Post-secondary CT Infusion Strategy Backgrounder

Our friend and colleague, Bernard Gibson, recently shared this list of background research with the Task Committee. Bernard is leading a project to develop and pilot Computational Thinking infusion strategies for post-secondary audiences.
Bernard recommends these online resources for surveying research, curricula and related academic material:

The Innovation Imperative and iHub

Hello all,

Do you recall our CPATH discussions around the creation of innovation hubs? Well, I'm pleased to present to you, the iHub, which is just getting started.

A good opportunity to extend our computation thinking pilot with that initiative. After all, isn't the ability to innovate, computational thinking, or is it the other way around? :)

Now imagine the possibilities of CPATH+iHub+Cloud Computing. Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to meet with the team at this week in San Francisco, and as part of that work I did some research into their service offerings which I would be happy to explain to the team.

As I've discussed with Phil, we can seek to leverage the platform not only as a collaboration tool, but as an education tool for our students.

The platform is highly customizable and integrated, and no programming ability is required. It has Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn type functionality, and represents the next generation of enterprise collaboration.

If you have doubts that this is the future, I invite you to read:

  1. Ballmer Says He Has Bet the Company on the Cloud

  2. IBM launches Academic Skills Cloud to speed delivery of technology to colleges

  3. U.S. Scientists at National Science Foundation Given Access to Cloud Computing

These are the type of tools and skills our students will need, with technology tools they are accustomed to, without the need to program, very popular among SMB businesses, and increasingly among larger enterprises, coupled with the excitement of Cloud Computing, and fully accessible via iPhone, Blackberry.

The Software as a Service application can be used to teach sales, marketing, lead and account management, and other related business concepts, as well as website development, application concepts and customization in a non-threatening (traditional CISE) approach, so both business and computer classes can collaborate on the tool in real-time.

Everyone has a dashboard that monitors their progress, so professors and administrations can monitor activities in real time as well. The environment is a rich, modern, and collaborative, with multi-disciplinary potential, in a non-intimidating, internet accessible, technological approach, with familiar internet paradigms, that facilitates interactivity, and yet has business value.

All with 3 levels of underlying complexity transparent to the end user:
  1. Software as a Service (SaaS) which is simple.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) - customization with no need to program, and
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - the underlying hardware infrastructure - virtualization, grid, and other more complex concepts.
iHub news excerpt:

"We don't do innovation," said Eloisa Klementich, the agency's deputy secretary of economic development and commerce, referring to BTH. "We're not the scientists that are driving it. So the question is how do we create the ecosystem for innovation to occur?"

The effort to create that infrastructure started about nine months ago. The idea was to find key areas across the state with assets such as research parks, technology incubators, universities, community colleges, business accelerators and federal laboratories. After several meetings and an application process, BTH recently announced six areas designated as iHubs:

The six inaugural iHub memebers are Orange County, Sacramento, Coachella Valley, Northgate, i-GATE (Innovation for Green Advanced Transportation Excellence), and San Francisco Biotech.

The main component of the program is collaboration. By building a network of cutting-edge companies, forward-thinking organizations and research institutions across the state, Klementich said, California will benefit from greater exposure, smarter partnerships, more jobs and a fusion of new ideas that would establish the state as a global innovation powerhouse.

But again, there's the issue of money. The recession rages on and, at this point, the iHub program has no federal funding. But BTH will be "aggressively applying for federal grants," Klementich said."

We can discuss further at our next meeting. I've also been discussing cloud computing with the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) and there will be an upcoming CC regional education session that is being planned.

For more on cloud computing and innovation, I invite you to read my blog at

Ray DePena, MBA, PMP

IT Industry Business Innovation Consultant

The Importance of CT Skills for Employers-and Potential Employees

There is a need to move from the default line on resumes and job descriptions...."proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (TM)" to something much more accurate, useful and sophisticated. The language must describe the emerging cluster of CT skills. By drawing more employers into the discussion we can be instrumental in clarifying the definition of essential CT skills.

Right now, in our discussions, we are thrashing around trying to find common neuro-linguistic space to describe thinking processes characterized by the support – or parallelism – of computers, i.e. computational thinking. There are some clear practical implications, however, related to successful employment in the changing workplace -- and in the larger economic sphere. The real change will not happen when the academics redefine CT skills; it will happen when those skills are put to the more objective test of marketability in jobs.

I sometimes think that there is validity in the test of capitalism and when the bright light of jobs shines on CT and it appears as part of resumes and job descriptions we will have made considerable progress.


Walter Dario Di Mantova
Director, Workforce and Economic Development
Los Rios Community College District
Re-Imagined, Re-Defined and Now, Re-Invented.
(Posted by Linda on behalf of Walt)