This year, iD Tech is partnering with Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science, to send 100 girls to iD Tech Camps for free. | Virtual Strategy Magazine is an online publication devoted entirely to virtualization technologies.
When the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) was planning to develop and construct Nikola Tesla STEM High School, one concern community members had was that the chosen location in unincorporated King County near Redmond is the site of an aquifer recharge zone.
Paul Pineiro's insight:
Community needs can become authentic project-based STEM curriculum.
Searching for a little enrichment for your kids? There’s a new and exciting way for them to discover creative pursuits in North Andover. The Maker Mill, a community makerspace for kids, teens and parents, opened its doors Saturday, October 4, 2014.
Paul Pineiro's insight:
"The Maker Mill offers workshops for students and teachers in K-12 on electronics, coding, robotics, wearables and e-textiles. Teachers can also bring their classes for exploration field trips."
-- Sharon Adelman Crowley, The Tewksbury Town Crier
"Students are called upon to test and retest their hypotheses, to design, test and redesign an engineering project before presenting a finished product on a topic. Because the student chooses the topic, the process of trial and error does not seem intimidating, but a personal journey and adventure."
Paul Pineiro's insight:
Young people must not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. STEM Engineering Design Process promotes experimentation and learning through trial and error.
At yesterday’s event on College Opportunity, the President and First Lady called for a sustained all-hands-on-deck effort to increase college opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students in America.
October 16th is Ada Lovelace Day, an occasion that celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) throughout history.
Paul Pineiro's insight:
Ada Lovelace (1815 - 1852) wrote the first published description of a stepwise sequence of operations for solving certain mathematical problems and Ada is often referred to as 'the first programmer'. (Source: Science Museum of London)
“The Analytical Engine weaves analytical patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”
STEM education is often cited as the next great frontier for America - a new, New Land where innovation can reinvigorate the economy and provide opportunities for all young people to thrive and not just survive. Despite a clarion call from the White House in 2011 to get “all hands on deck” for STEM, the ship does not have enough qualified crew. The most important thing we can do as a nation right now is to build and sustain an aggressively ambitious feeder system, pre-k through 12th grade. We've got to face the reality that graduates with majors in STEM fields such as engineering, science, math, computer science and technology, are not attracted to teach. Why would they be? STEM majors currently lead to the top ten highest paying salaries out of college (www.payscale.com), salaries that pay significantly greater than the education jobs which rank at the very bottom. There is the added drawback that math, science and computer science majors may not want to enter a field (education) at a time when teachers are so publicly decried. In this climate, state and local funding for the recruitment and retention of highly skilled STEM educators does not seem likely. Enter President Obama’s Federal STEM Education 5-Year Strategic Plan (2013), a framework for the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM). Among the key aspects of this Plan are developing a STEM Master Teacher Corps ($35 million) and funding STEM Teacher Pathways ($80 Million). The administration’s priorities, as outlined in the budget request, align with the five priority areas identified in the strategic plan: K-12 instruction; undergraduate education; graduate education; broadening participation in STEM education and careers; and informal education and out-of-school time. While there are supports coming out of this plan, significant commitment of resources struggles to gain traction in Washington. Even if the President's call for STEM support received stronger support, differentiated pay to attract STEM majors would have has its own unionized hill to climb. It's time to more widely implement innovative options that are already in place. Dual-credit courses offer college and high school credit for exceptional learners who go out to labs for applied learning experiences in authentic settings. These have been around for a long time but let’s make a high school level version of these courses not for college credit but for high school credit. Let’s open them up to all students interested in pursuing college majors and careers in STEM fields. We need more students pursuing STEM coursework so why limit the opportunities to only a small, select population? It is extremely likely that some outstanding, non-traditionally exceptional students will go on to be brilliant innovators. We can preserve the college content and rigor for the dual-credit courses while at the same time having similar educational experiences for more kids. (www.students2science.org,/ for example). Increasing access to STEM coursework would also give the underrepresented populations such as women, Hispanic and Black students a chance to solidify their fragile interests in fields that seem intended for others. How many Nobel Prize winners have we missed by not finding ways to foster self-efficacy in these disciplines for all students? In an off-campus, in-lab model, more students could take advantage of authentic lab-based experiences in the private sector; but, not all experts are necessarily pedagogically savvy. Education training would be needed. Such training would not require years of study. Learning techniques for checking student understanding and differentiation for various learning styles would be the most necessary skills. Instructional design skills would be attainable due to the nature of problem-based, real-world STEM activities. With the help of a school-based teacher consultant, this career-based teacher would have an ideal blend of expertise and pedagogy. Such an arrangement would benefit so many more students and not just the top few percent of a given school. And what about private companies? What makes it worthwhile for them to host such a program? New hires could receive the basic training in pedagogy and work part-time with the students. With a little bit of curriculum development support from the sending school, the skills called for in a course could be aligned with existing company projects. These new hires might serve as outreach teachers for a minimum or indefinite period of time. Private companies would be grooming the next generations for the jobs they will need to fill. Whether or not they track the students through college or offer them incentives or scholarships to come back, the efforts are still helping to prepare a larger population of qualified, future STEM employees who can experience higher rigor in college due to these high school experiences. And what about STEM education within the schools? Hiring STEM experts as school-based teachers is difficult because of collectively bargained pay scales. These scales traditionally do not differentiate by course content or national demand. We should allow exceptionally highly qualified teachers (with very specifically designated credentials) to receive pay that is above and beyond the collectively bargained contract scale. These dollars could come from federal and state grant money (such as the President Obama’s proposed STEM funding) or from local donations from community Education Funds, private business, etc. Now is the time for America to do what it has done so well in the past – discover and leverage new frontiers. But it's clear we need to do so on a massive scale and with many creative and varying perspectives. It's been said that the STEM movement needs "all hands on deck." Let’s extend that metaphor just a bit. A small team of existing experts may be able to build the most sophisticated ship to sale the seas, but will we have enough qualified sailors to steer it? We have tremendous available resources of human capital in our schools; if these resources go untapped, our ship may remain floating aimlessly, hoping by chance to reach America's next frontier. We need to do better than just wait and hope. We need to nurture the innate curiosity of our young students and make their classrooms laboratories of trial and error, not test centers for passing and failing. We need to support curious young minds with hands-on applied middle school math and high school labs that don’t affirm what’s in the textbook but instead stimulate thoughts about what’s not in there. And for this, they need physical resources and expert educators to launch them.
Paul Pineiro's insight:
Now is the time for America to do what it has done so well in the past – discover and leverage new frontiers. But it's clear we need to do so on a massive scale and with many creative and varying perspectives.
If we are to truly solve our energy crisis, then we must engage a lot more children today in learning about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). With our current education system, we are going in the opposite direction....
The new STEM school in Reynoldsburg doesn’t follow the typical science, technology, engineering and math script. Instead, Herbert Mills Elementary has built a STEM identity on weaving government, citizenship and world languages into core lessons.
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