Monthly Archives: November 2014

Feds invest $28M more for STEM education

– The Washington Times – Thursday, November 20, 2014

President Obama announced a new partnership Thursday with an array of organizations to invest $28 million to increase the number of math, science and technology teachers in classrooms across the country, at a White House ceremony where the president presented this year’s top national awards for science, technology and innovation.

The increase in funding comes as part of a federal drive to improve the skills of U.S. high school students in so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects begun in 2009 with the Educate to Innovate initiative. The initiative was an effort to invest $260 million in public-private initiatives to move American students ahead in the areas of math and science over a 10-year period.

Companies Promote STEM Through Collaboration, Connecting STEM to Real Life

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Spring 2014 report, “STEM 101: Intro to Tomorrow’s Jobs,” states that jobs in occupations related to STEM are projected to increase to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022, resulting in growth of approximately 1 million more jobs over 2012 employment levels.

That sounds like a good thing, but it might not be: According to “The Global STEM Paradox,” a white paper soon to be published by the New York Academy of Sciences and prepared with consulting firm FSG, recruiters in the United States are having a hard time finding candidates for 75 percent of jobs that will require middle- or high-level STEM skills by 2018.

It was “traditionally thought that the problem is that there is a lack of students studying STEM, but the truth is more people are studying STEM around the world but graduating without the skills that companies need,” says Celina Morgan-Standard, senior vice president of global business development at the New York Academy of Sciences. In addition, these graduates lack professional skills such as “leadership, collaboration [and] time management.”

To address this skills gap, the New York Academy of Sciences launched the Global STEM Alliance, a global private-public partnership with industry, academic and educational institutions, government, and the nonprofit sector. Through a virtual platform, the initiative will pair students and mentoring STEM experts from around the world.

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Purdue engineers develop gift guide for parents

Faculty and staff in Purdue University’s College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

The “Engineering Gift Guide” was developed through the INSPIRE Institute for Pre-College Engineering, a part of the School of Engineering Education.

It features toys, games, books, movies and apps for mobile devices for a variety of ages. In addition to the selected items, the guide includes suggestions on finding other engineering-themed gifts.

“It’s important to introduce engineering to children at a very young age – even before they reach kindergarten,” says Monica Cardella, associate professor of engineering education and INSPIRE director. “One way to achieve this is simply putting a puzzle together or playing with building blocks and talking with the child about what they want to design, what ways they can accomplish that, and who or what could use their creation.

“It’s also important to recognize that girls can enjoy creating circuits, conducting science experiments and designing structures as much as boys. However, studies show us that these kinds of toys are purchased more than twice as frequently for boys as they are for girls.”

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State, nation unsure of STEM definition despite investments

As Ball State continues to try to find its place in the national rankings of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, there is still no consistent definition of what STEM actually is.

The United States is ranked 17th and 25th in science and mathematics, according to the Department of Education. Nationwide, there is a push to increase STEM graduates to fill STEM jobs and to rectify the nation’s perceived dwindling competitive edge in academics, which trickles down to the universities.

As a result, Ball State, a liberal arts college with nationally-recognized teaching and business programs, is scrambling to increase its STEM graduation rates in an effort to compete for funding with schools like Indiana University and Purdue University, which are more STEM-oriented.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education determines additional funding for Indiana universities through a performance-based funding formula, which takes different types of graduation rates and weighs them in terms of importance.

Read the original article in the Ball State Daily.

Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don’t Think They’re Smart

For most students, science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) subjects are not intuitive or easy. Learning in general—and STEM in particular—requires repeated trial and error, and a student’s lack of confidence can sometimes stand in her own way. And although teachers and parents may think they are doing otherwise, these adults inadvertently help kids make up their minds early on that they’re not natural scientists or “math people,” which leads them to pursue other subjects instead.

So what’s the best way to help kids feel confident enough to stay the STEM course? To answer this question, I spoke with Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University in California. Over the past 20 years, Dweck has conducted dozens of studies about praise’s impact on students’ self-esteem and academic achievement. Here is a transcript of our conversation, which has been condensed and lightly edited.

Original article in The Atlantic