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This summer IT-oLogy has had the opportunity to work with many great interns, each with their own sets of interests, skills, and goals. We are happy to introduce them to the blog  and hope that the information technology community will welcome them as talented students and future IT professionals. Introducing our first “Meet the IT-oLogy Interns” feature, Daniel Standerwick!

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Name: Daniel Standerwick

Age: 16

School: Spring Valley High School

When did you first get interested in IT? How? When I first started middle school I wanted to find out how the people in the games I was playing moved. So I looked into it and found out about 3D animation. From there I have taken every art class in school to get closer to becoming a 3D animator.

How did you find out about IT-oLogy? I was looking online for a place to complete my internship and get some experience in the IT field. IT-oLogy came up in the search results and I took a shot at it.

What parts of IT are you interested in? Why? 3D animation! When I first started middle school I wanted to find out how the people in the games I was playing moved, so I looked into it and found out about 3D animation.

Why do you think IT is important? IT is the only way to go in a technological world. IT teaches you how to get a step ahead of the competitors technology-wise.

Who has helped you get involved in IT? My parents are really supportive. When I was around five my parents got me my first computer. When I told my parents I wanted to start focusing on 3D animation they were willing to get me any software and hardware I needed, but getting involved was all on my own. I researched how games worked and how animated movies are made. It all just amazed me so much that I had to follow up and get more involved.

 How does IT affect your day to day life? I find myself looking deeper into games and movies than what’s just on the surface. I notice if an animation glitches for a second, or if a polygon of a figure is overlapping with another. It’s made me a critic of movies and games.

Where would you like to work someday? In what position? I would like to one day become Lead Animator for a company’s project, but it doesn’t matter where, be it a major company or a small group as long as I’m doing what I love and I’m happy that’s all I need.

What are your plans for after high school? I have a few choices for college, one of which is SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) for a MFA (Master of Fine Arts), and another  is The Living Arts College for a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts). We’ll see what happens!

Hummingbird-dogThe Hummingbird Robotics Kit is a spin-off product of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab. Hummingbird is designed to enable engineering and robotics activities for ages 13 and up (10 with adult supervision) that involve the making of robots, kinetic sculptures, and animatronics built out of a combination of kit parts and crafting materials. Hummingbird kits come with all the robot guts you need: pre-wired LED lights, motors, five types of sensors, and a controller that connects to the computer via USB. It also includes free graphical software for programming the robots. Hummingbird is used in hundreds of schools, and has been integrated with art, science, math, and even history and language arts courses. It’s a great way to introduce engineering, CS, and IT skills into the K-12 curriculum.

The company behind Hummingbird, BirdBrain Technologies, partnered with IT-oLogy to bring three free Hummingbird teacher training workshops to IT-oLogy locations in Columbia and Charlotte. In these workshops, teachers learn how to build, wire, and program their own robots. The workshop usually begins with a description of Hummingbird’s origins at Carnegie Mellon, followed by 1-2 hours of guided time where teachers connect electronics to the core Hummingbird controller and learn how to program, which is then followed by 2-3 hours of open building time. Teachers had to make and program a robot that uses at least one sensor, two lights, and a motor: The results are endlessly diverse – cartoon characters, buildings with drawbridges, flowers that open and close, and more!DragonKO

At one of the workshops, we observed exactly how intensely interested teachers were in building their robots. The caterer providing lunch to the workshop arrived over two hours late, but even after announcing that lunch was (finally) here, most teachers continued working on their robots instead of grabbing food immediately!

BirdBrain Technologies is currently launching a new version of their Hummingbird kits on Kickstarter. The new kit, dubbed “Duo”, adds many of the features requested by BirdBrain Technologies’ core community of teachers: Tetherless operation, Arduino mode, and more minor improvements like wheels for motors, solid-ended leads, improved sound sensing, and color-coding of the connectors by function. The Hummingbird Duo may be the first electronics kit that is fun and educational for a fourth grader, a high school student, a college engineering student, or an adult maker. Duo provides several levels of engineering and technology learning. Instead of a steep learning curve, learners go up a staircase where each step increases skills and where mastering each step allows one to use the Hummingbird in a new and more interesting way. For more information and to back the Hummingbird Duo KickStarter project visit, their Kickstarter page here.

IT-oLogy WISE

Computing-related occupations are projected to be the fifth fastest growing segment of the professional workforce through 2022, and computing has the second highest median annual wage of all occupational categories. Yet in 2013, women held only 26% of computing occupations although they held 57% of all US workforce professional occupations. Improving the gender balance in computing can lead to a more diverse and competitive workforce while offering families more stability.

Charlotte WISE is dedicated to doing just that -  increasing the percentage of women in the IT talent pipeline. Charlotte WISE (Women in Information Technology Science and Engineering) is now a  GROW IT  program of IT-oLogy.  Although new to IT-oLogy, WISE has a 10 year history in Charlotte bringing businesses, educational institutions and organizations together through outreach, professional development events and networking opportunities promoting opportunity and creating visibility to the many  IT careers available for girls and advancing women in the IT profession.

WISE outreach programs include awarding college scholarships to qualified young women high school seniors who plan to pursue degrees in IT and recognizing girls  in grades 9 -12 for their accomplishments in IT as part of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations awards.

The LeadHERship series of events offer business and IT relevant round table discussions, executive panel presentations, networking opportunities and more. The next event, in partnership with NCWIT, is planned for late summer.

Join us as we work together to create a more diverse and competitive workforce. For more information or to get involved, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

Last week IT-oLogy hosted the IT-oLogy Open Hardware Summer Camp, a four day program where twelve students got the chance to learn, practice, and play with cool technology like 3D printing, Hummingbird Robotics, and Rasberry Pi. A favorite activity of the students? Getting scanned to create 3D printed busts! The scans were used by IT-oLogy’s 3D printing machine to create bright green busts, which the students were happy to show off for our camera! Can you see the resemblance?

The students didn’t just work, though. They also put together a stop motion video in our theater during one of their lunch breaks! Check out all of their hard work – we think these students will be the future of IT.

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To view more photos of the Open Hardware Summer Camp students, visit our Facebook page!

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COLUMBIA, SC, JUNE 24, 2014 – IT-oLogy has been selected by Code.org as the South Carolina Affiliate for the national code.org affiliate program. IT-oLogy is among approximately 100 Affiliates nationwide.

IT-oLogy will attend a summit this summer to prepare for local workshops as part of a 2014-2015 pilot program. The program is a nation-wide program focused on preparing elementary school teachers to teach a newly developed curriculum in computing  which includes three bands of courses: early-elementary (grades K-1), middle-elementary (grades 2-3), and late-elementary (grades 4-5) students.

code.orgThese experiences blend online, self-guided and self-paced tutorials with “unplugged” activities – lessons that teach computing concepts without a computer. Each level consists of about 20 lessons that may be implemented as one contiguous unit or one lesson a week for a semester. Each lesson may be implemented within a standard 45-50 minute class period.

DID YOU KNOW**

Computer science is driving job growth and innovation throughout our economy and society. More than half of projected jobs in STEM fields are in computing occupations; these occupations dominate “help wanted” ads; and computer science is one of the hottest degrees for new college graduates. Despite this, computer science education is marginalized throughout our K-12 education system—denying access to this critical knowledge, particularly among underrepresented groups. In fact, only 22 states and the District of Columbia allow rigorous and engaging computer science courses to satisfy a math or science requirement for graduation from high school.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts one in every two STEM jobs in the country will be in computing occupations, with more than 150,000 job openings annually making it one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. And these jobs pay 75 percent more than the national median annual salary. Finally the breadth of industries requiring computing professionals is diverse — two-thirds of computing jobs are in sectors other than information technology, including manufacturing, defense, health care, finance, and government.

Computer science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at 2x the national average.

9 out of 10 schools don’t even offer computer programming.

In 2012, fewer than 3,000 African American and Hispanic students took the AP Computer Science exam.

Exposure to CS leads to some of the best paying jobs in the world, but 75% of our population is unrepresented.

In 28 of the 50 states, computer science can’t even count towards high school graduation math or science requirements.

While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.

Less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science and the numbers have dropped since the last decade.

** http://code.org/promote

About IT-oLogy®

IT-oLogy is a non-profit collaboration of businesses, academic institutions, and other organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline and advancing the IT profession. IT-oLogy has three major initiatives: Promote IT (K-12 schools), Teach IT (Higher Education) and Grow IT (Professionals and Businesses). For more information about IT-oLogy, visit www.it-ology.org or contact Rachel Barnett at rachel.barnett@it-ology.org or 803-354-5735. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Code.org®

Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. We believe computer science should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

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Charlotte Regional Blue Diamond Awards Update:

Nominations Open in August  

IT-oLogy presents the Blue Diamond Awards, the premier annual recognition of regional achievements in technology.  For 20 years, these recognitions helped to attract IT talent and new economic development in the region.  After a seven year void, we have much to celebrate.

We are searching the 16 county region for the best innovators, innovation, IT solutions and recruiters. Company teams, individuals and scholars are recognized – so everyone has the opportunity to reach for a ‘diamond’.

The eight celebrated awards are: 1) Human Capital   2) Community Outreach 3) Student Innovator 4) Cool Innovation 5) IT Entrepreneur  6) Business Value – Corporate   7) Business Value – Small/ Medium  and 8) Business Value – Non-profit.

More than 500 business and technology leaders and practitioners, entrepreneurs, suppliers and educators gather to recognize the regions IT talent and significant achievements in leveraging technology to support business innovation and growth.  So now is the time to think about nominating. .

For information or to get involved, go to www.bluediamondawards.com.

From IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Kay Read:

Clarissa Rainear, a talented Providence HS junior, is interested in pursuing computer science/information technology as a career and frequently discussed the importance of computer science with her classmates.  She requested an interview with me with the purpose to learn about IT-oLogy and its work in the Charlotte branch.  Clarissa planned to submit a feature article for her annual high school literary magazine, Roars and Whispers.

Not only was Clarissa’s article published, she recently shared with me that her feature article, “Behind the Screen,” was recently awarded first place for the Literary Magazine Feature Article category by the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association! This is one of the highest honors that writing can be awarded in this state. Congratulations to Clarissa, a rising leader in IT.

Behind the Screen

Clarissa RaniearThousands of fingers punch thousands of keys on thousands of phones. Text message alerts chime like birdsong amidst the click of smartphone cameras and the vibrations of social media posts. Our world is an endless stream of filters and likes, six-second videos, pinning and snapchatting. We are the Information Generation. But beneath the crisp white homepage of YouTube lie thousands of lines of computer code, the secret language that dictates just how big a thumbs-up icon is and what happens when “Miley Cyrus” is typed into a search bar. IT-oLogy is a non-profit organization created to address the shortage of information technicians who write this code.

Kay Read, Executive Director of IT-oLogy in Charlotte, works to connect local students with the “ecosystem of information technology” in Charlotte. “When kids think about IT,” says Read, “they think they’ll have to work behind a computer all day coding, but that’s just one of the many different information technology jobs. There’s also an idea that it’s too geek, and the thought of ‘I can’t do that.’ But you can do it.”

Cyber Saturdays, an IT-oLogy program underwritten by Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds effort, offers middle and high school students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with information technology. Over three hundred participants have learned to write code and build their own websites while working with professionals in the field.  Read says their goal is to “connect with anyone who is interested in IT,” even providing computers for those who may not have technology access at home. Cyber Saturdays touch “so many students and volunteers and parents,” Read says. “It’s part of that awareness effort. The greater number of people we can connect to, the better.”

IT-oLogy also partners with local and national companies to create student internships. Companies who participate in these internships often hire their student interns after graduation. These internships, along with scholarship awards to students interested in information technology, reflect IT-oLogy’s goal of incorporating information technology into educational programs.  Local schools are beginning to recognize the importance of technology education. CMS is offering an increasing number of computer courses, including AP Computer Science, Computer Programming, and Multimedia and Web Design.

IT-oLogy has already connected hundreds of students to new career possibilities. A local museum in Columbia, South Carolina, asked the nonprofit to recruit teenagers to prepare a website for their latest exhibit. One student, known for her talent in fashion design, originally declined to participate because she did not believe that art was an important aspect of computer science. But after watching students in IT-oLogy work on webpage design, her interest in information technology grew. To her surprise, the design process tied directly into her love of art. She is now seeking a major in computer science and information technology.

Kay Read and IT-oLogy are looking forward to creating a thriving information technology community in Charlotte. “There is a perception that Charlotte is a consumer of technology, but not a creator of it,” states Read. “We want to put Charlotte on the technology map.” Perhaps we can look forward to an Instagrammed #ThrowbackThursday contrasting 2014 Charlotte, mere consumer of IT, with a future Charlotte flourishing as a hub of technology innovations.

Todd LewisThe following is a post by IT-oLogy Columbia Executive Director Todd Lewis.

As we at IT-oLogy continue our college roadshow to promote Coursepower and the 18 hour Applied Computing minor one thing is becoming clear – student and parent interest is extremely high.

While the sheer level of interest has been mildly surprising even to us, I do believe it is yet another indicator that technology education is increasingly being viewed as a must have as opposed to something optional that one may or may not use. I can say without hesitation this would not have occurred just two or three years ago.

The most common response we get from parents and students, along with a positive head nod is “absolutely, makes perfect sense…technology really is in everything these days.” As proof, we now have more than 300 students signed up to receive CoursePower specifics and more information after just a few new student orientation sessions, and we expect between 750 and 1,000 before sessions end in early August. For a new minor that few if any of the people we’re talking to have heard of, that is amazing.

What does this mean and why should you be interested? For those in middle or high school it means a tremendous option is available to you as you consider and enter college, one that will make you more marketable and may increase your earning potential. The same goes for existing college students and even professionals needing a baseline understanding of tech. For businesses it means a supply of graduates with foundational technology skills will soon be available. For economic development officials it means they now have a competitive advantage when recruiting businesses of all types, because every business is enabled by IT and needs skilled workers. For everyday citizens, it means more businesses will be retained and recruited, which enhances the tax base and creates more opportunity for everyone.

As we continue to grow IT-oLogy and promote programs like CoursePower, we continue to need the help of everyone to make it a success. If you haven’t been invited to join us, consider this an invitation and contact us today. We need CoursePower ambassadors who understand the program and can passionately spread the word, as well as teachers, counselors, advisors, and administrators to help advance IT curriculum and the profession in general.

We hope you join us and change the system and society as we know it. We are truly at the beginning of something transformative.

Visit www.coursepower.org for more information.

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Connections 2014 in review

June 19th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

Thank you to all who attended, supported, or were involved with Connections 2014! The event offered a great opportunity for leaders in all industries to show and be shown how IT can enhance their businesses, organizations, and areas of work. We received overwhelmingly positive responses to the event, and can’t wait for our next professional conference, Trends 2014, in September. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

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Stay tuned to find more information about Trends 2014!

 

Looking for activities for your tech-savvy child this summer?  IT-oLogy can help you find the right program or activity. 

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  • Cyber Saturday
  • University of South Carolina Summer Camps

  • Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Summer Camp
  • On Their Own
    • Little BitsUse the Little Bits Starter Kit and Expansion Kits to build various electrical prototypes. No programming required.
    • LEGO MindstormsCreate small, customizable and programmable robots using LEGO pieces.
    • Computer Science UnpluggedCS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. The activities introduce students to underlying concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details we usually see with computers.
    • ScratchUse Scratch, a visual programming language to create animations and games using block programming.
    • Lightbot 2.0Lightbot 2.0 is a free programming game that is played through a browser.  Through simple commands, players learn about programming, functions, recursion, and conditionals.
    • AliceUse Alice to create a 3D animation using programming concepts.
    • Kodu Game LabCreate you own interactive game using Kodu, which is free and requires no design or programming experience.
    • BlocklyBlockly is a web-based, graphical programming editor. Users can drag blocks together to build an application. No typing required.
    • GimpGimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source image retouching and editing tool similar to Photoshop. Use Gimp edit or create images to make them their own.
    • Mozilla Popcorn MakerUse a Mozilla web browser to combine video and audio with content from the rest of the web — from text, links and maps to pictures and live feeds.
    • MIT’s App Inventor – App Inventor lets you develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either a connected phone or emulator. The App Inventor servers store your work and help you keep track of your projects.
    • CodeacademyOnline programming tutorials in HTML & CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby
    • Code.org K-8 Intro to Computer Science – Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming. This is a game-like, self-directed tutorial starring video lectures by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. Learn repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. Available in 34 languages.
    • Code Avengers – Code Avengers has free interactive online courses that teach the basics of web design and computer programming, in a way that makes learning fun and effective.
    • Micro CareerBurstsMicroburst Learning, in partnership with businesses, has developed interactive presentations on specific IT Careers.  Log into the MicroCareerBurst website, choose an IT career, and complete the activity.

Contact Alicia Thibaudet at Alicia.thibaudet@it-ology.org for recommendations, resources and info.