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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Programming Supports Math Class, Not the Other Way Around | EdSurge

Photo: Chris Bartlo
Chris Bartlo, math teacher at Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon summarizes, "There is a general sense that programming is related to math and that people who are successful in math are often successful at programming. For math teachers, a natural question arises: “What is the value of computer programming in my classroom?” The reality is that one doesn’t come before the other. Programming directly supports some of the core tenets of how we learn mathematics."

Photo: EdSurge

By expanding our idea of what benefits we are bringing students when they program, we can break down some of the stereotypes that limit enrollment in these kinds of programs—stereotypes that hurt the diversity of students who pursue STEM in general. In particular, we believe that programming can develop problem solving skills, encourage students to be more attentive to their work, and persevere in tackling difficult problems—goals for students in every mathematics classroom!

Programming is Problem Solving 
When we bring programming to math class, we add a new layer of problem solving: translating mathematical problems/ideas to execute them in code. This often requires students to deepen their mathematical understanding of the problem as they find a way to represent the problem in a programming language.

Programming forces students to be explicit about their problem solving strategies. Writing code encourages students to break the problem into discrete chunks; which is one of the most powerful problem solving techniques in mathematics. A danger with the pencil and paper calculations we rely on in a traditional math assignment is that a student can combine many elements of their problem solving process into one step. As educators, seeing how students approach a problem is invaluable information in supporting their learning.

Attending to Precision 
Since the computer can only do exactly what it is told, students need to show precision with their process of translating their plan into code. This forces students to focus on details that they might normally bypass because of difficulty or lack of interest. The syntax of a language is a required step in demonstrating a solution. There is no writing down an answer without showing your work. The work is your answer when you program.

The most tangible benefit for educators that programming can provide is that it constantly provides feedback about student precision. The output of the program is a great place to start, but when there are syntax errors the compiler actually prints out messages to the students (line 5 is missing a semicolon, etc.) and they immediately see the impact their lack of precision had on solving the problem. The fact that students know immediately if they are correct or incorrect is the best formative assessment an educator could hope to provide.

In a traditional school model, this feedback would have to wait until the teacher provided it. Coding allows all students insight into their own comprehension and can provide them the tools to control their growth. This really helps students see the need for precision, which is something that can seem like an arbitrary thing a teacher is asking for in a math class, but has tremendous significance in both fields.

Taking advantage of this immediate feedback can allow students to naturally grow their problem solving abilities. When failure is part of the path towards success, students build perseverance in solving problems. A program produces valid output or has an error. An error is either syntactical (causing the program to not run at all) or logical (resulting in undesired or unexpected output). Debugging, the process of identifying and correcting errors in code, is what students spent most of their time doing when they program. They quickly find that bugs are very common and no one writes error-free code on their first attempt. Because of this, the fear of failure is much lower than in traditional math activities.

Learning how to test if their program is working correctly requires a lot of reflection about how their program works. The need to develop test cases directly encourages students to explore different paths to solve the problem. This cycle of plan, implement, test and repeat is very powerful for keeping students engaged along with the built-in opportunities for “small successes” in every program. This strengthens student perseverance as it becomes clear to them that their effort is rewarded with visible success. 
Read more... 

Source: EdSurge

Don't miss out this Free Book Excerpt: Negotiating Success: Tips and Tools for Building Rapport...

Check out "How to execute win-win negotiations every time, in business and in life."

Negotiating Success: Tips and Tools for Building Rapport
and Dissolving Conflict While Still Getting What You Want

Photo: Jim Hornickel
Jim Hornickel writes in the introduction, "All conversations are negotiations. Whether small personal exchanges or large, complex business contracts, we are negotiating all the time."

Two key questions are:
“What negotiating skills do you have to work with?” and “Who are you being as you negotiate?”

Negotiation skills have been around since Neanderthals determined who would go out and fight the saber-toothed tiger.

What has been added in these recent, more enlightened times is attention to negotiation relationships.

You are now embarking on the exciting next steps in negotiating mastery to become ever more aware of using“mutuality” as the way forward. You are at the launch point for taking bold new directions on how to model, teach, and inspire mutual satisfaction in negotiations.

When negotiations are built on the goal of having both sides win, magic happens. Individual 
and company values are met, visions are achieved, and the organization’s needs are fulfilled in the short term and over time. Even in a world that values competition so strongly, when you go for win-win, you will be at the leading edge of this change.

Negotiating involves“hard skills”—steps, phases, and strategies; but it also requires“soft skills”—building positive and productive relationships. We address both major areas in this work.
Request your Free Book Excerpt 


PresenceLearning offers on-demand summer webinar series | eSchool News and PresenceLearning

"Educators who take the challenge and watch all 10 webinars between July 10, 2016 and August 10, 2016 can earn up to 15.5 hours of continuing education credit" inform eSchool News and PresenceLearning.

For education leaders looking to take advantage of flexible summer schedules to earn professional development credits, PresenceLearning’s “Decathlon Challenge” webinar series will provide 
unlimited access to 10 free webinars starting July 10, 2016.

Educators who watch 1 or more webinars and pass the end-of-webinar quizzes can earn up to 15.5 hours of professional development. ASHA and NASP members can earn CEUs and CPD credits.

To sign up for the webinars, visit Individuals do not need to pre-register, but can sign up to receive reminders and encouragement for when the series is open for viewing for credit.

The 10 webinars in the Decathlon Challenge series — 15.5 hours of streamed content in total — were selected from PresenceLearning’s most popular webinar presentations.
  • Dr. Temple Grandin explains the workings of the autistic brain and how to help students with autism during “The Autistic Brain.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Julie Weatherly, Esq., special education legal expert, presents “Staying Out of Due Process in Special Education,” providing insight into the most common legal issues in special education and how to avoid them. (length: 2 hours)
  • Dr. Marty Burns, neuroscientist and ASHA Fellow, unpacks the most recent neurological research on older students in “The New Science of Learning: Effective Approaches for Older Students with Autism and Attention Disorders.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Barry Prizant’s “Uniquely Human: A Different Way to See Autism and Create Pathways to Success” presents a research-based new approach to serving students with autism. (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Joe Ryan, behavior disorder expert, provides expert advice on how to implement effective behavior interventions in “Beyond Behavior: Creating a Culture of Data-Driven Behavioral Interventions.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Daniel Crimmins, special education policy expert, outlines practice alternatives to the controversial restraint and seclusion tactics, as well as out-of-school suspensions in “Positive Behavior Strategies: The Real Road to School Climate Change.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Barry Prizant introduces The SCERTS Model and explains how it can positively impact social-emotional development for those students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in “Social Communication + Emotional Regulation: An Introduction to the SCERTS Model.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Frances Stetson, a leading consultant on inclusionary practices, discusses the over-identification of students for special education services and how our nation’s use of inclusion can be improved to better support at-risk students in “Inclusion Is For Every Learner – Or Is It?” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Ed Dunkelblau, one of the originators of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) movement, talks about how improving social emotional skills can help at-risk students achieve during “SEL – The Real Skills for Success.” (length: 1.5 hours)
  • Dr. Ross Greene, a best-selling author, speaker and psychologist who originated the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach for students with serious behavioral challenges, details how CPS can help reduce disciplinary issues for students with special needs “Lost and Found: What Works (and What Doesn’t) for Behaviorally Challenged Students.” (length: 1.5 hours)
The Decathlon Challenge webinar series is offered free of charge. Attendees will receive a certificate of attendance for each webinar watched after passing the post-webinar quiz and submitting a feedback survey.

Source: eSchool News and PresenceLearning

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The lost women of Enlightenment science | New Scientist

"It was the era that ushered in new ways of thinking. Yet most women weren't expected to have a voice in the debate. Here are some who made themselves heard." notes Patricia Fara.

It was a time of explosive new ideas – political revolution, contemplation of the rights of individuals, the rise of scientific enquiry and a broader appreciation for the power of reason. Yet while the names most remembered from the Enlightenment era – Locke, Newton, Voltaire, Kant, Paine – belong to men, there were many women who participated in and influenced the intellectual upheaval of the time, sometimes in subtle ways, by using the only tools at their disposal.

Emilie du Châtelet was one such pioneering woman. She made use of her aristocratic background and connections with the upper echelons of society to involve herself in the philosophical debates of her day – and she used her sharp wit and mathematical aptitude to test the newest ideas in physics and convince her compatriots that Newton’s theory of gravity was right.

Yet du Châtelet was not alone. Meet other daring women of the Enlightenment:

Marie Paulze Lavoisier (1758-1836)

Marie Paulze was only 13 when she married the wealthy French lawyer Antoine Lavoisier, and she immediately started learning English so that she could act as the scientific go-between for his true passion in life – chemistry. Soon she was presiding over one of Paris’s most influential salons, hosting visitors such as Benjamin Franklin and James Watt. Relying on brains rather than beauty, she persuaded financiers to invest in her husband’s ventures. “She is tolerably handsome,” remarked a tobacco tycoon from Virginia, “but from her Manner it would seem that she thinks her forte is the Understanding rather than the Person.”

Lavoisier built his reputation on identifying oxygen, but his wife was the English-speaking expert available to negotiate with Joseph Priestley, who had already discovered the same gas but given it a different name. She was far more than just a mouthpiece: up to speed with all latest theories, she included her own critical commentaries in her published translations of books and articles.

She was also an accomplished artist. While her husband is celebrated for reforming chemistry with his revolutionary textbook, it was her meticulous illustrations that enabled chemists all over the world to replicate his trials.

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848)

Women can be their own worst enemies. “I am nothing, I have done nothing,” lamented the astronomer Caroline Herschel. This self-abnegation has helped push her into the backwaters of history, yet she was the first woman to discover a comet, and was so well-recognised at the time that King George III rewarded her with a scientific salary.

Even her own mother hampered her career, insisting that she stay at home to wash and clean. Eventually Herschel escaped from family servitude in her native Hanover to join her brother William in England, best known for discovering Uranus. He soon enlisted her to collaborate on his astronomical projects.

Night after night, they recorded telescope observations together, even when it was so cold that the ink froze and the metal mirror cracked. She performed the calculations needed to convert numbers on a dial into locations on a map, and it was thanks to her that Britain’s major star catalogue was brought up to date. Independent of her brother, she identified several new comets and at last allowed herself a rare moment of pique at male oppression. Admitting to the Astronomer Royal that his interest had stimulated her “vanity”, she pointed out that “among gentlemen the commodity is generally styled ambition”.

Mary Somerville (1780-1872)

Not many female scientists have a ship named after them, but for 20 years the Mary Somerville carried goods between Liverpool, Canton and Calcutta. Its figurehead was copied from the commemorative marble bust that the Fellows of the Royal Society had commissioned for their foyer. Yet although she was celebrated as “the Queen of the Sciences”, the real-life Somerville was not allowed to set foot inside the Society’s hallowed halls: when her article on magnetism and sunlight was published in the Philosophical Transactions, her husband read it out on her behalf.

The first time the word “scientist” appeared in print was in a review of Somerville’s bestseller, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, which consolidated as well as disseminated the latest cutting-edge research. Though excluded from universities, scholarly societies and laboratories, she became Victorian England’s most famous scientific author. The modern edition of her work runs to nine volumes – a massive output that she somehow managed to write while looking after her family. She resented the social pressures preventing women from achieving their full potential. “A man can always command his time under the plea of business,” she observed, but “a woman is not allowed any such excuse”.

Read more... 

7 women of science who deserve greater recognition 

Source: New Scientist and New Scientist Channel (YouTube)

Here ‘lies’ Aristotle, archaeologist declares — and this is why we should care | Washington Post

Photo: Amy Ellis Nutt
Amy Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter — Washington, D.C. writes, "More than two millennia after his death, Aristotle’s final resting place is located (probably)."

For starters, he is the father of Western science and Western philosophy. He invented formal logic and the scientific method and wrote the first books about biology, physics, astronomy and psychology. Freedom and democracy, justice and equality, the importance of a middle class and the dangers of credit -- they're just a sampling of Aristotle's political and economic principles. And, yes, Christianity, Islam and our Founding Fathers also owe him a lot.

Photo: (istock)

Nearly 2-1/2 millennia after Aristotle's birth, we now know where his ashes most likely were laid to rest: in the city of his birth, Stagira, on a small, picturesque peninsula in northern Greece.

"We have no [concrete] evidence, but very strong indications reaching almost to certainty," archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis said through a translator at this week's World Congress celebrating "Aristotle 2400 Years."

Although Aristotle didn't die in Stagira, two ancient historians, Plutarch and Pliny, refer to his ashes being interred there in an above-ground tomb topped by a ceramic dome.

For more than a quarter-century,  Sismanidis has been looking for the evidence. He found it not in a single, 'aha' moment of discovery but in a slow, steady accumulation of clues.

First and foremost among them: The very public nature of the site, high on a hill, makes sense. Aristotle was a hometown hero to the free citizens of Stagira, who in 348 B.C. were conquered and enslaved by King Phillip II as their city was destroyed. Only with Aristotle's urging, did Phillip -- or perhaps his son, Alexander the Great -- rebuild Stagira nine years later. (It didn't hurt that Aristotle had been Alexander's tutor, and Alexander the teacher's pet.)
Read more... 

Source: Washington Post

NEW eBook - How to Awaken Sleepy Email Subscribers | Marketo

Please, check this eBook out below. 

Download Now 

This ebook will walk through how to run a reactivation campaign in four steps:
  1. Isolate your sleepy subscribers through engagement segmentation.
  2. Test different content, offers, and language.
  3. Think beyond a one-and-done campaign.
  4. Give subscribers a way out.
Marketo writes in the introduction, "Building a subscriber list is fundamental to email marketing, but maintaining your list by keeping subscribers engaged is even more critical to long-term marketing success."

According to a study conducted by Return Path, over 25% of email addresses in company databases were classified as “inactive,” referring to email accounts that haven’t shown activity in 30 days or more. These people have raised their hand in the past—by previously expressing interest, purchasing a product, or otherwise engaging with your brand—but have since “gone dark.”

They’re the result of the valuable time and money that marketers spend to grab their attention in the first place. And given that it costs more to attract new customers than to keep existing ones, it’s vital to awaken these inactive, or “sleepy,” subscribers.

The best way to awaken your sleepy subscribers is to run a reactivation campaign, an email campaign, or multiple campaigns, specifically targeted towards “sleeping subscribers,” to get them to re-engage with your brand. These campaigns can take many forms, from direct requests to deals and offers. The most common reactivation method occurs via email, but with the rise of smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, marketers need to strongly consider re-engaging subscribers over mobile as well.
Download Now 

Source: Marketo

New Issue Published: International Journal of Online Engineering Volume 12, Issue 5 (2016) | iJOE

International Journal of Online Engineering (iJOE) has just published its latest issue at
Have a look at the Table of Contents.

Review the Table of Contents here and then visit the website to review articles and items of interest. 

iJOE is an Open Access Journal. Readers don't have to pay any fee. Only registration is necessary.  

Table of Contents

A Guiding Design System for Pressure Vessels based on 3D CAD 
(Zhang Shanhui, Yang Chaoying, Xu Ning) 

Environment Factors Monitoring System Based on CAN bus 
(Li Shi Hong, Zhu Sa Sa, Jin Yan) 

Overall Framework Design of an Intelligent Dynamic Accounting Information Platform Based on the Internet of Things 
(Feng Qiu) 

Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation Algorithm for Power Information System Security Level Based on the Internet of Things 
(Zeng Ming, Wang Shicheng) 

Research on the Application of Intelligent Calibration Device for Nuclear Power Plants Based on Wireless Sensor Technology 
(Zhe Yang, Cheng Yang) 

Design and Simulation of a Meteorological Data Monitoring System Based on a Wireless Sensor 
(Reza Alavinia, Zhiliang Zhu, Shuang Zhang) 

Remote Monitoring System of an Agricultural Tillage Machine Based on an Embedded ARM Technology Wireless Sensor 
(Jiaqi He, Yong Chen) 

Embedded Spectrum Sensor Network Architecture and Transmission Medium Test Based on TCP/IP 
(Ya Zhang, Fang Han) 

Simulation of the Core Technology of a Greenhouse-Monitoring System Based on a Wireless Sensor Network 
(Yuhong Zhou, Yunfang Xie, Limin Shao) 

Design and Simulation of a Wireless Sensor Network Greenhouse-Monitoring System Based on 3G Network Communication 
(Y. H. Zhou, J. G. Duan) 

Multi-sensor Information Fusion Method Based on BP Neural Network 
(Lin Liandong) 

Energy Balancing of a Heuristic Algorithm for the Path Planning of Mobile Sensor Nodes 
(X. Xu, B. Z. Liu)     

Enjoy your reading!   
Souce: International Journal of Online Engineering (iJOE)

10 fast tips for successful mentoring and coaching | TrainingZone

Coaching and mentoring can reap huge results in all organisations. But how to make it work effectively? Take two minutes out of your day and read our top 10 tips to help get coaching and mentoring right, covering all aspects including understanding the problem that needs to be solved to ensuring you understand the difference between mentoring and coaching. Read now. Become enlightened.

Photo: Gary Cattermole
Gary Cattermole, director at leading employee engagement and staff survey provider, The Survey Initiative inform, "Take two minutes out of your day and read our top 10 tips." as below.

Photo: Todor Tsvetkov/iStock

1) Never use coaching as a solution to a remedial issue  
It has to be entered into willingly by the coachee. If you have an employee who is not behaving as they ought, tackle it as a disciplinary issue, coaching is not the alternative 'avoidance' route.

2) Never force a coachee to work with a specific coach  
The fit has to be there for the trust to build.

3) Have a clear understanding of what coaching is (behaviour change) 
It is distinct from both mentoring (skill development) and counselling (emotional support). 
Both sides may not understand the differences and could be expecting something different from coaching.

4) Mentoring v. coaching – which is best?
Mentoring is often used for junior and middle role positions, whilst coaching is beneficial for those in more senior roles. Usually a blend of both methods is used – with a weighting towards one. This does not mean you should not coach junior roles, only it might be less effective as they may have less inner knowledge to exploit – which pure coaching draws upon.

5) Start with a good set of ground rules  
The level of confidentiality that will exist needs to be agreed. Breaking this fundamental rule would impact on the employment relationship by causing a breakdown in trust and confidence between both parties.

Source: TrainingZone

The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy, by Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber | Times Higher Education

The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

Photo: Emma Rees
Book of the week: Academics need to hit the brakes and work to change the system they’re in, says Emma Rees, professor of literature and gender studies at the University of Chester, where she is director of the Institute of Gender Studies.

Photo:Times Higher Education

George Harrison wrote the Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun holed up at Eric Clapton’s house, skiving a meeting with the executives at Apple Records. Despite its optimism, the song always sounds deeply melancholic to me because I can’t hear it without whooshing back through time to a Sunday evening years ago: I’m in my childhood home, in my flannelette nightie, freshly bathed, homework done and school shoes ready, watching the closing credits – at that time set to Harrison’s song – of the Holiday programme on the BBC. Despite all its wistful jingling and catchiness, that one song signalled the inescapable, stifling fact that the weekend was Over. To become an academic is to submit oneself to that Sunday evening feeling, seemingly in perpetuity.

The mental health of academics and administrators is at risk as never before. We might, on any given term-time Sunday evening (or, indeed, on any weekday night), prefer to be a skiver, like Harrison, but we find that the pressures of what my students term “adulting” are simply too great to hide from. The authors of The Slow Professor surely know that Sunday sensation too, and their plea is that, in the interests of self-care, we should all slow down and shift “our thinking from ‘what is wrong with us?’ to ‘what is wrong with the academic system?’”.

The Slow Food movement was initiated more than two decades ago by the activist Carlo Petrini. Local producers were celebrated over supermarket conglomerates, the detrimental effects of fast food on local communities were exposed, and a healthy kind of individuality thumbed its mindful nose at cultural homogeneity. Petrini’s work gained traction – sedately, of course – and in 2011 the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman published his best-seller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, urging us to live “deliberate, effortful, and orderly” lives. Once it’s understood, the logic of the Slow Movement is irresistible. What Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber are doing in The Slow Professor is protesting against the “corporatization of the contemporary university”, and reminding us of a kind of “good” selfishness; theirs is a self-help book that recognises the fact that an institution can only ever be as healthy as the sum of its parts.

In their endeavour to “foster greater openness about the ways in which the corporate university affects our professional practice and well-being”, Berg and Seeber openly echo the tone and agenda of Stefan Collini’s What are Universities For?. And “well-being” ought to be a top priority for what the authors portray as a culture that “dismisses turning inwards and disavows emotion in pursuit of hyper-rational and economic goals”. Just last month, Times Higher Education ran a remarkable first-hand account of one academic’s experiences with mental illness. “In my own case,” wrote that anonymous contributor, “I know how vulnerable I am to feeling alone and unable to cope as I drown beneath a seemingly endless avalanche of work.”

This book is an intervention into precisely that “avalanche”; a mountain-rescue effort for the knackered academic. Its “Slow Professor manifesto” has three aims: “to alleviate work stress, preserve humanistic education, and resist the corporate university”. But it’s definitely not a joyless philosophy that the authors share: “We see our book as uncovering the secret life of the academic,” they write, “revealing not only her pains but also her pleasures.” They offer solutions, too, in addition to identifying what’s broken (they are writing from the perspective of members of the Canadian academy, which, as they present it, seems virtually indistinguishable from the British one). In critiquing those guides to time management that favour speeding through a punitive checklist over sitting in meaningful contemplation, they get it absolutely right: “It is not so much a matter of managing our time as it is of sustaining our focus in a culture that threatens it.”

Additional resources
The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy
By Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber
University of Toronto Press, 128pp, £15.99
ISBN 9781442645561 and 663107 (e-book)
Published 20 May 2016

The authors 

Photo: Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber

Maggie Berg, professor of English at Queen’s University, Kingston, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and raised on Hayling Island. “My dad had a heart attack at the age of 43 and left my mum with five young children (I was the oldest). Although she had left school at 16 to become a hairdresser, Mum got herself a job with the Portsmouth Evening News and we kids helped to bring up each other. We were what is now called underprivileged. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and if it hadn’t been for the grants system at the time I would not have done so. Because of this background, I have never fitted comfortably in academia; it has left me with an awkward combination of gratitude and scepticism. However, I believe it has also made me a better teacher.”

She now lives in Kingston Ontario, “with Scott Wallis – who is a brilliant visual artist and a preparator in Queen’s University gallery – for 30 years. We are very different: I get up at 6am and go for a run; he stays at home smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. It works. Neither of us drives and we will never own a car. Our daughter Rebecca used to be annoyed by this, but now she is 26 she herself drives. Rebecca, who is the loveliest human being I could ever have imagined, is pursuing an MA in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. I asked her one day whether she would practice couples counselling on me and her dad; she was horrified and flatly refused.”

What is the wisest book she has read of late? “I have passed on, and sometimes made my students read, Tom Chatfield’s How to Thrive in the Digital Age, Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation, and Dave Eggers’s novel The Circle. I realise just now that they have something in common: they urge us to consider that the very technologies that enhance our lives also, in the words of Chatfield, ‘have the potential to denude us of what it means to thrive as human beings’.”...

Her co-author, Barbara Seeber, professor of English at Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, was born in Innsbruck in Austria, and lived there until she was 13, when her family moved to the West Coast of Canada.

“The slow food movement started in Italy but its principles are also cherished in Austria, so I grew up in a culture that insists on everyday pleasures and the conviviality of sharing a meal and conversation. I think that the immigrant experience has shaped me in some fundamental ways. It undoubtedly has enriched my perspective, but it also has led to feeling that I don’t quite fit in (both in Canada and in Europe).

“In terms of my work as a professor of English literature, being an immigrant also has had both positive and negative consequences: many academics suffer from the ‘imposter syndrome’, and working in your second language certainly intensifies that. But it also has given me the freedom that can come with approaching topics from the outside. For example, my primary area of research is Jane Austen and because I didn’t grow up hearing about Aunt Jane, I didn’t have preconceived ideas about her work.”

Seeber lives in St. Catharines, “a small city in the Niagara Peninsula (famed for its wine and its falls) near Toronto, Ontario. I am fortunate to share my house with two lovely companions: Georgie, a Shih Tzu, and Frida, a Chantilly cat, who are best friends. Before them, I lived with a very special cat named Darcy, named after the hero in Pride and Prejudice.

If she could change one thing about the Canadian university sector, what would it be? “I wish that higher education would be tuition free. Higher education, like healthcare, is a public good.”
Read more... 

Source: Times Higher Education

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How has tech impacted the traditional role of the engineer? | IDG Connect

Kathryn Cave from IDG Connect look at how an increasingly digitised workplace is changing the traditional role of engineer. 

Photo: IDG Connect

Tunnelled through 260 miles of underground rock and 30 miles of above ground bridges and crossways, in its heyday, the Roman aqueduct system supplied around 1000 cubic metres of fresh, clean water to the ancient city of Rome each day. People talk a lot about Roman engineering but it was this, and other such feats of municipal excellence, upon which an entire civilisation was built. 

Wikipedia defines an engineer as someone “concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical, societal and commercial problems”. And fundamentally, until relatively recently, the principles of engineering hadn’t really changed since Roman times.

Now change is beginning to snowball at a ferocious rate. As Dave Excell, CTO and Co-Founder of Featurespace tells IDG Connect: “Half a century ago engineers were typically focused on the construction and creation of physical entities, bridges, dams and buildings. Over the last 20 years, engineering has evolved to encompass a much wider variety of digital, intangible objects on a daily basis.” 

This encompasses the Internet of Things and an ever increasing new network of connected devices, which in turn changes the face of ‘old fashioned’ engineering. This point was driven home to me at a recent Kaspersky event which looked at the rise in cyberattacks to critical infrastructure. It highlighted how the traditional role of engineer now encompasses so much more than it used to. 

Robert Faulkner, Manager at the engineering and manufacturing division of Michael Page recruitment tells us: “The role of the engineer has changed dramatically at all levels over the last few years. More than ever businesses are now feeling the pinch in a number of areas and are therefore looking to achieve more with far less.

Engineers are now expected to be able to provide not only an engineering solution but also a more rounded knowledge of business including other internal functions. The growing capability of technology allows individuals and businesses to operate quicker and more efficiently however, at times, this means that a few ‘old school’ engineering characteristics are lost.” 

Damian Hennessey, commercial director at digital manufacturer, Proto Labs adds: “Engineering as a whole is undergoing a digital revolution, with new business models built around customer demand, production speed and enhanced software programming – all of which requires a new breed of talent, previously unseen in the industry.”

While Ulf Timmermann, CEO of electronics distributor of Reichelt clarifies: “Demand on their skills is no longer just electric - or mechanics-based, but cross-disciplined. Mechanical knowledge and electro-technical knowledge increasingly go hand-in-hand.

“Coding is a prime example. These days many engineers have to code, where once this would have been a role assigned solely to developers. A single engineer might now be expected to build a rudiment, to construct the electronics, programme it via LOGO or SPS and activate it. “...

So what next for engineers?
The changes that we’re seeing now are only set to increase with the rise of digitisation and the Internet of Things. 

James Johnston, Director Manufacturing, Utilities and Services, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu says: “The proliferation of IoT within the engineering industry has presented a wealth of opportunities and changes for the role of the engineer.”

This will come down to the better efficiency and productivity that IoT enables, he suggests. “Engineers will be able to redirect their efforts into providing better services for customers.”
Hennessey of Proto Labs adds: “The IoT offers the next generation of engineering talent the opportunity to ‘digitally connect the dots’ of a modern factory floor, gaining smarter ‘real-time’ insight over their competition.” 

Of course, Internet of Things also presents challenges. Technical data is proliferating and becoming harder to manage, and the demand for cross-disciplinary knowledge is growing,” says Ella Balagula, Senior Vice President and general manager of Elsevier’s engineering and technology markets team. 

Anything associated with IoT inevitably also throws up serious security concerns. And Calder of Honeywell Process Solutions says: “Today’s engineers are finding that they have to absorb new skills and knowledge relating to cyber security in order to be prepared to safeguard against and react to any incoming threat that could potentially cripple a site.”   

Tim Kimball, CTO of Aire, a credit scoring start-up adds: “No longer is security the remit of the infrastructure and information security teams. Tools like Terraform, Vault, and the discipline of DevOps means that more and more engineers are able to take end-to-end responsibility. 

“The biggest challenge to engineers in the early stage is helping the business make effective trade-offs. The key is understanding what we understand, and where we need additional resource and expertise.”
Read more...  

Source: IDG Connect