The Board of Regents next week will consider state Education Department recommendations to make the global history and geography exam optional. Instead, students could take an additional math, science or vocational exam, starting with freshmen who enter high school in 2013.
Why? To focus on STEM topics that relate to jobs. Historians are noted as complaining, but no geographers.
Beltway companies are digging in when it comes to growing more students (aka future employees) in STEM (science, technolgy, engineering and math). Northrop Grumman aims to put half of its charitable giving into STEM education. And BAE is working specifically on geospatial STEM.
This summer, BAE Systems plans to host a month-long program in Reston meant to introduce at-risk high-schoolers to the kind of geospatial technology BAE has created to help the military and intelligence agencies see information on maps.
The idea, said Josh K. Weerasinghe, vice president for global market development in BAE’s intelligence and security unit, is to move students “over this hurdle from an interest to something that’s very real, that makes them look at college as really a positive alternative.
How do you get good summer GIS coders? Hold a contest. That's what Snowflake Software did at the Electronics and Computer Science program at the University of Southampton. The prize for the winner of the Code-Off is a summer internship.
The hotly contested event involved first and second-year Computer Science students, and saw many innovative approaches to the task, which was to visualize some OS MasterMap GML data from Ordnance Survey. The winner at the end of the day was first-year undergraduate Computer Scientist, Hendrik (Henco) Appel.
Ian Painter, Managing Director of Snowflake Software, comments: "OS MasterMap from Ordnance Survey is the most detailed map in the world – we’re talking hundreds of millions of map features. So firstly scalability in reading the data is very important. Henco’s selection of the SAX parser was a really good choice (especially given that he’d never used one before). Next up was displaying the data - to render OS MasterMap is no mean feat, so seeing some extensive use of Graphics2D was again a good choice. Finally, and what stood out the most for me, was Henco’s use of the attributes on OS MasterMap to enable the switching of the data themes. All in all Henco’s coding covered the three key areas: importing, displaying and interacting."