Virtual School Meanderings

September 23, 2017

Why Don’t More Girls Compute? – From the Alliance Directors

Note this item from the CEO of the Virtual High School.

Why Don’t More Girls Compute? VHS CEO Reflects on CSforAll Initiative

Introductory note: Following last week’s blog on Idaho Digital Learning’s efforts to expand access to computer science education and coding, we thought it appropriate to reprint a previous blog from Carol Ribeiro, President and CEO of The Virtual High School.

The diversity gap in computer science education today means the field is almost certainly not generating the opportunities or technological innovations that our society needs or demands. Women and racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in learning computer science and obtaining CS degrees. Many — including tech companies and educational institutions — have taken steps to make CS more appealing and accessible to these groups, yet the diversity gap remains. Enjoy these personal insights from Carol.

Why Don’t More Girls Compute? VHS CEO Reflects on CSforAll Initiative

In 1986, fresh out of college, I joined a group of four other women – all computer majors – hired by a Fortune 500 company to be new programmer analysts. So much has changed in the last thirty years and the world of course is different now – no longer do we need to share computers, debug our code on dusty green-bar paper, or physically travel at 2AM to the home office to fix a system crash because we can’t work remotely. Technology is at our fingertips and accessible, in the best of cases, to everyone. We sometimes hear that women “don’t do computing”. That we don’t like STEM. That we can’t. That’s simply not true. We can, and we did, and we do. Grace Hopper popularized the term computer bug. Ada Lovelace wrote instructions for the first computer program. Adele Goldberg helped develop one of the first object-oriented computer languages. So why aren’t more girls into computing?

“The demand for computing skills far outstrips supply, plaguing U.S. employers with a talent shortage. In 2015, there were more than 500,000 open computing jobs to be filled in the U.S. but fewer than 40,000 new computer science graduates to fill them” according to research from Accenture and Girls Who Code ( notes that “Even with projected growth of 15-20% between 2012 and 2022, the vast majority of computer science jobs will be pursued and filled by men. As STEM-related industries on a whole add over 1.7 million jobs in the coming years, there continues to be a notable absence of women in the field. This trend begins well before entering the job market: girls account for more than half of all Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers, yet boys outnumber girls 4:1 in computer science exams. In Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, not a single girl took the AP Computer Science examination in 2014.”

Now, thirty years after I started in programming, I’m able to help these statistics change. Through the#CSforAll initiative and the non-profit CSforAll Consortium I’m privileged to work with a dedicated group of people and organizations who are helping ensure all students regardless of their geography, gender, or economic circumstance, have access to Computer Science education. My early days as a programmer helped me learn to problem solve and think critically. The skills I learned then, in large part help me in my position as President & CEO of The Virtual High School today. Our non-profit organization helps students at schools nationwide develop the skills they need to be successful in careers and life. I want all students, especially the girls out there, to know they have options. Many women have paved the way, from Linda Roberts, founding Director of the U.S. Department of Educational Technology who developed our nation’s first National Technology Plan, to Karen BillingsEd Tech Digest Visionary (both members of The Virtual High School’s Board of Directors), to Megan Smith the 3rd Chief Technology Officer of the United States. There are many, many others, too numerous to mention. You can succeed, and we can help you. Let us show you that wonderful, exciting, career options are available to you with the push of a button – or maybe just a few keystrokes.


September 15, 2017

Repost: What Lessons can a Christian School Learn from J.C. Penney?

A colleague forwarded this on to me and I wanted to share it with everyone.

What Lessons can a Christian School Learn from J.C. Penney?

The unusual comparison of a retailer and an educational institution may seem to be a bit strange.

However, they have a lot in common and there are some clear corollaries which can be instructive considering the challenges and changes facing both sectors.

To continue reading, click here…

I was also sent a link to a PDF version of the item at:

From the Alliance Directors – Computer Science For All

From a new source for VSM…

Making Computer Science Accessible to All

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that computer science-related jobs will be among the fastest growing and highest paying over the next decade. A large majority of parents (84%), teachers (71%), principals (66%) and superintendents (65%) agree that offering Computer Science is more important or just as important as required core courses like math, science, history and English. A majority of educators feel that students should be required to take Computer Science in schools when it is available (60% of teachers, 62% of principals and 56% of superintendents agree).[1] Yet a recent analysis of national data shows that 22 percent of 12th graders say they’ve never taken a computer science course and more than half of all high school seniors do not have access to computer science in their school.[2]

Online learning programs, such as Idaho Digital Learning, are tackling the problem of providing access to computer science for all students in Idaho. In 2014 the Idaho State Board of Education and House Education Committee approved a rule change that allows students to take dual credit or AP computer science as core math or science credit versus as an elective credit – providing an incentive for students to explore the field of Computer Science. In addition, there are other innovative virtual school statewide online learning programs throughout the nation that are providing students with opportunities. For example, as part of a statewide initiative to make computer science available throughout every high school, the Arkansas Governor requested that Virtual Arkansas make online Computer Science available, free, to all schools throughout the state.

Idaho Digital Learning believes that every student in Idaho should have the opportunity to build foundational skills through computer science education. This includes skillsets from a basic level of understanding of computers to higher level computer science courses that will impart critical thinking and problem solving skills, learning persistence, and logic skills. Combined together, these skills prepare students for higher education and open doors for virtually every career, benefiting Idaho’s workforce, helping to address the need for a critical workforce throughout Idaho.

To accomplish the goal of building the pipeline between public education, post-secondary education, and industry, Idaho Digital Learning offers a comprehensive selection of STEM focused courses and continues developing partnerships to meet the growing demand for computer science education and qualified teachers. By partnering with Boise State University, University of Idaho,, Idaho Technology Council and STEM Action Center, Idaho Digital Learning has increased accessibility to computer science professional development throughout the state.

Idaho Digital Learning has worked with post-secondary partners, Idaho Career-Technical Education, the State Board, and industry partners to create roadmaps; an articulated sequence of courses that provide students the opportunity to earn a post-secondary degree or technical certificate. Through a roadmap, any student may complete courses that will help them work toward their college and career goals. Courses on the road map are appropriately articulated and will transfer to post-secondary opportunities. Current roadmaps for computer science include a CISCO Academy opportunity where students can earn their CCNA, and a Web Development opportunity where students can work toward an AAS or BAS in Web Design and Development.

Idaho Digital Learning has taken a leadership role throughout Idaho in supporting the Hour of Code, a national education event that takes place each December in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science where anyone can learn the basics and begins to lay the foundation for computer science education for all students ( Research indicates that computing jobs are growing at a rate of three (3) times faster than the number of computer science graduates. More than 50 percent of all math and science jobs are in the field for computer science scientists. Computer science jobs can be are the highest-paying jobs for new graduates. Computational thinking is important across all subjects. Teachers and students start with an Hour of Code and from there the future possibilities are endless.

The partnership between Idaho Digital Learning and provides K-12 teachers throughout Idaho an opportunity to receive professional development in the area of Computer Science. Teachers are invited to participate in different opportunities depending on their grade level and certification areas. To date Idaho Digital Learning has trained over 400 elementary teachers, 64 middle school teachers, and 40 high school teachers. Additionally, we’ve been able to train Idaho teachers as official trainers for Idaho: three elementary, six middle school and four at the high school level.

Computer science is the art of blending human ideas and digital tools. Computer scientists work in many different areas: writing apps for phones, curing diseases, creating animated movies, working on social media, building robots that explore other planets and so much more. Idaho Digital Learning will continue to expand our computer science offerings to help build a stronger economic future for our state.


[1] Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools (2016);

[2] Change the Equation, 2016;


August 31, 2017

Statistics for August 2017

This entry is being posted back-dated.

This month there were 4,592 hits from 2,527 different visitors.  This was down by about 1000 hits, but up by about 100 visitors from July.  Interestingly, it wasup about 800 hits and 500 visitors from August 2016.

The top ten entries over the past 30 days (keeping in mind I’m drafting this message 10 days into August) include:

  1. Student Holiday Notice
  2. We Missed You at Last Week’s Webinar
  3. Questions About The School Of Tomorrow
  4. Special Offer For Your Family From K12
  5. Instructional Technology Dissertation Topics
  6. Introducing Our New Social Media Course at FLVS
  7. FLVS And Web 2.0
  8. December CIDER Session
  9. 20th Beloit College Mindset List Coming Soon
  10. Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education

When you look at the search terms that brought people here, it does make a little sense.

  1. notice for holiday to students
  2. holiday notice for students
  3. notice for holiday in school
  4. ritzhaupt
  5. school holiday notice sample
  6. holiday note to students
  7. early bird
  8. a review of open access literature
  9. school holiday notice format
  10. academia, 251 kearny st., suite 520, san francisco, ca, 94108 unsubscribe privacy policy terms of service

Month after month, I am always amazed at the number of educators (administrators presumably) that are searching for holiday notices – and the number that find my blog blog because of that.  Oh well…

Finally, the statistics from my old blog site (which still does generate some traffic)…


August 14, 2017

EDTECH537 – End Of Course

Seven weeks ago I posted an entry entitled EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom that described a course I have been teaching for the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University this summer semester. During that time I have posted weekly messages to describe what I was asking the students to do and the readings I had assigned.

I have also posted entries for all of the activities I have asked of the students:

I have also posted sample blog entries for each of the different types of entries that I have asked of the students.

Finally, during Week 5 I asked the students to participate in blogging in three different formats (and posted a sample entry for one of those):

This year I also made a point of highlighting things in the monthly statistics entries for my EDTECH537 students.

I always post this summary message for those folks who haven’t been following along for the past seven weeks, as I suspect this will be the closest I ever get to one of those # days to a better blog series.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at