Engage! K-12 is an interactive and hands-on learning experience organized by eye-catching themes (such as soccer-playing robots or autonomous cars). Students and teachers can access the browser-based learning ecosystem from any device. A user-friendly interface allows teachers, even those with zero programming experience, to bring their lessons to life with virtual or physical robots.
In a recent Apple news article , well known tech consultant Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies, Inc., discussed the importance of President John F Kennedy's “we choose to go to the moon speech.” Mr Bajarin believes that that speech given by the president on September 12, 1962 at Rice Stadium in Houston was crucial in the development of a whole generation of engineers and mathematicians: the very people necessary to this nation's winning the last century's great space race to the moon. It is Mr Bajarin’s opinion that “by the mid-1980s, without a similar push by either the US.government or the schools to emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM for short), we lost almost two decades of youth who chose to go into other fields of learning.”
No, not "candy coating", but maybe just as fun. The makers of Pocky, Glico, have made a game app called Glicode that let's kids start coding by arranging the real-life cookies into various patterns and snapping a picture of the arrangement to translate it into in-game commands. The game itself is brightly colored and cute, and the cookies are ready to eat once they've been used - what more could a kid want?
At the June 27, 2016 ISTE famed futurist Dr Michio Kaku spoke to the assembled educators about the coming “digitization” of many industries. He thinks it is only a matter of time--and not much time at that!--before many--maybe even most-- jobs now held by humans will be handled more cheaply and efficiently by robots. If my own past is any guide, I think he’s right. But he was also quick to point out that there were some jobs that he didn’t see replaced by artificial intelligence any time soon--if at all. Teaching, Dr Kaku believes, is one of those jobs. So far nothing digital has appeared on the horizon that looks likely to replace the classroom teacher. I’ve had reason to agree with him there too...
The momentarily stern-looking gentleman in this image gave the opening keynote address at the recent ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, June 26 through 29, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. I’m certain his face is familiar, but do you know his name? I didn’t, although I feel like I’ve seen him a thousand times on TV explaining everything from time-travel to warp-drives (neither of which exists, of course; but after he got through explaining them I did finally understand why!). And with his infectious enthusiasm and shock of gray hair, he is hard to miss.
I just came across some school-rating figures that surprised me: according to the personal finance website WalletHub based in Washington DC, South Carolina public schools were rated 45th in the nation in educational quality in 2015. That’s 45th in a field of 51. That’s not a good score. The reason this low score surprised me is that I had recently read an interesting Internet post that described at least one South Carolina school district as very up-to-date, progressive and STEM oriented. I guess I thought that would be the same for the entire state!
Personally, I can't remember a president since Eisenhower that has tried as hard to inspire young people to undertake a STEM career as has President Barak Obama. And yes, I can remember the Eisenhower Administration and the day Sputnik went into orbit and changed the world forever! John Kennedy’s administration might have set the nation’s course for the moon in 1961, but I doubt we could have achieved that without the impetus provided four years earlier by Sputnik orbiting the Earth.This drove the country to increase spending on what we know today as STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Until that moment, we had thought ourselves invulnerable. Sure, the Russians had the bomb too, but they had nothing with wings to deliver it across the thousands of miles separating us as up-to-date as our own Strategic Air Command’s B-52 Stratofortress. And then suddenly, they did…
Why go from STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math)?
Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson is a well-known TV personality whose education and experience in physics has qualified him to make pronouncements of great weight in the area of --as you might guess--astrophysics. While his background in economics may be somewhat obscure, one thing he said recently at a press conference held at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan can be taken to the bank! “Everything we know about science and technology” he said, “tells us that they are the engines of the future economies. They are the seeds of tomorrow’s growth of wealth. I’m not going to twist your arm to get you to like science, but I don’t have to twist your arm to make you like money. If you don’t want to die poor you should invest in STEM.”
When I first heard the term “blockly” I thought I’d heard “broccoli” and I remembered a comment made by the first President Bush when he came under fire from the dietary fascists for reportedly banning broccoli from the White House: