Benetech Inclusive AI Initiatives Break down Barriers to STEM

PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 17, 2022 —Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, today announced two significant AI initiatives to reduce barriers to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and employment for people with disabilities and learning and thinking differences. The programs, supported by General Motors (GM) and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, are focused on leveraging AI to make complex visuals, graphs, and equations in science and math educational materials accessible to people with dyslexia, vision loss, and other reading barriers. This technology will be used to enhance the accessibility of STEM education materials for students with reading barriers and empower other education stakeholders, including teachers, publishers, researchers, and students themselves, to improve the accessibility of their own materials. 

“Betting early on people and organizations addressing big challenges is one of our core guiding principles,” said Kumar Garg, Vice President of Partnerships, at Schmidt Futures. “Math literacy is essential for a 21st century STEM education, the foundation to compete for jobs of the future. Benetech’s vision to make tools that can provide new pathways to make STEM education accessible will transform the livelihoods of millions of students.” 

Benetech brings two decades of expertise leveraging new technology to make reading and learning accessible for people with reading barriers, at scale, through its Bookshare initiative. However, transforming STEM education materials into accessible formats poses a significant challenge. Textbooks have complex formats, full of charts, graphs, and equations that must be manually transformed into accessible formats. The average Math textbook has over 5,000 equations, and it can take three to four months for a human to transform a print math book into accessible formats that can be properly read by a screen reader. This is a significant obstacle for students with reading barriers. …Read More

Local partnerships can build STEM workforce development in your district

The measurable success of recruiting students into STEM based pathways via a popular high school program known as FlexFactor has led the Department of Defense to recently invest $5 million via its Manufacturing Engineering Education Program (MEEP). This investment will adapt and export the FlexFactor framework to be used nationally by eight Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes and nonprofit partners focused on emerging technologies.

Developed in San Jose, Calif. by the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Innovation Institute known as NextFlex, FlexFactor is the hallmark of NextFlex’s workforce development portfolio. An awareness building program designed for middle school and high school students, FlexFactor puts students in the shoes of business leaders facing real world opportunities and challenges that flexible hybrid electronics help to solve.

Via an immersive six-week program, students gain a deeper understanding of the advanced manufacturing sector as well as the tools, skills, and judgment required for effective decision making as it relates to developing and bringing a new technology product to market. …Read More

New Report Shows the National Math and Science Initiative’s Long-Term Impact on Ensuring Equitable Access to STEM

DALLAS (PRWEB) MAY 20, 2022 — New data from the  National Math and Science Initiative demonstrate the long-term impact of NMSI’s  College Readiness Program in expanding learning outcomes and opportunities for all students. In a report released today, data suggest that compared to the national average, students enrolled in NMSI-supported Advanced Placement® courses are more likely to further their education and earn STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) degrees. The College Readiness Program expands access and achievement in high-quality, public STEM education, particularly among students underrepresented in STEM careers. View the full impact report  here.

STEM education is widely recognized as a critical component in preparing students for success in postsecondary education and their future careers. A  recent report shows that the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, with more than two million going unfilled due to a lack of highly skilled candidates. In addition, STEM inequities disproportionately affect young people of color, rural kids, kids in poverty, and girls. NMSI’s College Readiness Program is working to close the STEM gap for all students.

“Technology drives economies worldwide, and to keep up with the global economy, all students must be steeped in STEM education,” said Dr. Bernard Harris, former astronaut and CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. “Right now, we have communities that don’t have access to STEM education. When that happens, not only do those communities lose, but we all lose. This report exemplifies the mission-critical work the College Readiness Program is doing to help level the playing field for all students.”…Read More

Trane Technologies and Discovery Education Launch a New National STEM Education Initiative to Inspire Students to be Climate Innovators

Davidson, NC and Silver Spring, MD (Monday, May 16, 2022) — Today, Trane Technologies (NYSE: TT), a global climate innovator, and Discovery Education, a worldwide edtech leader, announce they have teamed up to launch a multimedia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education experience for students in grades 5 to 10. The multifaceted learning program includes interactive tools, resources, and volunteers to engage and inspire students to learn, think, and solve the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, like climate change and food waste, through sustainable innovation.  

“We’re excited to launch this unique learning experience in collaboration with Discovery Education to reach students across demographics, including those in underserved communities,” said Deidra Parrish Williams, Trane Technologies’ leader of Global Corporate Social Responsibility. “The goal is to expose them to STEM concepts and experts at work in the real world, and encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, and sustainability. Our company’s purpose is to boldly challenge what’s possible for a sustainable world. This initiative does just that by inspiring students to explore themes and topics, problem solve and develop creative solutions. It is accessible to all, and easy for educators to incorporate into their curriculums.”   

The program is part of Trane Technologies’ Sustainable Futures corporate citizenship strategy, which uplifts underrepresented students and communities through access to STEM education, enhanced learning environments, and pathways to green careers. The company has committed $100 million and 500,000 employee volunteer hours by 2030 to deploy Sustainable Futures in communities where it operates and serves.  …Read More

New resources target STEM via aerospace education

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Estes Industries, and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) have joined together to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through a new, multi-year initiative that will bring research-based aerospace education to thousands of classrooms nationwide.

Launched in April, Exploration Generation (ExGen) will provide K-12 educators with free lesson plans and curriculum storylines to help guide students as they explore various concepts in aerospace, engineering, and rocketry. High-quality professional learning experiences will also be developed to support teachers’ use of the ExGen instructional materials.

Even as the U.S. aerospace and defense industry leads the world in innovation, it faces challenges with the workforce: a skills gap among STEM-literate students entering the industry, a need for greater participation by women and ethnic minorities, and a growing knowledge gap from early retirements.

Based on the 2021 AIAA State of the Industry Report, nearly 50 percent of respondents believe an increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion by aerospace industry employers will help increase the pipeline of skilled, competent aerospace professionals.

“We are excited about our collaboration with Estes and NSTA to inspire a new space age generation. Our shared commitment to strengthening the aerospace profession is driving us to inspire the future workforce,” said Dan Dumbacher, executive director, AIAA. “We all recognize the need for a diverse and robust STEM next generation who use what they learn today to innovate and invent tomorrow. These new resources will help even more educators join us in shaping the future of aerospace.”…Read More

5 tips to bring engineering into the classroom

STEAM education is critically important in the classroom, and engineering education is a key part of STEAM learning. And on World Engineering Day, the need for students to explore engineering and pursue it in college and the workforce has never been more apparent.

The 2020 Global Engineering Survey launched by DiscoverE, the organization responsible for World Engineering Day, found that 54 percent of respondents believe that there will be a shortage of engineers in the future, and a recent census survey found that only 27 percent of engineers are women.

Exposing students to the importance of engineering and giving them the skills required to be the problem solvers of tomorrow is crucial, but educators often don’t know how to integrate engineering concepts into their instruction. eSchool News connected with Lauren Harter, Senior Educational Developer for VEX Robotics, for some classroom engineering tips. Harter’s work in developing and bringing a series of educational robotic solutions, known as the VEX Continuum, to the classroom is aimed at helping to solve some of the world’s growing problems. …Read More

National Engineering Week Observances in K-12 Classrooms Get a Boost from Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners

Silver Spring, MD (Thursday, February 17, 2022) — Discovery Education and leading social impact partners are offering engaging, no-cost digital learning resources to students, teachers, and families to support National Engineers Week nationwide. Established in 1951, National Engineers Week immerses students in the future of engineering and helps create pathways to careers. Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

Taking place February 20-26 with theme “Reimagining the Possible” will help show students that innovative technologies and diverse leaders can create brighter futures for all through the power of engineering. To support this theme, Discovery Education is providing educators, students, and families with hundreds of no-cost resources tailored for any learning environment. Among the resources created in collaboration with leading social impact partners are:   

Virtual Field Trips  
The Future is Now Virtual Field Trip from Reach for the Sky – designed with Edge at Hudson Yards – takes students on a virtual adventure into NYC’s newest and most forward-thinking neighborhood and the incredible observation deck where marvels of modern engineering elevate the possibilities of everyday life to meet with various leaders about the STEM, history, and social impact of the new gravity-defying structure. …Read More

Panasonic and Olympian Katie Ledecky Partner to Inspire Student STEM Innovation and Unlock the Power of Technology

Las Vegas, NV (Tuesday, January 4, 2022) – To inspire student innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”), Panasonic Corporation of North America (“Panasonic”) is partnering with 3-time Olympian, 15-time World Champion, 10-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer, and proud STEM advocate Katie Ledecky to launch the STEM Forward educational initiative and engaged Discovery Education to help make this educational program a reality. Announced during CES 2022, the initiative combines Katie Ledecky’s passion for STEM education and advocacy, Panasonic’s legacy of innovation, and Discovery Education’s worldwide leadership in education technology, STEM Forward connects students in grades 3-8 to the game-changing power of technology with standards-aligned resources for any learning environment at no cost.

“As champions for progress at Panasonic, we’re focused on how we can move the world forward and commit ourselves to enhancing the well-being of people, communities, and society. Today’s students have a tremendous future ahead of them, one where technology is not only a tool but an inspiration,” said Megan Myungwon Lee, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America. “We’re proud to continue to partner with Katie Ledecky, who is an inspiration to young people around the world, and empowers students to reach their full potential and discover new ways to think about and apply STEM to build a better world.”

Building on Katie’s ongoing work with Panasonic as a STEM leader and a member of Team Panasonic, STEM Forward provides students, educators, and families with dynamic digital resources that explore how technology improves lives and makes the world a better place. In addition, STEM Forward includes a special Virtual Field Trip appropriate for both in class use and at home exploration.…Read More

5 strategies to build better information literacy in students

We live in the age of information. Thanks to the internet, we now have all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. Just think about it: Cooking, philosophy, engineering, literature–anything you could possibly imagine can likely be found using a simple Google search.

It’s pretty astounding when you take the time to consider it. Of course, many of us have learned the hard way that not everything you find online is reliable or true.

This presents educators with a difficult problem. The internet is an inescapable part of our students’ lives. As they grow, students will turn to online resources to help them navigate their education and build upon what they’ve learned. Yet, at the same time, it’s human nature to focus on information that reinforces our preexisting worldview, and many of us passively ingest all kinds of media while browsing social apps.…Read More

GoGuardian Appoints Former Google Executive Jenny Zhao as Chief Technology Officer

LOS ANGELES–( BUSINESS WIRE)–GoGuardian, the leading education technology company helping K-12 schools maximize the learning potential of every student, today announced the appointment of former Google executive Jenny Zhao as GoGuardian’s Chief Technology Officer. At GoGuardian, Zhao will lead the teams responsible for building digital learning solutions to help educators create engaging and safe learning environments.

Zhao recently served as Senior Director of Engineering at Google. Her multi-decade rise through globally dominant tech companies started at computer graphics innovator Silicon Graphics, where she led advanced simulation middleware solutions for clients including the U.S. Air Force and Disneyland. At Google, Zhao excelled as an engineering director, managing global teams across cultures and geographies, building innovative solutions in Google Pay, Search, and Maps.

“Jenny believes deeply in the mission of GoGuardian and shares our passion for building effective learning solutions that advance educational outcomes,” said Advait Shinde, co-founder and CEO of GoGuardian. “Jenny’s incredible track record of leading people-centered, high-performing engineering teams and driving change at the world’s most successful companies is a perfect fit for GoGuardian at a transformative time for our company.”…Read More