Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”

English: Iconic image of graphic design.
English: Iconic image of graphic design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Students need to know more than basic coding skills.

These days many designers can code–an increasingly important skill for landing a job. But few are just as fluent in their own language as they are in Javascript. That presents a serious problem in terms of design. Users still depend on copy to interact with apps and other products. If designers don’t know how to write well, the final product–be it a physical or digital one–can suffer as a result.

In his “2017 Design in Tech Report,” John Maeda writes that “code is not the only unicorn skill.” According to Maeda, who is the head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic and former VP of design at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, words can be just as powerful as the graphics in which designers normally traffic. “A lot of times designers don’t know that words are important,” he said while presenting the report at SXSW this weekend. “I know a few designers like that–do you know these designers out there? You do know them, right?”

From FastCompany

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Why girls are put off studying computer science

Despite the phenomenal rise in computing over the last 50 years, the birth of the internet, and our ever increasing reliance on technology, women are still not engaging with computer science at the same rate as men.

This has been outlined in a recent report from the University of Roehampton, which reveals that only 9% of girls schools offer computing at A-level, compared with 44% of boys schools, and 25% of mixed-sex sixth forms and colleges.

The report shows that in 2016 only a minority of schools (29%) entered pupils for GCSE computing – despite it being a foundation subject on the national curriculum. The figure is even lower at A-level, with only 24% of schools entering their students for the qualification.

Things don’t fair any better in further education either, with the Digest of Education statistics revealing the percentage of females who took an undergraduate degree in computer science in 1970-71 was 14%. This rose to 37% in 1983-84 but gradually declined to 18% in 2010-11.

Source: Why girls are put off studying computer science

Beyond the National Student Survey – Student Experience Company @SXManagement

Our White Paper, “Beyond the National Student Survey” outlines key principles for improving student experience. It:

Summarises the changes and discontinuities that are shaping student experience expectations.

Overviews the changes contained in the Government White Paper, “Success as a Knowledge Economy“.

Outlines ten significant problems of the National Student Survey.

Defines six key principles for defining and managing student experience.

Source: Beyond the National Student Survey – Student Experience Company

The National Student Survey should be abolished before it does any more harm | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

English: Title page from Sarah Trimmer's The G...
English: Title page from Sarah Trimmer’s The Guardian of Education, vol. I, 1802 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The annual ritual of the publication of the National Student Survey (NSS) results has triggered fevered data dissection at universities across the UK this week. But the analysis, and the subsequent press releases and poster campaigns, represent merely a stage in a continual cycle of NSS-driven activity.

Universities now run ongoing campaigns to solicit student feedback, review practice in line with student demands, publicise changes made, and promote completion of the survey itself, in order to rank highly for satisfaction in league tables. All this time and effort comes at some expense to institutions; just the cost of rewarding survey-completers with vouchers would cover a lecturer’s salary at many institutions.The time has come to review what students, and higher education more broadly, gains from this considerable investment.

Source: The National Student Survey should be abolished before it does any more harm | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Forget New Year Resolutions – The 1st of February is the time to set your plans for the new year.

The first of January is always a bad time to start anything new. Everything conspires to ensure that resolutions are forgotten within weeks, or even days, of the bells being rung.

Why not, then use the first of February as the date to examine your goals for the coming year.

The new year always inspires us to make changes and set goals to better ourselves and be more productive. Bad habits built up over the years can make you sluggish on the job. In order to flip the switch and make this coming year your most productive yet, you need to change your environment, eliminate your temptations, and adjust your mindset to turn bad habits into good habits. It only takes about 30 days of a new activity to create a new habit, so get started with these tips and by February, you’ll be your

Source: Make 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet – Microsoft Partner Network

Why girls are put off studying computer science from @ConversationUK

Despite the phenomenal rise in computing over the last 50 years, the birth of the internet, and our ever increasing reliance on technology, women are still not engaging with computer science at the same rate as men.

This has been outlined in a recent report from the University of Roehampton, which reveals that only 9% of girls schools offer computing at A-level, compared with 44% of boys schools, and 25% of mixed-sex sixth forms and colleges.

The report shows that in 2016 only a minority of schools (29%) entered pupils for GCSE computing – despite it being a foundation subject on the national curriculum. The figure is even lower at A-level, with only 24% of schools entering their students for the qualification.

Things don’t fair any better in further education either, with the Digest of Education statistics revealing the percentage of females who took an undergraduate degree in computer science in 1970-71 was 14%. This rose to 37% in 1983-84 but gradually declined to 18% in 2010-11.

In the current age, these statistics are depressing, especially as being a “computer scientist”, rather than “computer literate”, is becoming increasingly important. And as deep learning, machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence enter common usage, it is useful for all genders to have an appreciation and engagement with these technologies – not just the boys.

Source: Why girls are put off studying computer science

Setting Up a Raspberry Pi Web Server | Ben Walters – Blog

Ever since it’s introduction early 2012, the Raspberry Pi has proven itself to be an extremely capable little machine. For less than $30, you get a credit card-sized computer capable of automating home systems, powering robots, or even serving as a basic desktop computer.

This tutorial however, focuses specifically on getting your Raspberry Pi set up to run as your very own web server. In addition, we’ll cover how to set up Dynamic DNS records, so you can access your sites/files even when you’re away from your home network without having to remember an always-changing IP address.

“That’s cool and all…but what am I going to do with my own web server?”

Great question! The quick answer is: Whatever you want! To be more specific, you can:

  • Set up your own, private Dropbox-style cloud storage for your personal files/videos/images
  • Create a site that interfaces with your home security cameras and check them remotely
  • Host your own low-traffic webpages
  • Etc.

Beyond the web server-specific functions, a Pi with dynamic DNS set up can be used to:

  • Host your own Minecraft server (tutorial)
  • Run your own Git server (tutorial)
  • And much more!

Disclaimer: The Raspberry Pi is great as a lightweight web server for personal use and experimenting. However, if you are interested in hosting a heavily trafficked site like a blog, I’d highly recommend hosting your content on a third-party web host. In addition, most ISP‘s aren’t particularly interested in letting their customers host their own web servers, and a self-hosted web server with a lot of external requests can raise some flags and even slow down your home network connection.

With all that out of the way, let’s get started!

Source: Ben Walters – Blog