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Event: Computer Science Education Week

CSEdWeekCSEdWeek 2011 celebrates the impact of computing and the need for computer science education. The week incorporates events and resources for students, teachers, parents, administrators, college and university reps, and industry. When: December 4-11, 2011.

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STEM Video Game Challenge Names Winners

Winner and Cousins Test GameTwelve students have won the National STEM Video Game Challenge, according to Education Week. They include a team of students who developed a game called, “You Make Me Sick!” to teach about bacteria and viruses. Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the contest aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.

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Contest: ThinkQuest International Competition

ThinkQuestThe 2011 ThinkQuest International Competition challenges students to apply their critical thinking, communication, and technology skills to a real-world problem. Teams research, develop, and test their solution before presenting it to a global audience. Students and their coaches put their ideas and skills to the test in one of three events.

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Simulations and Games Offer Learning Potential

Playing Video GamesComputer simulations and games offer “great potential” to assist inquiry-based science learning, according to a report by the National Research Council. They may help boost motivation, understanding and skills, and encourage students to identify with science.

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Feature: Life Support Systems

Life SupportWith their problem-solving techniques and technologies engineers are well-positioned to help render U.S. healthcare more efficient, effective, and affordable. And as new and different models are conceived, engineers can help design and support them, analyzing if and how well they are working.

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DARPA Seeks Teens’ Skills

Teens Work on Laptops at the BeachThe Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) wants to tap into the collective brain power of super-smart high school geeks. The Pentagon agency is spending $10 million on a project that would have teen braniacs using Web 2.0 social-networking skills to speed up and improve defense manufacturing technologies.

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Game Design Instruction: Cheese on Broccoli

Students Design Video GamesA Houston area school district plans to open an Academy of Game Design this fall at Willowridge High School. Students will learn the basics of game design, including 2D and 3D animation, graphics, lighting, and sound mixing. Computer game developer Rodney Gibbs applauds the idea. His work invovles a great deal of calculus, physics, engineering, computer science,” he says. But for young people, “video games are like the cheese on broccoli.”

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Using Doesn’t Mean Knowing

Give kids a laptop and a wireless broadband connection and just watch them search, chat, and network. But that’s not good enough, says the Computer Science Teachers Association, which wants more schools teaching students how computers actually work.

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Make It Exciting, and They’ll Come on Saturday

Getting middle school students to spend a precious Saturday morning back in school—studying STEM topics, no less—may sound like an exercise in frustration. But, a program developed by the Salisbury, Maryland school district is having great success doing exactly that.

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