Exploring STEM Subjects with the U.S. Navy

Jeff Walden, left, an engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, helps Bella Naso, a fifth grader at Riverside Christian Day School, pilot a remote-controlled drone during the 13th annual Science Technology Education Partnership conference.

Jeff Walden, left, an engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, helps Bella Naso, a fifth grader at Riverside Christian Day School, pilot a remote-controlled drone during the 13th annual Science Technology Education Partnership conference.

(BPT) – Pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) subjects opens plenty of exciting and challenging opportunities for today’s students. Many of these opportunities exist in the Navy, including technically challenging missions that require intelligence and critical thinking. Read More →

Why America Desperately Needs More Scientists & Engineers

STEM Careers

Studies have shown that the number of jobs available in the United States is directly related to advances made in science and engineering.  Education experts feel that if America has few leaders developing the technological advances that will create the jobs of the future, then the future will hold few opportunities for our young workers. Read More →

Facilitating Change in Education

Few people are genuinely engaged in transforming the education system for the better. Far more people are more interested in furthering their own gains. However, the KnowledgeWorks Foundation is one group that appears to actually care about the future of education and is focused on improving it for everyone. What originally started out as a traditional grant foundation has evolved into quite a bit more in recent months. Much of their work today is focused on futures studies in education…one of the things that caught my eye and has prompted this post.

About KnowledgeWorks

Social enterprises, grassroots projects, and innovative development make up the majority of KnowledgeWorks’ activities. They attempt to build high school designs around several different models. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum planning is aimed at increasing technology literacy among younger students. Early college high schools are designed to provide education programs for gifted students who have demonstrated that they are ready for something beyond what they normally study in secondary school classes.

Local programs are focused around the Ohio Education Matters organization. Research and advocacy activities promoted by the organization are supposed to be non-biased, which means that they aim to develop policies that are beneficial for everyone involved. However, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the work that this innovative group is doing. They are forecasting that students will actually relate to the world through neuro-enhancement tools and networks by the year 2020 and are developing programs based n this scenario. I find this both fascinating and exciting.

The Future of Education?

Neuroethics remains a major topic for the organization, whose website provides links to a variety of different groups that believe in liberty of thought. This might make the group seem rather extreme to some observers. Many members of the general population think very little about such futuristic themes. However, that doesn’t mean that this organization isn’t on to something. For instance, open-source principles and the way that they free up production is a major area of study within their programs. Linking resources together and providing open accreditation through major institutions helps to simplify the learning process in general.

Few people would disagree with the idea of giving scientists easily accessible access to laboratory materials if their research is in the best interest of humanity. Fewer people would argue that giving students access to a greater number of resources is a bad idea as well…we need more of this everywhere. Therefore, one might conclude that the future of education is indeed brighter than what some would lead the general population to believe. We need innovative programs such as these that are advocated by KnowledgeWorks and administrators that are willing to lead the way to make this happen. I’m not advocating the use of students as guinea pigs either. I am, however, advocating the use of principles and techniques within schools that have been proven by research and can increase the overall success rate of students. I’m hopeful that the work being done by the KnowledgeWorks Foundation accomplishes this very thing.

Additional Learning Resources:

Free STEM Educator Workshops

To help educators learn about the various ways to integrate data-collection technology into their laboratory experiments, Vernier Software & Technology is offering free workshops this fall. Led by experienced Vernier trainers, each 4-hour, hands-on workshop provides seasoned educators the opportunity to hone their data-collection skills while teachers new to probeware learn and explore the basics. Each workshop will be conducted using Vernier’s award-winning LabQuest 2 technology.

During the workshops, participants will learn important skills and strategies for integrating data-collection technology into their chemistry, biology, physics, middle school science, physical science or Earth science instruction. Participants also have the option of earning two (quarter) graduate science credit hours through the Portland State University Center for Science Education.

“Vernier’s workshops provide educators with a free and valuable professional development opportunity to learn new data-collection skills and techniques that they can bring back to the classroom,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and former physics teacher. “By incorporating data collection into their labs, educators provide students with engaging learning and scientific discovery opportunities.”

For complete details and to register for a Vernier workshop closest to you, visit http://www.vernier.com/workshop.

About Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 31 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With world-wide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college. Vernier’s technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, and build students’ critical thinking skills. Vernier’s business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit www.vernier.com.

Source: Vernier Software & Technology

Free App: STEM for Education

Americans made 80% of all scientific discoveries from the 1930s to the 1960s. The United States owes its status to its investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Today, many countries are following suit by offering STEM education programs, improved infrastructure, numerous research opportunities, STEM scholarships, and active government support.

“The United States has been the dominant science superpower since the 1950s. As a result, in the early 1960s, the United States was spending seven times more money on scientific research than Europe,” said Carolina Cabral Murphy, Co-Founder of MicroEmpowering.

In the last three years, while still in the lead, the United States research output has only grown by 30 percent.

Mrs. Cabral Murphy also highlighted: “Investing in STEM education helps nations and individuals enjoy robust growth prospects.” Students completing STEM education programs enjoy:

  • More job opportunities
  • Better remuneration
  • Better growth prospects
  • Long-term stability in their careers

According to data analyzed by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, men and women enjoy a 50% STEM premium compared to the hourly wages of those working in non-STEM areas. Women suffer from a 21% wage gap in non-STEM jobs. This gap falls to 14% for women who have completed STEM programs, and the gap narrows drastically for women who have majored in computers, mathematics, or engineering.

Focusing on college education and offering STEM scholarships to college students will not suffice. Those who obtain STEM degrees typically start to show interest in science by age 11.  This means that interest in science and mathematics must be nurtured and encouraged during childhood.

With this challenge in mind MicroEmpowering.org launched an App called Curiosity School – STEM education series. The app is available for FREE @ the iTunes store:

ABOUT MicroEmpowering:
MicroEmpowering.org provides community organizations, non-profit institutions, and social entrepreneurs with the technology, educational materials, and services they need.

Source: MicroEmpowering.org

STEM Inspired Summer Camp for Kids

Yes, we let our kids play video games — as a matter of fact we encourage it! Gamers are among the smartest and most entrepreneurial in the country, and parents, teachers and future employers are just starting to appreciate the leadership, team building, and problem-solving skills achieved by gamers. Ambition, part of the National Flight Academy’s suite of learning programs, is 100,000+ square feet of unparalleled virtual play. Ambition is a dream come true for students 7th through 12th grades looking for something super cool to do this summer. The land-locked, simulated aircraft carrier was created theatrically and scenically to resemble the real deal, and it does not disappoint. Read More →

STEM News: Training Youth for Jobs of the Future

Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire (D-4th) told technology industry representatives that the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School‘s planned STEM Epicenter program would train a new generation of young scientists and engineers for thePittsburgh region, and provide a model for the state and the nation.

“PA Cyber is doing tremendous work in this field,” Altmire said at a meeting hosted by Bayer Corporation at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh. “Instead of training them for the jobs of the past, we want to keep our young people here by giving them the skills they will need in the future.” Read More →

Texas Instruments Foundation and Selected Partners to create a “STEM District”

The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation, Educate Texas and Lancaster Independent School District (LISD) announced today an initiative to systemically change science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels in the district over the next four years. The new “STEM District” model will transform the teaching of these subjects statewide to better prepare Texas students for post-secondary and workforce success. Read More →

Improving Access to STEM Education for Women

A panel of experts will meet this afternoon in Washington today to discuss ways to improve access to STEM education for women. The number of women pursuing associate’s degrees in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) has been declining. Meanwhile, the number of jobs in these typically higher-paying fields is expected to grow at nearly double the rate of others until 2018. A new report (click to download) from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)Increasing Opportunities for Low-Income Women and Student Parents in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at Community Colleges, offers recommendations for improving access to STEM education for low-income women. Author of the report, Cindy Costello, will share findings at today’s meeting and provide recommendations on expanding women’s access to careers in STEM fields. Read More →

AFCEA Increases Scholarships for Future STEM Teachers

AFCEA International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation are expanding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teacher Scholarship Program for the second year in a row to help address the growing shortage of young Americans educated in STEM subjects.  AFCEA’s investment is a long-term solution to develop more skilled and motivated teachers of STEM subjects who will inspire and prepare students to desire and be successful in STEM fields.

For the current school year, AFCEA is offering 60 scholarships of $5,000 each, up from 50 scholarships awarded last year.  AFCEA also will provide grants of $1,000 each year for three years to these scholarship winners when they begin teaching.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 15 of the 20 fastest-growing professions will require high proficiency in science or mathematics. However, the outlook for meeting those requirements seems bleak. The National Center for Educational Statistics projects that only 6 in 100 of today’s ninth graders in the U.S. are currently expected to pursue a STEM degree in college.

“The latest studies show that America is continuing to fall behind – even while other nations multiply their investments in science, math and technical education,” said Fred Rainbow, Vice President for Education, AFCEA International. “Nothing less than the future of our country is at stake.  Our capabilities in math, science, engineering and other technical fields drive innovation, exports, jobs, quality of life, and ultimately our economic and national security.”

Kent Schneider, AFCEA’s President and CEO, amplifies: “As a long-time supporter of STEM education through teaching tool grants and other programs, AFCEA started its STEM Teacher Scholarship program in 2010. In just three years, the program has grown from 35 to 60 scholarships thanks to financial support from Booz Allen Hamilton, Terremark Worldwide, Inc., AFCEA International, along with funding from AFCEA’s chapters.”

Support for the AFCEA Educational Foundation also has enabled it to award $1,000 Teaching Tools grants to those graduates who benefited from the first year of STEM scholarships in 2010 and now are actively engaged in teaching.  These grants can be used for information technology hardware and software, other classroom tools, field trips, STEM-focused clubs and other activities.

Interested candidates, teachers and mentors can find more information and apply online for a scholarship at http://stem.afcea.org. The application deadline is April 1, 2012.  Regular updates on the program are available through Twitter (@afcea_ed) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/AFCEA.Scholarships).

About AFCEA International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation
AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia as an ethical forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security. For more information, visit www.afcea.org.

The AFCEA Educational Foundation works closely with the chapters, raises funds, and provides leadership, guidance, and rewards to help motivate more students to become scientists and engineers. The Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing educational incentives, opportunities, and assistance for students and teachers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines (broadly known as STEM). In 2011 the AFCEA Educational Foundation and AFCEA chapters awarded more than $1.5M in scholarships and grants. The AFCEA Educational Foundation has been granting scholarships and grants to college students in STEM disciplines for 30 years.

Source: AFCEA International

Image Credit: STEM Conference