Former President Bill Clinton discussed the importance of educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields Sunday during the closing Clinton Global Initiative University service event at Gateway STEM High School, Student Life reports. “So here we are, in this outpost of opportunity, right in the heart of America, right in the heart of St. Louis, committing to giving the right sort of future to the right sort of folks,” he said. “We’re going to do what we can during this service project today to help them along the way.” According to Clinton, Gateway serves as a metaphor and symbol of America’s future. In the last three years, there were 120,000 job openings in the country just in computer science fields, and the aggregate number of people that graduated with these degrees was roughly 40,000. Clinton believes these statistics point to a need for immigration reform and arguments for more schools like Gateway in the future……Read More
My high school students recently did something that rarely happens in a science classroom they did science. Although, inquiry based instruction has long been a science education buzz phrase, all too often when kids engage in developing experiments, the answers are in fact already known to science and could be discovered through a quick Google search on the topic, says a contributor to Scientific American. This is not exactly real science. The very nature of science is to ask questions with unknown answers and produce high quality evidence to help us better understand our world. My students took a very specific question with an unknown answer and made a small, but real contribution to what is known about life on our planet. The results of our work, Maternally chosen nest sites positively affect multiple components of offspring fitness in a lizard appeared in the journal Behavioral Ecology yesterday. This type of science rarely happens at the high school level. It certainly isn t expected to happen in an urban high school like Thomas Kelly High School on Chicago s southwest side, where more than 90% of the students are designated as low income and gang violence is a harsh reality in the surrounding neighborhoods……Read More
Calling the country “woefully inequipped” to teach students about science and math, Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., introduced a bill Sept. 29 that would create an office to oversee federal efforts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, reports The Hill. As a former science teacher for more than 30 years, Honda said America is lagging behind other developed nations in technical fields and needs better coordination among stakeholders to improve outcomes. His comments echo those from President Obama on Sept. 27 when he announced the White House will be attempting to recruit and train 10,000 new STEM teachers over the next two years. Honda’s bill would create an Office of STEM in the Department of Education at the assistant-secretary level in charge of coordinating all federal efforts to boost STEM education. It also would establish a voluntary consortium where states can collaborate to develop common standards for STEM in K-12 education. Finally, there will be a repository where educators can research the latest innovations in STEM. Honda said this bill is a precursor to comprehensive legislation he plans to introduce early next year that will provide a blueprint for improving STEM education nationwide. He noted that in 2006, the federal government spent more than $3 billion on 105 STEM programs at 15 different federal agencies without demonstrating any improvement in students’ performance. “Due to a lack of coordination, coherence, and cooperation, these investments result in little return,” Honda said……Read More
Policy makers and philanthropists have a new resource in the effort to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math, reports the Associated Press: An online tool developed by the Business-Higher Education Forum with help from Ohio State University debuted Sept. 27. The new tool allows people to see what combinations of policies might create the most interest in such degrees and careers, such as retaining more teachers or starting an elementary science club. More than 200 research variables are included in the model, which was developed by Raytheon Co. A national push is on to double the number of graduates in the STEM fields by 2015. The new tool is available free of charge, and state-level data will be available for the first time for Texas, Arizona, California, Maine, and Florida……Read More
In a visit to the Detroit Economic Club on Sept. 8, Ursula Burns, CEO and chairwoman of Xerox Corp., said that if the United States wants to keep its lead in the global economy, it needs more home-grown scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, reports the Detroit News. “The path that we’re on in education, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math, makes it impossible for anybody who has a bit of a brain to sit by and watch what’s happening,” said Burns, who earned engineering degrees from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU and Columbia University and is the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company. Burns noted that Asian nations turn out three times as many students who earn bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering. And in just one generation, the United States dropped from first to 12th in the world in college graduation rates and is headed to 16th. To address the problem, Burns said, business leaders and schools need to focus on effectively teaching science and math, provide students with inspiration and mentors who can show them what kinds of careers are available, and measure how many students graduate to work in those fields. The motivation, she said, could be the troubling statistic that 150,000 U.S. engineering jobs with an average salary of more than $60,000 went unfilled in 2008. Because of the lack of qualified workers, those jobs were shipped offshore, she said……Read More
In a project that aims to pull a new generation of students toward science and technology, Microsoft and NASA have teamed up to create what they say is the largest seamless, spherical map ever made of the night sky, as well as a true-color, high-resolution map of Mars that users can explore on their computers in 3D.
The mission, Microsoft and NASA say, is to inspire today’s students and spark interest in the STEM fields, and it appears to be working: In studying photos of Mars taken by a NASA spacecraft, a group of seventh graders in California earlier this year discovered a previously unknown cave, as well as lava tubes that NASA scientists hadn’t noticed.
“What we’re trying to do at NASA is make our data more accessible,” said Chris Kemp, chief technology officer for NASA, in an interview with eSchool News, “and we’re doing that by connecting students in the classroom and at home to a user-friendly platform.”…Read More
Not only do global learners create global leaders, but the world’s future depends on education focusing on creative and innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning, said ISTE closing keynote speaker Jeff Piontek.
“I think we need to focus on STEAM–science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” Piontek said to loud applause from the conference attendees. “Arts and creativity are needed in the future.”
Piontek, a Hawaii-based educator, was selected as “the people’s choice keynote” after a five-month modified crowdsourcing project. Piontek was nominated for his attention to excellence and his approach to delivering digital age education to digital age education to digital age students.…Read More
First lady Michelle Obama told middle and high school science teams May 3 that the nation will need their skills and enthusiasm to prosper, reports the Associated Press. Mrs. Obama visited the Energy Department’s National Science Bowl and read bonus questions during the middle school championship match. “We want young people energized in the way that you all are, because we know that American brainpower in science and math has always driven this country’s prosperity,” she told the group after the two winning teams received their trophies. “We are going to need you.” She challenged the students to help build the future of medicine, clean energy, and security. Albuquerque Academy from Albuquerque, N.M., won the middle school science bowl. Earlier, first-time competitors North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics from Durham, N.C., won the high school competition. Regional science bowl winners from 105 middle and high schools traveled to Washington, D.C., for the national competition. The teams represented 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands……Read More
The science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industry should make every effort to work from the top down to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in those fields, according to a study by the Bayer Corp., a health-care and nutrition company.
The Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey polled more than 1,200 female, black, Hispanic, and American Indian chemists and chemical engineers, who also are members of the American Chemical Society, about childhood, academic, and workplace experiences that play a role in attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
“Almost eight in 10 of our survey respondents say women and underrepresented minorities are missing because they were not encouraged to study STEM fields early on,” said Bayer Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Babe.…Read More
Giving teachers hands-on science experience not only helps improve student achievement, but also reduces teacher attrition, according to results from a Columbia University study.
Of the 145 teachers who completed Columbia University’s Summer Research Program (CUSRP) between 1994 and 2005, 32 New York teachers with similar backgrounds participated in a study to determine if taking part in hands-on science research enabled them to better teach their students.
“Teachers who participated in focused, intensive, and hands-on summer research programs produced a 10 percent increase in the pass rate of their students in New York state science Regents,” said Sam C. Silverstein, who founded the CUSRP and published the results of the study in Science magazine last fall.…Read More