The U.S Should Ensure Students Can Train for STEM Careers

In order for the US to remain at the forefront of innovation and not lag behind, we must address the disconnect between the skills required for 21st century jobs and young people’s ability to acquire those skills. Fixing this will require us to evolve our approach to public education and training. The latest results of the PISA exam, which assesses science, math, and reading performance among 15-year-olds around the globe, show American students noticeably behind in math scores (below the international average), with science and reading scores remaining flat. This is not a small problem.

In one way, Congress took a bold, bipartisan step toward reversing this downward trend and closing America’s skills gap last fall, when the House of Representatives voted 405-to-5 to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which had languished since 2006. The Perkins Act provides more than $1 billion in funding for career and technical education across the US. The bill aligns career and tech education programs with actual labor market demands. Updating this important legislation can and should be an early win for the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Learning Experience - DOE Launches $680,000 Challenge

Simulated environments, such as virtual and augmented reality, 3D simulations, and multiplayer video games, are emerging approaches to deliver educational content. Research indicates that simulation-based learning provides students with enriched experiences in information retention, engagement, skills acquisition, and learning outcomes.The EdSim Challenge seeks next-generation educational simulations that strengthen academic, technical, and employability skills. The Department is most interested in immersive and engaging simulations that include clearly defined learning goals and build diverse skill sets.The purpose of this Challenge is to stimulate the marketplace for computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and embedded assessment. The developer community is encouraged to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components.


Coding to Every Classroom

The push to teach coding in U.S. schools has been growing: Thanks to initiatives like the White House’s CS for All program, computer science is now recognized as a core skill for today’s students. A new study by Gallup and Google revealed that 90 percent of parents want their child to learn CS, yet only 40 percent of K-12 school districts offer some kind of CS course. Teacher recruitment and training efforts are beginning to solve the problem at the high-school level, but in K-8 schools (where very few schools offer CS and many teachers are generalists) the challenges are different. Many teachers without much coding experience understandably feel anxious about integrating this new literacy into their classrooms.

Coding to Every Classroom

Students are a (Plasma) Cut Above with CAD/CAM

The students in Dale Sunderman’s shop classes at Oregon’s Stayton High School are so busy cutting, pressing, milling and welding unique projects they wish there were more hours in a school day. The courses begin with Manufacturing 1 and include the basics in shop safety, sheet metal work, drill press, lathe and mill operations and automated manufacturing. Here, the students get their feet wet in CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Machining) operations. After a basic fabrication class, students enter Advanced Manufacturing, where they hone their skills in MIG and TIG welding, as well as industry-oriented CNC programming and machining. “It is at this level and in the Independent Studies Manufacturing course,” says Sunderman, “that the more eager students really begin to stand out. Their projects even capture the interest of the surrounding community.”
 
Stayton HS, MasterCAM

Makerspaces: Simple and Cost Effective Projects to Build Your Own STEM Program

Every new classroom project must satisfy available resources within three dimensions: 1) time, 2) money and 3) physical space. The 2016 New Media Consortium Horizon Report for K-12 Education anticipates that makerspaces will be highly adopted in schools across the country within the next year. Maker education and makerspaces are the hot topic in STEM education right now.

Over the last year I have worked with many teachers in a professional development environment who are simultaneously enthusiastic about the idea of a makerspace, and frustrated by the limitations of space in their schedule, budget and classroom layout. We all want a makerspace, but how do we make that happen within these constraints?
Ready for the Good News?
You do not need wait for additional funding or a district-wide initiative to build your own classroom makerspace. Teachers can embrace makerspaces with any level of experience and with any available resources.

Top Earning Major's Dominated by STEM Degrees

Glassdoor study released. The job search engine analyzed more than 500,000 resumes and self-reported salaries to determine which majors pay the most during the first five years after graduation. Eight of the 10 most-bankable majors are tied to engineering or technology, such as computer science, electrical engineering and information technology. Nearly half of the majors listed are in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, though business-related majors, such as accounting and marketing, crack the top half of the 50 majors listed.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/50-highest-paying-college-majors/


YOUR FUTURE is MADE in MANUFACTURING, An Introduction to Manufacturing, Teachers Guide, recommended for grades 6-12

Dear Teacher,

I am constantly in awe of what you do every day. You inform, you influence, you interact, and most importantly, you inspire young people preparing for the exciting world of learning and work.

Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled due to the skills gap. With your help, we can mitigate this gap and show students the reality of modern manufacturing. Many people of all ages are amazed to learn how much we manufacture in the United States and how diverse the careers are in our dynamic industry. Today’s manufacturing is about new innovation, making an impact, and a chance to design and build the future .Whether they are interested in design, engineering, or even the business side of the industry, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing. Not only does our industry offer a wide variety of demanding and fulfilling roles, it also offers high pay and opportunity for career advancement.


Engaging Students with Hands-On Learning

About five years ago, I noticed it was getting more and more difficult for my students to retain the information presented in my CNC Machining Program. You see, at that time, I was making widgets in class that demonstrated the basic processes performed on CNC machines. These widgets, though, had no meaning to my students because they weren’t part of anything real or usable.

The result? Students were disinterested.
One day, while shopping for a remote control (RC) car, it occurred to me these cars are like an actual vehicle, with four-wheel, independent suspension and transmissions with front and rear differentials. As a CNC manufacturing engineer, before I entered teaching, I machined driveline components for agricultural and military applications. So, as a teacher, I knew the driveline components on the remote-controlled cars were machined and closely represented a real-life driveline. A closer examination of the RC car revealed to me I could use the resources in my CNC lab to design, re-engineer, set up, program and run almost the entire RC car as a class project.
Hands-On Learning

NATEF Introduces Guide for New Automotive Instructors

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) has developed an online guide targeted toward automotive technicians who are interested in transitioning to an instructor role. The guide covers such teaching topics as lesson planning, lesson delivery, student assessment and useful resources for new instructors. The NATEF New Instructor Guide, which is available free to all instructors, was developed through a grant from Ingersoll Rand.

NATEF said it created this guide to help new automotive instructors be more successful in making the transition from doing to teaching. It also provides resources for instructors already in the field.


Mastercam University Prepares Machine Shop Teacher to Stay Ahead of Computer-Savvy Students

When Gene Hickey began teaching the art of machining in 1977, computer-aided manufacturing wasn’t a part of the curriculum. The Atari 2600 video gaming system was introduced that same year and, at $265 was a luxury for most households.  When Hickey decided to return to the classroom in 2006 – after a 15-year hiatus – he entered an environment where his students were computer-literate, having grown up using gaming systems that had gone mainstream with graphics that rivaled those in animated films.

Mastercam University

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