The school that connects STEM, badging, and life beyond the classroom

As educators, we know that science is not just a body of knowledge, but it is a process that enables people to answer questions through scientific inquiry.  Scientists conduct inquiries using a specific toolbox of skills and knowledge that the Next Generations Science Standards (NGSS) has spelled out for emerging scientists as so-called “science and engineering practices,” or practices that increase in complexity and sophistication across grade levels.

These are important skills for students to master, not least because of the growing demand for science and STEM professionals. Here in California, like other states nationwide, the STEM job market is rapidly growing but students are still graduating without the skills and knowledge needed to fill these high-paying jobs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that California will have the largest STEM workforce in the country by 2022.

The question is, how do you ensure students are graduating with these skills in a way that sets them up for future college and career success?…Read More

Cricket Media, Smithsonian launch 2016 Global Folklorist Challenge

Cricket Media, a next-generation global learning company, announced the launch of its 3rd Annual Global Folklorist Challenge in partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The challenge, open to kids eight to eighteen worldwide, asks participants to examine a local or regional tradition by interviewing a community tradition bearer and creating a video or slide show to share the story.

Cultural traditions students might explore range from dance, games, and handicrafts to cooking, storytelling, customs, distinctive jobs, and more. Comprehensive supporting materials reinforce real- world folklorist skills by defining terms, providing examples, tips, and organizational tools, and walking students through professional interview and story-shaping processes. Participants also have access to professional folklorists at the Smithsonian.…Read More

Wisconsin launches online CTE school

Online CTE model will provide hands on training and dual credit opportunities for middle and high school students

Online learning provider K12 Inc. announced the opening of Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, an online career and technical education (CTE) high school in Wisconsin using the curriculum and academic programs by K12 Inc. It also offers a construction apprenticeship program in partnership with industry leaders.

“Studies have shown that by 2020 two out of three jobs will require some postsecondary education or training and that job-related skills can dramatically increase employment options for new graduates,” said Stuart J. Udell, CEO of K12. “We have a unique expertise in delivering online course content to young students and the addition of career and technical courses like the ones we are offering through our Destinations model will allow them to explore potential careers and get a jump on the certification process.”

K12’s career readiness offering uses an end-to-end approach, designed to prepare students to enter the workforce or pursue other post-secondary options. Students can access multiple versions of core online high school courses and opt to take CTE courses in one of four Career Clusters: Architecture and Construction; Business, Management, and Administration; Health Science; or Information Technology. These Clusters are designed to give students a head start on their career goals by earning technical and specialty trade credentials, college credits, and workplace experiences.…Read More

Destination Imagination, Oracle Academy launch computer science challenge

Organizations join forces on the development of two coding challenges

Destination Imagination (DI), an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching students the creative process skills needed to become the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers, has collaborated with Oracle Academy to advance coding and computer science opportunities that will help students thrive in the future workforce. Oracle Academy works globally to expand knowledge, skills, innovation and diversity in technology through computer science education.

“There is an urgent need to provide students and teachers access to computer science education,” said Dr. Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination Imagination. “The Association for Computing Machinery estimates that by 2020, one out of every two STEM jobs will be in computing. However, nine out of 10 K-12 schools do not currently provide computer science education. As computing technology continues to grow and evolve, it’s essential we provide students with affordable access to computer science opportunities that will inspire and engage them in career-ready learning opportunities. We’re excited to work with Oracle Academy to ensure students connect to the needs of the future workforce.”

Through the collaboration, Destination Imagination will release two new computer science challenges—Dear Hero and Co{DI}ng Space—in hopes of engaging 10,000 students in computer science education this year. Each challenge is designed to spark kids’ interest in coding and encourage students of diverse backgrounds to incorporate their artistic expression while learning skills such as collaboration, storyboarding and perseverance.…Read More

Buoyed by Congress, STEM and coding are on the rise

New legislation makes computer science an official part of STEM education

STEM-edSTEM education, while always a national focus, is receiving more attention in recent days, as surveys and legislation reveal awareness of its importance to the nation’s success.

Three out of four Americans in a recent survey said they think “science is cool in a way that it wasn’t 10
years ago.”

Seventy-three percent of participants in the Finger on the Pulse opinion survey, from Horizon Media’s WHY Group, agreed with the statement that “in the future, all the best jobs will require knowledge of computer coding languages.”…Read More

10 jobs destined for robots

The robots are coming, and they want our jobs, InformationWeek reports. That’s progress. In the 20th century, they wanted our women. Actually, the robots don’t want all of our jobs. They’re said to be capable of competing for about 47% of them, at least in the US, given current technological expectations. So only half of us will need to retrain. The other option is to join the Resistance. Who knew The Terminator was an employment double entendre? The other half of us should get used to being lonely on the job, which may evolve into making sure our mechanized colleagues don’t malfunction or do something unexpected. Small consolation though it may be, if you’re the last human on the factory floor, you won’t need to worry about turning out the lights when you leave. That’s the sort of task robots do very well…

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An uptick in the hiring of women for tech jobs

There are signs that tech companies are hiring more women, but women still appear to make up far less than half of all new hires in the industry, The New York Times reports. In the year ending in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the net change in the number of employees in the computer industry was 60,000. The net change in the number of female employees was 36,000 — or 60 percent of the net change, according to the bureau’s data. Yet it does not necessarily mean that the tech industry hired more women than men. The bureau’s figure is a net change, meaning the numbers reflect new employees and those who left. More men than women probably left their jobs — because there are so many more men working in the tech industry…

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