What will education look like a decade or so from now? The demands of a changing society are predicted to alter the job landscape drastically for today’s grade school students: a projected 65% of them will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. It only makes sense, then, that education will have to evolve to prepare students for that future. Check out this infographic on this very subject, that illustrates the move from a classroom-centered learning environment to a new set of virtual environments tailored to a changing employment landscape.
See on www.fastcoexist.com
On Wired‘s “Geekmom” blog, Rebecca Angel recapped her interview with Carlos Contreras, Intel’s Education Director, about the state of STEM education in the US.
Pointing out that American students have a long way to go when it comes to matching their international peers’ performance on tests that require creative, complex thinking, Contreras feels that parents have a role to play in engaging young children in the kinds of activities that foster a spirit of inquiry. “Whatever the passion of the parent is, there is science behind it, whether it’s cooking or whatever hobby they are into,” he said. “There is science there, and get your kids to experiment.”
Encouraging students to explore science and work to find the solutions to the questions they have can be invaluable. Mentoring programs, like Project Engage in Massachusetts — which arose out of a multifaceted collaboration of professionals including representatives from Intel, MSSEF the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, and two public school districts — can be instrumental in lighting the spark that could lead to a great STEM career.
Click here to read Rebecca’s entire interview with Carlos Contreras.
In an interesting collision of pop culture and science, MIT unveiled a new reality video series this week called “ChemLab Boot Camp.” The series follows MIT freshmen as they progress through the four-week-long Introductory Lab Techniques course. It’s geek entertainment with a mission. According to MIT Professor John Essigmann, “We hope to show the human side of our field and to inspire young people to want to become the next generation of chemists.”
The show, which premieres officially in September, promises to give viewers a front-row seat on hands-on learning at its finest. It also has the potential to deliver a little drama: Students who succeed in the class have a guaranteed job in a MIT research lab. Stay tuned…!
See on www.insidehighered.com
NASA’s “Mohawk Guy” Bobak Ferdowski — a flight director for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission — has been the subject of some unexpected curiosity, himself. With his hair-raising style and winning personality, Ferdowski seems to be taking his new-found fame in style. The Washington Post’s Haley Crum had the opportunity to ask Ferdowski reader-submitted questions. Here’s his response to an inquiry about STEM education and his possible role in motivating the next generation of scientists.
See on www.washingtonpost.com
A $1 billion plan announced by President Obama yesterday would provide for the creation of a corps of exemplary “master teachers” in STEM subjects who would lend their expertise to mentoring other teachers in all 50 states. In exchange, each teacher would receive a salary boost of $20,000 annually. The program would begin with 50 master teachers, building up to 10,000 in four years. Master teachers, who would be identified and selected through a competitive process, would need to demonstrate superior content knowledge and proven effectiveness in teaching STEM subjects, among other criteria. “We need to be sure that we’re identifying the master teachers on the basis of demonstrable results rather than experience or credentials,” said Thomas Kane, professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
See on www.csmonitor.com
The tech sector is booming, and hungry for skilled workers. With its promise of ample opportunity and high salaries, it seems like a logical direction for STEM-savvy students to pursue. However, according to a recent article in TIME magazine, the U.S. education system is doing a sub-par job of training students for computer science careers.
While most STEM fields have seen an uptick in growth over the past two decades, computer science stands alone as having experienced a drop in student participation over the same period of time. This country’s large, change-averse education system may be a big part of the problem. Despite its increasing relevance in the world into which today’s students are graduating, computer science hasn’t made its way into most — or even many — classrooms in a meaningful way. Having appeared on the scene relatively recently, computer science hasn’t yet managed to penetrate the bureaucracy to take root as a core course in the vast majority of districts.
So what’s it going to take to turn the tide and integrate computer science more completely into K-12 education? “If educators want to scale up their cause, they’re going to need to create a national framework,” according to the TIME article. The Computer Science Education Act, introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), could be a step in the right direction.
Read more about it here.
See on techland.time.com
When the subject turns to engineering, too many students’ eyes glaze over. But far from being a boring subject, many engineering fields require vast amounts of creativity.
An article in yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal makes the point that students need to get the full picture of engineering — and other science fields — and realize that a lot of what STEM is about is creating new things. “In a survey of teens, we find that they have high regard for engineering as a profession, but don’t know what engineers do or how much they make,” said Intel Education Manager Carlos Contreras, lamenting the lack of well-qualified applicants for STEM jobs as a significant problem for tech companies like Intel.
Read Albuquerque Journal’s full article on creativity in STEM fields here.
See on www.abqjournal.com
An often overlooked force for good in the battle to increase students’ pursuit of STEM subjects? Their parents.
A recent study from the Association for Psychological Science (APS) revealed that targeting parents with information about the importance of STEM education in high school boosted enrollment of students in related courses. Encouragement from parents is particularly important in the last two years of high school, when many advanced math and science courses are optional.
The APS study showed that parental understanding of the impact of their children’s high school course selections on their college — and later, career — paths resulted in more informed oversight of their students’ course choices. The study consisted of nothing more than a modest information campaign, targeting the same group of parents with brochures at two points in their children’s high school career, suggesting that tapping parental influence is surprisingly easy. “Although some people question whether parents wield any influence, we think of parents as an untapped resource,” said lead study author Judith Harackiewicz. “This study shows that it is possible to help parents help their teens make academic choices that will prepare them for the future.”
See on www.psychologicalscience.org
Consider this sobering statement, made by Bill Gates in 2005: “When I compare our high schools to what I see when I’m traveling abroad, I am terrified for our workforce of tomorrow.” Headline after headline proclaims that STEM education in the US is broken. But what, in fact, is really wrong with it?
A recent article in Slate tackles that question by uncovering five common myths and misconceptions that present barriers to STEM education reform.
Myth #1: “American schools have deteriorated in the past 30 or 40 years, as demonstrated by our poor performance on international assessments of math and science achievement. We need to restore American elementary and secondary education to their previous glory.” Slate takes the viewpoint that, far from having deteriorated, the American education system wasn’t all that great in the first place. “Incorrectly believing that American students used to excel hampers our reform efforts,” the article points out. “It makes the challenge of improving STEM education seem easier than it is.”
Read on to consider the four other myths that Slate puts forth in this interesting article.
See on www.slate.com
Carlos Cunha, a teacher of physics and chemistry at an upper secondary school in Setúbal, Portugal, is leading an online discussion event this week about science education. Specifically, participants are engaging in discussion about communicating innovative science teaching practices through social media. Today is day two of the event, focusing on improving dissemination of science project results to teachers. The third and final day of the online event is tomorrow, when the conversation will focus on what kind of information is most important to communicate to teachers in the information dissemination process.
See on desire.eun.org