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"Keira Knightley is going to be a great role model for young women who are wanting to...pursue STEM careers," Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, told USNews. She was referencing the actress’ role in “The Imitation Game,” a movie about Alan Turing’s attempts to break a Nazi code that would help the Allies win World War II. Knightley plays Joan Clark, Turing’s confidante and fellow coder. Many have been looking for a solution to the lack of women in high tech positions, and Saujani believes that we should look no further than role models such as Knightley. Saujani added that “girls need to see women whom they admire...doing the very things they don’t think they can do." Although Knightley’s role may inspire many young girls to try coding for the first time, there’s still a long way to go in terms of evening the playing field for female coders and programmers.

 

 

Building on past studies of reading and the brain, computer scientists Tom Mitchell and Leila Wehbe have created one of the most comprehensive studies to date. While past research has focused only on one element of language, these ambitious researchers decided to widen the scope, testing a theory that as we read, different regions in the brain turn on. Wehbe explains that they decided to use the Harry Potter books to test their theories because “many people have read the books and are familiar with the characters and the Harry Potter world.” This choice is important because of the ability it gives readers to visualize the world of the book, an integral part of the study. Since subjects of the study would have to be inside an MRI machine where they would have to remain perfectly still in order to allow accurate imaging of the brain, the... Read More

 

When asked what it’s like living on earth after returning from space,  Garrett Reisman said that “The first thing you notice is that everything seems really heavy.” The former astronaut answered the question in detail in an article on the website, giving readers the unique opportunity to imagine life as a homebound astronaut. Reisman elaborates “The next thing you notice is that your vestibular system is all messed up. Just sitting up took a lot of concentration.” Garrett Reisman’s piece in the Post sheds much needed light on an element of space travel that’s unknown to many. The full article can be read here: ... Read More

 

Long thought to be the father of Artificial Intelligence, Alan Turing is the subject of the brand new blockbuster “The Imitation Game”. But that doesn’t mean that his ideas are tucked neatly into history. According to the Huffington Post article “What Babies Can Tell Us About Artificial Intelligence,” Turing’s findings that children play an important role in the quality of Artificial Intelligence has influenced thought leaders in this area. A group that works under the title “Ideas Lab” is made up of four academics from the University of California at Berkeley. Although each works in an entirely different field, they all agree on... Read More

Katherine Wu, a finalist in the 2014 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientists Challenge has a mission that’s a bit bewildering given her age: combat drowsy driving. According to the Huffington Post, the 14 year old invented a tiny computer worn on a bluetooth headset that tracks changes in drivers' bodies via EEG and sends audio-visual alerts if drowsiness is detected. With two years until she can legally obtain her drivers license, Wu is making impressive headway in creating safer roads for herself and others.

 

On January 6th, a spacecraft called Dragon was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying experiments set up by students, according to the NASA website. The experiments range from studies on how crystals grow without gravity to tests about how different levels of gravity affect milk spoilage. Although these students, united in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), have been immensely successful by virtue of the fact that they’ve gotten their experiments into space, sometimes students and professional scientists fail. However, failures offer new opportunities and create new angles for discovery. “Failure happens in science, and what we do in the face of that failure defines who we are” says an SSEP overseer. Whether SSEP students’ experiments... Read More

The Belmont Hills Elementary School has enlisted Apple iPads to help and inspire students with everything from spelling to guided reading, according to the Education Week article “What Good Technology Use Looks Like in the Early Years.” The school believes that these devices are key to sparking collaborative spirit in students, jumpstarting their communication skills, and allowing them to work at their own pace. A video on the Education week website shows a colorfully clad youngster playing what at first glance looks like a regular computer game, but turns out to be a math tutorial from the educational website Dreambox. Although these tools may seem like a drastic shift in the structure of the classroom, they’re “just another way of giving the students a little bit more of what they need” according to a Belmont Hills Elementary School teacher.

 

Nominations for the the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are now being accepted. Instituted in 1983 by the White House, the PAEMST Program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The program acknowledges exceptional mathematics and science teachers from kindergarten through twelfth grade in each of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, Guam, U. S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. These awardees will serve as examples for their colleagues and model leadership in the advancement of mathematics and science education.

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The STEM Education Coalition states there are currently 26 million STEM jobs in the United States--this makes up 20% of all jobs. Despite the growing need, there is a severe disparity between the number of jobs available and the number of qualified applicants. With many initiatives working to increase interest among school children in the STEM fields, technology is playing a larger and larger role as time moves forward. Here are few unexpected ways in which technology is helping to improve skill sets and bolster interest in STEM:

 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in pursuing a career in STEM field. Among industrialized countries, the United States ranks 17th in science and only 25th in mathematics. The need for change is recognized and a plan to create and implement a united, national approach to promoting and expanding STEM education nationwide.

New and repurposed monies are bolstering several initiatives to improve both the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in schools across the country. The 2015 budget totals $2.9 billion to be invested in the future of STEM students and educators; this is 3.7 percent greater than the budget approved for 2014. The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget cites the STEM Innovation Proposal as including $170 million in new funding that will be used to “... Read More

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