Welcome to the Week of Making The White House will be celebrating the National Week of Making, June 17 -23. We invite libraries, museums, rec centers, schools, universities and community spaces to support and grow the number of our citizen-makers by hosting events, making commitments, and highlighting new innovations.
The week will coincide with the National Maker Faire here in D.C. at the University of D.C. campus on June 18 and 19, which will feature makers from around the country in addition to federal agencies or departments. Last year, exhibitions or presentations at the Faire included: the National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, Institute for Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Homeland Security, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, the Federal Laboratory Consortium, National Endowment for the Arts, General Services Administration and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
This year’s celebration continues the initiative originating in June 2014 when President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire and issued a call to action that “every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.” Last year, President Obama built on the single event by proclaiming a National Week of Making and inviting people of all ages to hold events around the country celebrating ingenuity, inspiring creative problem-solving, and supporting opportunities for those from all backgrounds to tinker and make.
Stay Engaged Communities across America will be sharing and celebrating their involvement in the Maker Movement, using #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMakingon Twitter and Facebook to share their amazing work and connect with other Makers like you.
Want to join in the fun? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
Post photos of a current Maker project you are working on or choose a new project to work on, even asking a couple of friends or family members to build it with you, and tag it with #NationofMakers. You can find fun and creative projects ideas from a variety of websites for Makers. Organize an event and/or host an open house at your local school, library, rec center, makerspace or set up a hangout online to connect and share your inventions with Makers across the country. Be sure to share out the event on so others can find it. Volunteer to be a mentor for someone who is interested in learning a new skill or find a mentor who would be interested in teaching a new skill you’ve been wanting to learn for a while. Create a project of your own and then share the plans for your project online through Maker platforms so others can also make, modify, or remix your project. Organize a maker roundtable, maker town hall, or maker tour to convene thought leaders and decision makers in your community. If you’re an organization or company, encourage your employees to volunteer as an educator and/or mentor to host maker-oriented workshops or classes in your community. Your idea here! Stay updated here, and follow along at #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking.
Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panels could generate 1,118 gigawatts (GW) of energy — more than a third of America’s current energy needs — if installed throughout the most solar-rich regions of the country. These latest figures from the U.S. Energy Department show the staggering potential of decentralized renewable energy.
Already, rooftop solar is booming in certain states like California, which have favorable policies such as net metering — a policy the Golden State preserved earlier this year. In fact, California accounts for the majority of U.S. solar installations and is on pace to meet its goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2035.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in California’s sunny neighbors, Nevada and Arizona, which restricted net metering last year
Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) now have a new mobile app, Mobius, designed to help them navigate the various maker resources available to them on campus.
MIT has more than 130,000 square feet available to makers — more than anywhere else in the world, according to information released by the school. "Yet, according to findings from a student-wide survey conducted last summer, the top two places where MIT students make things are in their dorm rooms and off-campus," according to a news release. "The reason? Students face too many barriers when trying to use MIT's expansive maker infrastructure."
Rebecca Li, one of the app's designers and a student majoring in mechanical engineering, said in a prepared statement that students often must "hijack a club or lab's machine shop access, pay many different membership fees or stumble into little known shops like MITERS [MIT Electronics Research Society] and Maker Works."
Gordon Dahlby's insight:
"There are reasons why students have difficulty getting into these spaces," said Marty Culpepper, "maker czar" at MIT and professor of mechanical engineering who also helped to develop the app, in a prepared statement. "One barrier is knowing where everything is. Another is, how do you get trained, whom do you contact to get trained and once you've been trained, do other shops know you've got that skill set? How do you pay for things if you need to pay for them? All of these things stacked on top of each other make it very difficult not only for students to get things done, but for faculty and their research to get done."
The BBC launches the Micro Bit computer by giving a copy to thousands of Year 7 pupils - but is it too late to inspire a fresh generation of coders?
Gordon Dahlby's insight:
One key feature of the Micro Bits is that they belong not to the schools or the teachers but to the children. It seems, however, that some teachers don't buy into that idea. Drew says significant numbers "seem to be suggesting that they will try to hold on to the devices in schools by discouraging the students from taking them home".
While the Maker Movement continues to grow, it hasn't yet gained its greatest traction, which currently sits untapped in the minds of the students in front of us. Through forming partnerships with community makerspaces or building a school makerspace, educators and decision makers everywhere have the rare chance to help bring this truly all-inclusive learning experience into their schools, districts, and communities in order to help all students. Here are four ways that the "new industrial revolution" will help your students succeed and help breathe life back into your craft.
Fail Better! Spend some time as an educator on social networks like Twitter, and you will quickly come across memes, quotes, and countless links to evidence that failure is a necessary milestone in the learning process. For all the talk of how this sometimes-painful process is vital to growth, people rarely share examples of how to facilitate room for healthy failure in the classroom. Without the necessary structures in place, students can negatively internalize failure as evidence of just another thing that they don't do well.
a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.
The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.
The iconic entrepreneur behind SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Paypal shares his predictions for artificial intelligence, renewable energy and space exploration, in conversation with DFJ General Partner Steve Jurvetson at Stanford on Oct. 7, 2015. University President John Hennessy introduces the future-focused discussion, which follows Musk's journey from his first Internet startup in the mid-nineties to his dream of a Mars
P-TECH completely overhauled the school-to-career pipeline, creating a six-year program that blended the traditional four years of high school with two free years of community college, plus IBM internships and mentorships. And it offered all this to some of the students most underserved by the current system: Most are from low-income families, African-American or Hispanic, and a majority are boys.
The school accepts students by lottery, not entrance exam. That means, unlike other early college programs, there are no academic requirements to get in. The high school's website states boldly: "With a unique 9-14 model, the goal for our diverse, unscreened student population is 100% completion of an associate degree within six years."
Riding the waves of good press, P-TECH was quickly replicated all over the country.
But five years in, a year before the first full graduating class of the original school is expected, the model is showing signs of growing pains. Many of its students failed college courses early on, and internal emails obtained by NPR reveal disagreements across the many parties to this partnership over how best to serve those students.
Mote Marine Laboratory will offer a live Google Hangout with scientist aboard the OCEARCH on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 from 11:30 am-12:30pm ET.
This program is a live, two-way interactive program focused on shark behavior research at Mote Marine Laboratory. Participants will learn how and why Mote Marine Laboratory studies these animals. Participants will discuss shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Participants will discover why sharks are important to the ocean ecosystem and what humans can do to help conserve and protect sharks. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions with our Ocean Experts, Dr. Bob Hueter, Associate Vice President for Research at Mote, and Dr. Heather Marshall, a staff scientist in Mote's Behavioral Ecology & Physiology program. Experts from OCEARCH will also be on hand to discuss the innovative technology and research available on the vessel.
Watch for FREE - Live on YouTube Watch for FREE - Live and interact on the Google Hangout Enhanced Access for Education Groups
Schools and and other education-focused groups are invited to make a Google Hangout session an interactive experience with the ability to ask questions via chat or video. Recommended for ages 11-18; grades 6-12+.
Sign up your education group to make your #ExpeditionJAX experience fully interactive.
As our planet continues to warm, coastlines worldwide will retreat inland — in the long run, maybe by a lot. That means some coastal cities, in places like Florida — where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated precisely this topic on Wednesday night — stand to lose quite a lot of land where people currently live and own property.
It seems doubtful that we can defend all of the many coastal zones that will be at risk. So is there any other way to head off sea level rise?
It may sound ridiculous to even contemplate. But in a new study just out in the open access journal Earth System Dynamics, scientists have actually published an idea for doing that and provided some calculations regarding the scale of what it would take. That scale turns out to be simply massive, ultimately rendering the idea about as unfathomable as the oceans themselves.
But then, that’s kind of the point.
“This is not a proposition,” said Anders Levermann, a sea-level expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the study’s authors. “It’s a discussion. It’s supposed to initiate the discussion on how big the sea level problem really is.” The paper was composed by Levermann and fellow researchers Katja Frieler and Matthias Mengel.
NSF INCLUDES is a comprehensive initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering discovery and innovation by proactively seeking and effectively developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent from all sectors and groups in our society. By facilitating partnerships, communication and cooperation, NSF aims to build on and scale up what works in broadening participation programs to reach underserved populations nationwide.
The NSF INCLUDES (NSF 16-048) Dear Colleague Letter from NSF Director France Córdova introduces the program’s rationale, context and goals. Dr. Córdova challenges university and college presidents and chancellors, and heads of organizations, to step up as leaders in NSF INCLUDES.
Science and Technology Research News (STRN), a site posting news with discoveries from researchers around the world, has been created for STEM students and faculty.
Designed specifically for those students interested in pursuing science or technology careers, STRN’s objective is to help students stay on top of the latest developments in of their area of study.
“We gather news from the research community to help students stay up-to-date on the latest discoveries and developments going on all around the world,” said publisher, Ray Rasmussen. “We sort through hundreds of news items everyday from great research universities like: MIT, Caltech, Cal Berkeley, Stanford, UCL, Hokkaido, Twente, McGill, KAIST, along with hundreds more. In addition, we gather news from dozens of government research labs in the U.S., Europe and Asia along with items from innovative companies like IBM, Google and Siemens.
For students choosing a STEM curriculum, STRN provides a daily snapshot of the many discoveries and innovations from leading scientists and technologists. STRN was created to offer students a comprehensive view of their area of study and, perhaps, open them up to another area of interest. “Very few students entering university have a good grasp on what really interests them. Sure, they have an aptitude for science or technology but, for many, their exposure to all the different facets of what STEM offers, is limited. STRN gives them an opportunity to see what else is out there. It’s our hope that we can help them discover their passion,” said Rasmussen.
Amidst the discussions about content standards, curriculum and teaching strategies, it’s easy to lose sight of the big goals behind education, like giving students tools to deepen their quantitative and qualitative understanding of the world. Teaching for understanding has always been a challenge, which is why Harvard’s Project Zero has been trying to figure out how great teachers do it.
Some teachers discuss metacognition with students, but they often simplify the concept by describing only one of its parts — thinking about thinking. Teachers are trying to get students to slow down and take note of how and why they are thinking and to see thinking as an action they are taking. But two other core components of metacognition often get left out of these discussions — monitoring thinking and directing thinking. When a student is reading and stops to realize he’s not really understanding the meaning behind the words, that’s monitoring. And most powerfully, directing thinking happens when students can call upon specific thinking strategies to redirect or challenge their own thinking.
“When we have a rich meta-strategic base for our thinking, that helps us to be more independent learners,” said Project Zero senior research associate Ron Ritchhart at a Learning and the Brain conference. “If we don’t have those strategies, if we aren’t aware of them, then we’re waiting for someone else to direct our thinking.”
The U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015 Year in Review report was just released and is full of good news for the industry. Solar energy had another record-breaking year in 2015, installing nearly 7.3 gigawatts of new capacity. Meanwhile, pricing for U.S. solar systems decreased by 17 percent from 2014.
For the residential market, average prices were at $3.50 per watt for installed solar energy generation capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015. For those who aren’t familiar: Price per watt is a way to compare the capital costs of different forms of electricity generation. It refers to the ability to produce a watt of electricity compared to the investment dollars spent, and doesn’t refer to how much homeowners will pay for a watt of energy from their system once it’s installed.
“Material costs for panels and equipment have dropped, while energy production has increased due to greater solar panel efficiency,” said Nir Maimon, CEO of Sol Reliable, a solar installation and green-energy solutions company headquartered in Los Angeles that services residential and commercial customers throughout California.
The residential solar market had an amazing year in 2015, with 2,099 megawatts installed. This represents a 66 percent increase from 2014. Again in 2015, California led the market with nearly half of the residential solar PV installations. Relatively high electricity costs, a variety of financing options and utility-rebate programs make this an ideal market.
NPR’s Morning Edition Live From Youth Radio March 18th, 2016
NPR’s Morning Edition is broadcasting live from Youth Radio’s downtown Oakland studios starting Monday, March 21 for the whole week. Host David Greene and the NPR crew will partner with Youth Radio’s local young reporters to co-produce and co-host stories covering Bay Area and national hot topics, trends and culture—all from a youth perspective. Throughout the week, listeners will…
Engineering education is starting to gain a larger foothold in K-12 classrooms.
Global competition and a dearth of qualified engineers have helped drive engineering into the national spotlight, with places in the Next Generation Science Standards and the Every Student Succeeds Act. As more schools incorporate projects into the classroom, engineering is taking its place as a gateway into science and math, and helping students understand how to apply what they learn in the two subjects.
"It's a really exciting time for engineering education here in the United States," said Thea Sahr, director of programs for DiscoverE, which kicked off National Engineers Week on February 21. "It feels like after many years and many folks doing lots of hard work, that engineering education is making inroads in the classroom."
Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has elevated the status of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Engineers from Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms have also been volunteering their time to do hands-on projects with students. But there's still work to be done.
For engineering education to reach its pinnacle, technology and engineering literacy should be mandatory in K-12 education, said Steve Barbato, executive director of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.
"Every student needs to learn and understand engineering design, engineering design concepts, engineering habits of mind to help improve their quality of life moving forward," Barbato said.
Jobs in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying careers for college graduates, and with the pervasiveness of technology in our daily lives, learning to code is increasingly seen as foundational and essential for learning—not unlike reading, writing, and arithmetic. President Obama in a January weekly radio address latched onto the comparison: “In the new economy … it’s a basic skill, right along with the three ‘Rs.’” And the White House has put a lot of stock in that idea, reserving $4 billion in its 2017 federal budget proposal for states to bolster computer-science education, and $100 million of those funds targeted for school districts to establish and expand computer science in classrooms across the country.
As the chorus cheering the importance of computing has grown louder, so has the call to create more ways for historically marginalized groups to gain a foothold in tech companies. Kimberly Bryant, the founder and executive director of Black Girls Code, set out to “literally change the face of the [tech] industry” by giving young women of color exposure and hands-on training. Additionally, she sought to remove the cultural isolation she experienced throughout her schooling and career as an electrical engineer. Bryant’s group boasts that 5,000 girls have been served since 2011 by its programs—weekend, after-school, and summer coding camps and workshops—presumably creating a pipeline for youth of color into an industry that is categorically white and male-dominated.
Gordon Dahlby's insight:
'In the rush to feed the pipeline, though, some are questioning what was overlooked. Educators and technology professionals are voicing concerns about the singular focus on coding—for all students, whether learning coding is enough to build computational thinking and knowledge,'
Driving Question: How might school-wide STEAM instruction increase student learning?
The Bullis Charter School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program is the cornerstone of our core curriculum. The first goal of our STEAM program is to make innovative, engaging, rigorous education available to all students at all levels, The second is to facilitate a deeper conceptual understanding of the material in a meaningful way.
STEAM, delivered through instructional methods like Project-Based Learning and Design Thinking, allows students to apply their knowledge in order to create solutions for real-world situations. Students pull together information they have learned across the STEAM disciplines in one meaningful inquiry-based project.
OUR SCHOOL'S MISSION Bullis Charter School is committed to its mission statement, especially "using a global perspective to teach about the interconnectedness of communities and their environments. The Bullis Charter School program nurtures mutual respect, civic responsibility, and a life-long love of learning." Our expectation is that all students gain the skills to be successful and responsible global participants. This means all students need to be able to communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically (both in terms of evaluating media and information as well as problem-solving), and use innovative and creative approaches to solve the problems of today.
Excerpted with permission from From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives, by Jeffrey E. Garten (HarperCollins, 2016)
In From Silk to Silicon, a colorful history of globalization, Jeffrey E. Garten, former dean of the Yale School of Management, has identified 10 people who fundamentally changed the world over the past millennium by making it smaller, more connected, and otherwise better. The roster of characters includes military genius Genghis Khan and Cyrus Field, the pioneer of the trans-Atlantic telegraph. The individuals profiled were not just thinkers — they were doers. And each ushered in an age that continues to echo loudly today. In the following excerpt, Garten tells the story of former Intel CEO Andy Grove and the dawn of the third industrial revolution.
Andy Grove was not a pathbreaking scientist. He did not author anything so important as the law associated with Gordon Moore. He was never a household name like Bill Gates. Unlike Steve Jobs, he was not a design genius, nor did he have the same intuition for consumer sentiment. But no person had as much to do with making possible the third industrial revolution as this Hungarian immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1956.
The first industrial revolution began in late 18th-century England with the mechanization of the textile industry. The second took off in early 20th-century America with innovations such as the assembly line and mass production. The third — the one we’re living through today — gestated in Silicon Valley, and is powered by communications technology, particularly the Internet and digitization. The driving force behind this latest industrial revolution is the tiny microprocessor, the closest thing to the brains of a computer. Historian John Steele Gordon has called the microprocessor the most fundamental new technology since the steam engine.
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