S.T.E.M.

Community College MakerSpaces Offer Work-Based Learning in California

The CCC Maker Initiative is offering internships and work-based learning experiences for students through 24 California Community College makerspaces, where students gain technical, entrepreneurial and work-ready skills sought by employers.

“Makerspaces are widely recognized now as adaptive labs where learning is contextualized,” said Sierra College Superintendent/President Willy Duncan. “Faculty can offer meaningful projects tied to curriculum and students gain practical skills by interacting with industry partners. In a college makerspace, students practice innovation, develop problem-solving skills and connect to industry partners in cutting-edge fields. It is very motivating for students to see the application of what they have learned in the classroom.”  (https://cccmaker.com/)

Sierra College is serving as the administrator and fiscal agent of the $17 million CCC Maker initiative, which is funded by a grant from the California Community College Chancellors Office, and is focused on developing educational makerspaces within the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy (http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu/) framework at community colleges throughout the state.

MakerSpaces in California

"What's So Cool About Manufacturing," Contest in Pennsylvania

While there are many initiatives across the country to encourage young students to study STEM subjects and pursue technical careers, one effort does this in a way that pairs learning about manufacturing with developing video production skills. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest is an annual event that allows students from across the state of Pennsylvania to explore different career options in manufacturing by meeting with a local company, and then creating and filming a video that explores that company’s products and services. This opportunity provides the students with experience in planning, scripting, and shooting video content, while at the same time exposes them to what it is like to work in the manufacturing industry, and the different types of career options offered.
 
The contest, which is funded under a 2013 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Discovered in PA, Developed in PA” program, was created by the Manufacturer’s Resource Center (MRC) and provides students and their teachers (who function as coaches) with camera equipment and video production software to use in creating their entries. The contest has expanded to a total of eleven additional states under the Dream It. Do It. brand that was created by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, DC.
 
What's So Cool About Manufacturing

Business Community Aims to Increase Employer Investment in Workforce Training

“Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities,” highlights the importance of employer leadership in developing a growing workforce that meets the needs of a modernizing United States economy.
 
“Last year, President Trump charged the business community with finding solutions to help close the skills gap and connect workers with opportunities to develop skills they need to be successful in a 21st century economy,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “By putting forward this solution, the U.S. business community isn’t sitting on the sidelines – we’re leading the way. Together, we’ve developed a bold solution to improve employer leadership and investment in quality on-the-job learning opportunities. We look forward to implementing this model across the country so today’s students are prepared to be the workers and business leaders of the future.”
 
“Quality Pathways” aims to empower both learners and employers by establishing a business-led recognition system for high-quality earn and learn opportunities based on business best-practices. Creating employer-led earn and learn pathways will also help build stronger connections between employers and their workforce and close the skills gap by connecting job creators with more ready-to-work Americans. To ensure long-term sustainability and success of the system, the paper also calls for an ongoing process to organize businesses across industries.
Quality Pathways

Ohio STEM Learning Network's New Innovative Program

MakerMinded and Learning Blade® are initiatives in Ohio supported by LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national ManufacturingUSA institute, to enhance student experiences and understanding of manufacturing and other high demand fields. MakerMinded is a free statewide competition where schools compete to complete STEM activities for a chance to win a virtual reality classroom station. Learning Blade is a web based STEM career awareness curriculum designed to improve student relevance of middle school academics as it relates to future STEM career paths.
Graham Middle School is currently a state leader for both programs. In MakerMinded, Graham middle school has 177 points and currently resides in 2nd place. In Learning Blade, Graham has completed more lessons than 93% of other registered schools in OH. Kirk Koennecke, Executive Director of the Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative and Superintendent of Graham Local Schools is proud of the success of his teachers and students in adopting new innovative STEM programs, “We strive every day to provide the absolute best educational opportunities to our students. MakerMinded and Learning Blade help our students envision their role in the 21st century workforce all while reinforcing in engaging standards and academics.”

Results from The Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

The committee, which is housed under the White House's National Science and Technology Council as part of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has said in the past that it was trying to identify and manage any overlap in the various federal programs to improve science, technology, engineering and math education. It "has not fully met its responsibilities" in that area, the GAO said.

Education programs in STEM fields are intended to enhance the nation's global competitiveness. GAO reported in 2012 that there were more than 200 federal STEM education programs in fiscal year 2010. Since then, this portfolio of programs has changed. GAO was asked to review the landscape of federal STEM education programs.
 
This report examines (1) how the federal investment in STEM education programs changed from 2010 to 2016, and (2) the extent to which the STEM education portfolio has been assessed.To answer these questions, GAO administered a web-based questionnaire to all federal STEM education programs funded in fiscal year 2016 and analyzed the results. GAO also reviewed relevant federal laws and agency documents, examined the implementation of relevant assessment requirements, and interviewed officials from relevant federal agencies.

Inspiring Students to Pursue STEM Education Through Robotics

Dan Mantz had a vision for a robotics program that encouraged students to take to STEM fields and become engineers and skilled technicians. He’s now achieving it as the CEO of the Texas-based Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. “We want to change the world by inspiring young people to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields,” Mantz said.

Dan Matz

STEM EDUCATION IS ABOUT HANDS ON EXPERIENCES

The processes of inquiry, reasoning and collaboration required in STEM learning are similar to any experiential activity; learning activities must be hands-on experiences. STEM classes also demand rigor and relevance in a curriculum, and the students who take these classes must learn to think critically as they use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to solve real world problems through direct learning experiences.

Reading does not provide the kind of authentic experiences that students need. Students aren’t likely to be motivated by reading content alone, and as a result, their overall academic performance will likely suffer.


Engineering Practices for Effective STEM Learning

“What if schools could offer a different approach to STEM education that provided students with truly immersive learning opportunities?” That question came to Ethan Berman, founder of i2 Learning, after the experience of his nine-year old daughter, who liked school but loved solving problems and making things with her own hands, especially, as she put it, “if it was something useful.”

That was what inspired Berman to found Boston STEM Week, which just concluded its second successful year by replacing the usual curriculum for the more than 6,000 students and 300 teachers across 37 Boston middle schools. During this week, schools replace their usual curriculum with projects aimed at building lunar colonies, creating interactive monsters, designing digital games, and practicing surgical techniques.

 


$200 Million from DOE Backed Up By $300 Million from Corporations Supporting STEM Education

Many of the country’s largest tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, pledged a total of $300 million for computer science education, part of a partnership meant to prepare students for careers in technology. The corporate donations follow a White House effort to direct federal money toward teacher training and resources that bolster science, technology, engineering and math. President Trump directed the Education Department to put $200 million in grant money toward computer science education.

Many of the companies involved in the computer science initiative have been pushing to increase computer training in schools. Tech companies see the STEM fields, and computer science in particular, as a weakness in American education and have pressed for coding and other classes to be bolstered to keep the United States competitive with nations that are pulling ahead in those areas.


50,361 Workforce Credentials Issued in Virginia in Fiscal Year 2017

Virginia has achieved the goal set in Executive Order 23 – Establishing the New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative, which called for the annual production of 50,000 workforce credentials aligned with high-paying jobs in science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare (STEM-H). The 50,361 STEM-H credentials awarded during fiscal year 2017 represent a 36-percent increase compared to fiscal year 2014 when the goal of 50,000 credentials per year was set. These credentials include: associate degrees, certificate programs, apprenticeships, certifications, licenses, and industry credentials.                   

 

“Because we set an ambitious goal of 50,000 STEM-H credentials each year, Virginia is transforming its workforce into one that is both highly skilled and work-ready for businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.  “These workforce credentials are critical to supporting Virginia’s growing high-tech economy by providing citizens the skills they need to get good-paying jobs. The success of this effort is a testament to the hard work of our educators, students, and business leaders who are strengthening our new Virginia economy every day.”


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