‘We’ve got to open doors for everyone’

It has become crucial for the students of the United States to pursue education in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field, NIU Today reports. Women make up almost half of the workforce today yet continue to be outnumbered and out-earned. Supporting women in STEM fields has become more important than ever as 49 percent of women pursuing STEM degrees choose STEM to make a difference. Stereotypically, women choose to focus on areas of engineering that directly impact more diverse and under-represented segments of the population. Innovation in these areas of industry can directly impact the world…

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As more schools embrace tablets, do textbooks have a fighting chance?

Big news in the tech-ed world: The Los Angeles Unified School District—the second largest school district in the country—recently spent $30 million to deploy 35,000 iPads to students, NEA Today reports. It’s part of a multi-year commitment with Apple that will eventually equip all 640,000 students with iPads. Textbooks will be digitally delivered to iPads via an application from Pearson, a major publisher. America’s classrooms are undeniably going through a technological revolution and at risk of plunging deeper into an obsolescence quagmire are textbooks…

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To improve learning, some schools lengthen the school day or year

It’s a July morning at 6:45 a.m. and the temperature is starting to climb across the city, according to The Hechinger Report. Most schoolchildren would expect to have at least a few more weeks of summer. But Quincy Lindsey, a fifth-grader at New Orleans’ ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, is trying to wake up for his first day of school. His mother, Calanthia Lindsey, tries to keep Quincy on pace to make it to school by 7:15 a.m., reminding him not to use his pencils as drumsticks and to tuck in his shirt. ReNEW is one of hundreds of schools nationwide that are adding time to the school year—lengthening school days, requiring Saturday classes or shortening summer. Calanthia Lindsey hopes more time in the classroom will help Quincy stay motivated…

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Why aren’t teachers using more technology in the classroom?

With all the buzz in the news about education technology, one would think that teachers were integrating cutting-edge teaching tools into their lesson plans faster than edtech startups could pump them into the market, edcetera reports. But according to a nationwide survey by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), that isn’t exactly the case. The report on their findings, presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference and expo in June 2013, suggests that technology integration in schools remains virtually unchanged from last year and still falls far short of the organization’s determined ideal…

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How are classrooms implementing mobile technology?

Supporters note that mobile technology boosts student engagement.

Advocates of mobile technology in the classroom say that devices such as tablets and smart phones boost student engagement and offer a way to personalize learning for each student. Now, a new survey takes a look at the extent to which mobile technology has penetrated classrooms, and reveals what’s keeping some districts from forging ahead with mobile technology deployments.

Across the globe, tablet sales have soared since 2012 and are expected to top laptop and desktop sales by 2015, according to Gartner research. More than one-third of U.S. teenagers own a smart phone, and nearly one-quarter–23 percent–have a tablet, and parents have reported that they believe their students’ reading and math skills improved while using mobile devices and related applications.

Interactive Educational Systems Design conducted an online survey of K-12 district technology and media leaders in May of 2013. The survey focused on the current and future levels of mobile technology adoption in schools; the most significant hurdles to mobile technology adoption; access to mobile technology in the classroom; bring your own device (BYOD) policies; interest in purchasing tablets for student use; the types of mobile devices that have been adopted or will be adopted for student instruction; and more.

(Next page: Where does mobile technology in the classroom stand?)

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$5K scholarship and $750 in gift cards for STEM girls

Show your connection to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and you could win a $5,000 scholarship and other prizes. Just pledge your support for STEM by putting yourself in a picture with the L’Oréal double helix—our symbol of our shared commitment to STEM—in one of two ways. You can enter every day for more chances to win.

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Genome-related website helps unlock ‘life’s code’

UnlockingLifesCode.org provides a multimedia-rich, interactive experience to educators, students, and the general public seeking to further their knowledge of genomics.

d’Vinci Interactive developed this website, which accompanies the “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.

Teachers and students can use the site as they prepare to visit the exhibit and as a follow-up for further exploration. Independent of the exhibit, the website also teaches students and others about the fascinating developments in genomic science and research—and its multimedia elements are accessible on any type of device or platform.

Highlights of the website include an interactive timeline of the human genome; a virtual tour of the Smithsonian exhibit; and 3D imagery and video.

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How technology has changed our idea of ‘knowledge,’ and what this means for schools

Before the internet existed, humans had a very different concept of what “knowledge” was.

Before the internet existed, humans had a very different concept of what “knowledge” was, says researcher David Weinberger. This concept was defined by the physical properties of the dominant medium for sharing information back then—paper—and the limitations it placed on this process.

For instance, we’ve tended to think of knowledge as something that was orderly: organized neatly into chapters and books, and sorted on shelves in the library according to a rigorous classification system. We understood it as something that was filtered, with writers, editors, publishers, and curators making conscious decisions about what to include and what to leave out.

We saw knowledge as a canon of generally accepted wisdom, Weinberger says, with less room for any difference of opinion: Think of the way a traditional textbook was laid out, with a shaded box set apart from the main text to explore alternate points of view. And we viewed knowledge as a system of artificial “stopping points”: Although footnotes could direct us to further study, eventually books—like all good things—must come to an end.

Now, “we have a new medium” for distributing knowledge, Weinberger told attendees of the 2013 Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference in Boston. This new medium has radically different properties than the one it is replacing. Because it’s not physical, but digital, it’s not unnaturally limiting, Weinberger said—and the networked, nearly boundless system of knowledge that it enables is transforming how humans learn in ways that have profound implications for schools.

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Our schools need better internet access, capacity

President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative last month to connect 99 percent of America’s K-12 students to 1 gigabit of broadband and high-speed Wi-Fi in the next five years, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission took the first step to achieve that goal by modernizing its $2.5 billion subsidy program to bring faster internet to schools and libraries. Together, these initiatives create a moment of opportunity to transform teaching and learning in America’s schools. The 21st century classroom will leverage technology to improve student outcomes by personalizing learning, but it must be built on a foundation of robust internet infrastructure. Our schools need wireless networks and 100 megabits of internet connectivity (growing to 1 gigabit in the next five years) to support one-to-one digital learning…

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How I convinced my 8-year-old to choose books instead of Minecraft

My eight year old is a pretty good reader for his age, Forbes.com reports. He’s finished his third year of school and although he still has to sound out the longer words, he eventually figures them all out. His weakness might be a result of his limited vocabulary, not a lack of phonics skills. He can write too; he carries on long instant messaging chats with me while I’m away or he’s at his mother’s house (my ex and I share joint custody). Sure, there are lots of typos and misspellings, but also total comprehension; the conversation moves effortlessly…

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