gender-equal achievement in math. For example, Sapienza pointed out, “In some countries like Philippines or Sri Lanka, which aren’t particularly wealthy, women are fairly emancipated. On the contrary, some wealthy countries, like Italy, are among the less gender equal societies.” Though these findings are fascinating and extremely important, they raise as many questions as they answer. It is not yet clear how important education is compared with other social features. “The big, important question is, ‘What’s the mechanism?’ ” said Sapienza. “What are these northern European countries doing so that there is no gap? Is it happening through role modeling? The kinds of jobs women get? Is it more acceptable for a woman to be a physicist in Sweden than in other countries? We simply do not know.”
On a country-by-country basis, there is a positive correlation between the narrowing of the gender gap in mathematics achievement with higher levels of gender equity in society as a whole. (Sapienza et al.) Summary of CS at the High School Level CS has one of the lowest enrollments of the STEM fields. (College Board data) In the STEM areas, there is a positive correlation between absolute numbers / enrollments of all students and gender equity. (College Board data) CS curricula are widely taught without significant connections to other academic disciplines, and abstracted away from real world contexts. (Margolis et al.) A gender gap no longer exists in many STEM subjects. (College Board data) The most important areas of real world application of CS are widely believed to be limited to gaming, the Internet, social networking, and hand-held devices. That is: The popular perception is that the SCOPE of CS is NARROW.
Inferences The fact that girls participate in equal or better numbers in several STEM subjects indicates that the social conditions already exist in the U.S. for girls to participate and succeed in Computer Science on a par with boys. Increasing the absolute numbers of all students in CS may have a positive effect on gender equity. Low enrollments may be due to a problem in PR. Low overall enrollment numbers may mean that all students – not just girls and URMs – see little value to CS in the real world. REVISED HYPOTHESIS: Suppose we were to provide MEANINGFUL CONTEXTS in CS curricula connecting Computer Science to other academic subject areas, and human interests and activities. If we devise curricula that connect CS to a FULL spectrum of topics – and strive to include topics that students study in their other classes – in a SERIOUS AND SIGNIFICANT WAY, the absolute numbers of students taking CS courses may increase, and the proportion of females and URMs should also rise.
COURSE CONTENT AP Computer Science A and AB are two courses whose basic content has no substantial differences from college courses taught in the 1980s. Although as part of a college sequence, one could make an argument for retaining these courses, few seem to question why one should teach high school students the specific content in these courses. For example, APCS-A requires that students learn certain SORTING algorithms. This content might make sense for students to learn at the beginning of a comprehensive course in algorithms. However, given the breadth of fascinating CS applications that have appeared over the previous decades, one would be hard-pressed to make a case as to WHY high school students should be learning this [relatively drab and boring] material, especially in isolation and with no further follow-up. While the course content in subject areas such as Biology have kept pace with new discoveries, CS content seems to be stuck.
PEDAGOGY In CS Education, new student software tools appear at a relatively fast clip, e.g. Alice, Scratch, BYOB/Snap, but little collective thought is focused on how best to use these tools. In high school educational settings, these tools are primarily used to engage students using story-telling or games, and lesson content is often shallow. When curricula are developed for these tools, they employ the SAME PEDAGOGICAL PARADIGM that has been used for the last 30 years. That is, students learn CS constructs and control structures, then practice using these concepts in short problems divorced from substantial real-world applications. Moreover, curricula fail to explore and fully exploit in new ways the possibilities that these tools offer. The strength of Alice and BYOB is their ability to visually model real-world problems and clarify the algorithms used for their solution. Using Alice, students can build a replica of the solar system to calculate the trajectory of a space mission to Mars, or construct biologically important molecules to illustrate disease in BYOB. Tasks such as skaters performing pirouettes around holes in the ice tend to trivialize CS in pursuit of a perceived trade-off for engagement at the expense of rigor (though this instructor found students quickly tiring of make-believe scenarios.)
PEDAGOGY An alternative to a CS-concepts-first curriculum is one whose units revolve around a CENTRAL PROBLEM which students solve over a period of several weeks using whatever CS tools are needed. In mathematics, IMP 1 (Interactive Mathematics Program), created with the support of NSF in the 1990s, is such a curriculum. IMP is a 4-year program of problem-based mathematics that replaces the traditional Algebra I-Geometry-Algebra II/Trigonometry- Precalculus sequence. "IMP units are generally structured around a complex central problem. Although each unit has a specific mathematical focus, other topics are brought in as needed to solve the central problem, rather than narrowly restricting the mathematical content. Ideas that are developed in one unit are usually revisited and deepened in one or more later units." 1 (Unit Summary)http://www.mathimp.org/curriculum/AppendixA.html For example, although the real-world application is a stretch, the complex problem posited by IMP’s High Dive (Year 3) unit has students calculate at what point a circus performer on a turning Ferris wheel should dive so as to land in a tub of water on a moving cart.
IMP: Interactive Mathematics Program The HIGH DIVE problem. Students extend right-triangle trigonometric functions to the circular functions, learn about the graphs of the sine and cosine functions, study polar coordinates, inverse trigonometric functions, and the Pythagorean identity, and study the physics of falling objects.
1. Computer Science’s natural relationship to other disciplines is known as Software Engineering, a field which uses programming and CS concepts, along with expert knowledge of specific target topics, to model and solve societal problems and needs. The topic areas for which software engineering methods might be applied may themselves be within the realm of CS, however the vast majority are not. Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Problem-Based CS Curricula 2. Each unit lasts several weeks and revolves around solving a central problem in the target topic area. A software solution evolves in a scaffolded way, utilizing whatever CS concepts and control structures may be required. Various strategies are attempted at each step to solve problems, discussing their advantages and disadvantages. Drill-like short practice problems (in the spirit of Codingbat.com) are used to integrate CS concepts and skills whenever they are introduced or used in new ways. 3. One way instructors can foster connections is by having students create small scale versions of engaging and complex real world applications. With little imagination, students should be able to envision logical extensions of their projects to the already existing and more complex programs from which student exercises were inspired.
5. Units also place the central problem within a SOCIAL or HISTORICAL CONTEXT. This helps students to not only understand how to solve the central problem, but provides them an explanation why solving the central problem is important in the first place. These so-called back-stories may utilize Literature, Theatre, History, Social Studies, Economics, Film and Art in making those connections. This is NOT done in a tokenistic way. This part of the unit may take up to several days and in some cases more than a week of class time. Students are assessed on this material in a serious way, such as writing an essay in response to a choice of several prompts. One goal should be for instructors to make connections to topics students learn in other academic courses. 4. In order to solve a unit’s central problem, students may need to review or be introduced to new concepts in geometry, trigonometry, biology, physics and so forth. This reflects typical considerations that software engineers encounter in their day-to-day work, i.e. programmers must not only be proficient in their own field, but must have knowledge of the specific (non-CS) systems they are modeling in order to write accurate, robust and logically organized programs. The pedagogic advantage for students in needing more than token exposure to other academic fields to solve a central problem is that the multiple CONTEXTS allow students more handles to recall and integrate what they learn. Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Problem-Based CS Curricula
1. Around the World in 24 Days (Geography). Relativity of Time Perception when Circumnavigating the Globe Excerpts from Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. 2. Joshua at Giv’on, Commanding the Sun to Stand Still: Galileo's Revolution (Astronomy). Modeling the Copernican and Ptolemeic Planetary Systems to illustrate the phases of Venus and retrograde planetary motion (using Alice). The Inquisition and Galileo's Recanting of the Copernican Model. Bertolt Brecht's play Life of Galileo. 3. The Right to Vote (History). Optical Scan Technology and Voting Machines. Democracy in the context of both the women's suffrage movement and the contested 2000 Florida Presidential election (Bush vs Gore). DIscussion of the films Recount and Iron-Jawed Angels. Units written (1 st draft) and taught (Spring 2011) 1 4. The Discovery of the DNA Double Helix (Biology / Biophysics / History of Science) Computer Graphics and Molecular Modeling Software as applied to the Hydrogen Bonding of bases between the two anti-parallel strands of a DNA molecule. Using this structural model to explain point mutations. History of the complex interactions/clashes between the discoverers of the structure of DNA: Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, Frances Crick and James Watson. DIscussion of the BBC film Life Story / Double Helix. 1 Moodle Course: Click on the Login as a guest button. Enrollment Key: portnoffBYOB
5. Computer Science Ethics: IBM's Strategic Contribution to the Efficiency of Nazi Germany's Final Solution (History) Before the invention of computers, PUNCH CARD TECHNOLOGY was used to solve database-related problems. The sorting and tallying algorithms used with these cards were direct precursors of methods used for present-day databases. IBM and its German subsidiary were active participants in the processing of census data used to identify, transport and exterminate the Disabled, Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Communists throughout Europe from 1933 through Excerpts from the book: IBM and the Holocaust. Film: Diary of Anne Frank. Units in the planning stages 6. Evolution and Social Reaction (Evolution, Genetics, Bioinformatics). Using Genomic Databases to Align DNA sequences from related species and Build Phylogenetic (Evolutionary) Trees. Discussion of the play Inherit the Wind. 7. The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple (Environmental Science) Predator-Prey Population Simulation Software, and the unintended consequences of human activity, such as overfishing. 8. On the Road (Geometry / Math) GPS and Routing Programs - A GPS program based upon triangulation of satellite data, equations for calculating longitude and latitude on a sphere, and a geographic database. - A routing program using Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm (like MapQuest). 9. Player Piano (Music Theory) Using timers to synchronize the voices / staffs in Fur Elise coordinated with a keyboard that simulates the keys that would be played. Film: In Search of Beethoven (documentary 2009)
IBM’s Role in the Holocaust IBM and the Holocaust
Bioinformatics Resources Teacher Seminar on Bioinformatics: Computer Science in a Biological Context Location: Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA (85 miles west of Philadelphia) Dates: Last Week in June, 2½ Day Workshop, Application, Stipend Contact: Prof. Ellie Rice Databases, Online Resources NCBI: National Center for Biotechnology Information ENSEMBL (west): Joint project of Welcome Trust Sanger Institute & EMBL-EBIWelcome Trust Sanger InstituteEMBL-EBI PDB: Protein Data Bank The Clinic for Special Children, Strasburg, PA Studying and Treating Genetic Diseases of the Old Amish & Mennonite Communities Through My Window – Remarks at the 125 th Year Celebration of Children’s Hospital of Boston: ndow.pdf ndow.pdf Bioinformatics Activity Bank
Books on Bioinformatics Bioinformatics for Dummies Authors: Jean-Michel Claverie Ph.D., Cedric Notredame Ph.D. Claverie Ph.D.Cedric Notredame Ph.D. An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms Authors: Neil C. Jones & Pavel A. PevznerNeil C. JonesPavel A. Pevzner Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project-Based Approach Authors: Caroline St. Clair & Jonathan E. Visick
Computing Occupations Are Well Paid Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Secondary source: Joanne Cohoon, UVA
More Growth Expected than for any other Professional Occupation NCWIT. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Secondary source: Joanne Cohoon, UVA
Expected Number of Job Openings Is High Bachelor-Level STEM Jobs due to Growth and Replacement for 2018 Secondary source: Joanne Cohoon, UVA
Workforce Needs Could Go Unmet …unless we attract more students Secondary source: Joanne Cohoon, UVA
Advertising Augmented reality ads that virtually bring products to life. A digital fashion show with customizable models that match the consumer's clothing size and body type. Video billboards that let advertisers change their messages daily. CS Careers (dotdiva.com): Fodder for Unit Topics Archaeology & Anthropology Software that helps archaeologists determine the age of ancient Mayan jewelry. An online oral history project that collects songs and stories from Native American cultures. A 3-D virtual museum of religious objects from indigenous communities around the world.
Art & Art History A database to preserve images of fragile paintings and sculpture. A virtual tour of an ancient Greek or Chinese temple. A 3-D drawing and painting program that lets an artist simulate mixed media. Astronomy & Space Exploration Powerful telescopes that offer high resolution imaging of our earliest galaxies. Sophisticated explorer robots that collect samples on other planets. A GPS-enabled sky chart app to easily locate stars, planets, and constellations. Business High-definition videoconferencing that makes it feel as if everyone is in the same room. A cloud computing platform that hosts a company's technology infrastructure, saving huge amounts of time and money. A data visualizer that transforms dull spreadsheets into interactive graphics.
Communications A communications device with voice synthesis and a touch screen that enables speech-impaired stroke patients to carry on conversations. Software that allows military and government agencies to instantly share classified data about potential terrorist attacks. Computer Graphics & Media A 3-D simulation of the rise in sea levels around the world from global warming. Crowd flow models to ensure the safety of cars and pedestrians during parades, concerts, and sporting events. Cooking Internet-enabled refrigerators and cabinets that monitor your food supplies and organize your shopping list based on the recipes you select. A digital cookbook that guides you from the beginning of a recipe to the end, and includes a question-and-answer capability. A sensor that lines the bottom of a cake pan and notifies you when your cake is done to perfection.
Disabilities A program that helps people with physical disabilities create art, even though they may no longer be able to hold a paintbrush. A computer chip that enables people who are paralyzed to move their limbs. GPS systems for people who are blind. Education Interactive whiteboards that are even more interactive. Software for medical schools that features 3-D virtual patients. Digital research labs that link international scientists virtually, allowing them to collaborate on pressing global issues. Engineering Software that can predict the durability of bridges during earthquakes. A "smart" wheelchair with a GPS navigator for severely handicapped people. Solar design software that analyzes the type of solar panels that would work the best in a green building.
Environment Software that can monitor the spread of pollution through the Great Lakes. Wireless sensors that can track endangered polar bears in the Arctic. Environmental forecasting that allows scientists to collect and analyze climate change data from every corner of the world. Fashion & Design A shopping app that helps you choose styles—and then recommends matching accessories, and where to buy them. A home design program that records a room's parameters and helps the user redesign realistically and within budget. Film, TV & Theatre A digital set design program that lets you add virtual actors to the set and visualize how all the elements interact. Internet TV that lets you talk to your friends, browse web sites, and update social media, all while watching the program of your choice.
Forensics & Detective Work A DNA scanner that can instantly sift through the files of crime suspects. A mobile forensics lab for on-the-spot analysis of evidence at crime scenes. Software that can create a 3-D visualization of blood spatter based on the type of weapon used and the proposed orientation of the murderer and victim. Gaming Video games that rely more on a teen's brainpower than finger dexterity. Games that speak to the interests and experiences of girls and women. Computer games designed to address the social and educational needs of autistic children. Health & Fitness A wearable device that calculates how many calories a person burns each day. Interactive simulations that demonstrate yoga sequences—and modify the poses according to one's level of experience. A pharmaceutical app that helps you identify thousands of drug interactions and potential side effects.
Human Rights A secure database to record human rights abuses that shields the identity of victims or witnesses. Online petition software that can instantly collect signatures about urgent causes. A mobile toolkit that allows human rights workers to discreetly video and document abuses in remote or dangerous areas. Humanitarian & Disaster Relief Proximity-location devices to keep relief workers and separated families connected during disasters. A camera phone microscope that can diagnose diseases in remote areas without access to hospitals. Internet Technology A single interface that gathers and streams together all the social media we use. A personalized search engine so accurate it seems to be reading our minds.
Journalism A mobile device that lets reporters research and fact-check stories as they write them, without having to open a separate search engine. A real-time news feed that provides updates in five, ten, or twenty- minute intervals for news-hungry readers. A recording device that picks up an interviewee's voice even when there's lots of ambient noise—and provides a highly accurate transcription. Languages Audio language translators that sound like a native speaker instead of a robot. A smart recorder that translates your question into another language, and then translates the response of a native speaker into English. A wearable computer for people who are deaf that translates American Sign Language. Law A web portal with a database of pro bono lawyers and other legal services for low-income people. A mobile app that puts all state and federal laws at a lawyer's fingertips. An online small claims court site that helps people prepare, file, and serve a claim quickly and cheaply.
Literature E-readers that hold an entire library of books. Children's e-books with animated illustrations. A cyber bookstore that's "device neutral," and lets users download content to any smart phone. Math Software that analyzes DNA sequencing in plant and animal genomes. Global climate models to predict how Earth's climate is changing. A data mining tool that measures poverty and income inequality around the world. Medicine Video-conferencing allowing for a real-time consultation among doctors in different parts of the world. A smartphone-based fetal monitor for rural areas. Music A cloud computing storage platform for your entire music collection, so you can play anything anytime from any device. On-line guitar instructor that lets you know when you’re out of tune or if your rhythm is off.
Politics A news app that collects and organizes articles and videos about the political issues you care about. A mobile tool allowing urban dwellers to report potholes, trash, and other local annoyances directly to city hall. Virtual political communities that mobilize people to meet and organize in real life. Poverty & Social Justice A program that identifies available shelter space for the homeless within a city. A web-based tool to monitor the safety of blood supplies in developing countries. Psychology A phone app that helps people deal with stress and reinforces basic cognitive therapy techniques. Brain imaging software that helps analyze schizophrenia. An interactive program that teaches psychologists how to have effective conversations with their patients for short-term therapy. Public Safety An airline accident simulator that can pinpoint a plane crash and help rescue people faster. An early emergency warning system in your car that can anticipate a collision.
Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Security systems with face, speech, and handwriting recognition. A robot than can perform brain surgery while a patient is in an MRI machine, making impossible operations possible. Science Software that evaluates the genetic make-up of individuals with predispositions to disease. Simulations that can predict the strength, velocity, & path of a tornado. Undersea vehicles that are capable of exploring the depths of the ocean floor. Social Networking Group texting that's easy and fast, so you can form new groups instantly. A charity network that lets you team up with others to support a cause. Sports An app that offers real-time updating on scoring, stats, and other info for baseball. A wearable monitor that provides verbal feedback on your skiing technique. A marathon app that provides you with a customizable training program, records your progress, and gives you a daily pep talk.