Vince Bertram, author of One Nation Under Taught: Solving America’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Crisis, reports on a recently released study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF): “The Case for Improving U.S. Computer Science Education.”
I plan to provide my own thoughts regarding the thought later this week, but for now, here are some highlights as presented by Mr. Bertram. There are a small number of U.S. high schools that teach computer science and those that do are in affluent communities. Moreover, educational reform is needed that will enable computer science classes to focus on core concepts.
Schools participating in Boston STEM week replaced all classes with project-based STEM alternatives. Students worked in teams and used hands-on approaches to solve real-world problems. Collaborators from MIT University designed the curriculum which sought to emphasize engineering design and critical thinking.
Researchers from George Washington University, George Mason University, and SRI International studied STEM-focused high schools. In that research they identified 14 components associated with STEM learning. Using those components as a basis, they then developed a STEM inventory for evaluating STEM learning.
Games for Change (G4C) announced their second annual Student Challenge which is a competition that asks student to design games related to real-world issues. G4C has obtained widespread backing from private, public, and governmental organizations to support the competition. This year’s emphases are local stories and immigrant voices, climate change, and future communities. In addition to student participation, select teachers—20 from each city participating in the event—will receive professional funding to lead game design courses at their respective schools.
Anthony Johnson presents his innovative approach to project-based learning. Rather than use traditional approaches, Mr. Johnson has transformed his classroom into a “city” where students learning both traditional school skills and adult skills. For example, the adult skills include financial literacy and entrepreneurship. They have opportunity to make purchases and learn about government. While the conclusions could perhaps bear more testing to prove causality, his students have consistently scored higher on state science exams than others in the district.
This press release announces the establishment of a Utah instance of a CREATE—Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment—Lab. The CREATE lab seeks to provide young learners hands-on experience with technology in hopes to foster an interest in STEM disciplines. The lab will also provide professional development opportunities for Utah educators.
Editor’s Note: We missed this story last week but wanted to include in this week’s recap.
Out-of-School educators (e.g., librarians) are important to STEM learning. So, a group of such educators investigated how they could foster equity in STEM learning. They developed four methods: listen to users and help build STEM initiatives if interested, reflect on what is working and/or not working, foster communities of practice that encourage support and learning among colleagues, and acknowledging and foregrounding the need for equity in STEM learning.