Tag Archives: STEM education

Announcing the Google CS Engagement Small Awards Program

Google Science Fair

Google Science Fair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Google has created the CS Engagement Small Grants Program to support educators teaching introductory computer science courses in reaching their engagement and retention goals. Unrestricted gifts of $5k will be given to selected applicants’ universities.

All educators who are teaching CS1 and CS2 courses at the post-secondary level are encouraged to apply — applications will be accepted through November 15, 2014 and will be evaluated on an ongoing basis. Please check out the Call for Proposal.

While the overall number of students in introductory computer science courses continues to climb, the number of students who go on to complete undergraduate degrees, especially among women and minorities is not as high. Recent findings show that retaining students after their first year in a CS program is still an issue. One of the strongest factors in retention is early exposure to engaging courses and course material, which are meaningful and relevant to the student’s life and encourage student-to-student interaction.

For more information: http://googleforeducation.blogspot.com/2014/10/announcing-google-cs-engagement-small.html


National Math + Science Initiative Boosts College Readiness for More Than 13,000 Students Nationwide


Student enrollment in college-level math, science and English courses boosted by more than 50,000 in the 2013-2014 year due to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). NMSI, which is working in just 566 schools, also raised the number of Advanced Placement qualifying exam scores by more than 18,500 exams, representing 13,000 additional students who are better prepared for college after this past school year. These 566 schools would have otherwise increased their qualifying exam scores by fewer than 1,400, representing about 1000 students.

NMSI AP 1 year increase_2014_Isolated Chart

Scores of three or higher (on 5 point scale) on AP exams qualify students for college credit at many colleges and universities across the country. Students who master AP courses in high school are three times more likely to graduate from college. African-American and Hispanic students who succeed in AP courses are four times more likely to graduate from college.

“Earning a college degree is the single most important factor influencing economic opportunity and social mobility for our young people, and introducing high school students to a more demanding curriculum is a critical component to prepare them for success down the road,” said Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of NMSI. “We are making measurable, sustainable and scalable progress in improving college readiness among our nation’s students.”

Since 2008, NMSI’s College Readiness Program has been implemented in more than 620 schools across 26 states and the District of Columbia.

NMSI, a non-profit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to transform education in the United States.

Detroit Lions Help Launch STEM Programs in 2 Detroit Schools

Tata Technologies Teach STEM

Alisa Harewood, head of the office of the CEO at Tata Technologies, teaches the meaning of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to a young student at Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit, Mich. (PRNewsFoto/Tata Technologies)

Detroit Lions, Athletes for Charity and Tata Technologies are partnering to launch a STEM program at 2 Detroit Public Schools. The program aims to improve learning outcomes and student interest in STEM, while also developing their skills in reading and writing, creating pathways to success in post-secondary education and 21st century careers.

Two schools have been selected for the inaugural launch of the STEM Youth Literacy Program: Clark Preparatory Academy and Dixon Educational Learning Academy. The curriculum will include monthly STEM book distributions to students by various Detroit Lions players.  Both Detroit Lions players and Tata Technologies staff will volunteer to serve as STEM Readers.

“The demand for skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, and math is on the rise while the availability of qualified applicants is on the decline because students are not pursuing degrees and careers within the sector,” said Alisa Harewood of Tata Technologies, a global engineering services company with North American headquarters located in Novi, MI.

“Our partnership with Tata Technologies and the Detroit Lions represent an innovative way to fuse the nonprofit, corporate and sports sectors, to motivate students in the areas of STEM,” saidCathleen Laporte, founder and president of Athletes for Charity.

Detroit Lions Safety Don Carey is a founding member of the program and serves as a liaison to the team.  Invitations have also been extended to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red Wings players to join the team as STEM supporters.

Additional supporters include The Helen L. Kay Charitable Trust and support from athletes such as Detroit native Anthony Adams, a retired nine-year NFL veteran who most recently played for the Chicago Bears. Adams currently serves a as a host of Inside the Bears.

Students Think Tablets Make Learning Fun


school boy using tablet computerWe all know that kids are hooked on technology — especially smartphones and tablets — but a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Pearson shows that 90% of the kids believe that tablets will change the way they learn in the future and 89% believe tablets will make learning more fun. This could be good news for schools looking for better ways to use technology with their kids — especially since tablets can be more affordable than full laptops or computers.

Interestingly, 1 to 1 computing and high speed Internet access is still a challenge for schools. While using and owning a mobile device is growing among students, only 62% have wireless access at school versus 93% who have wireless access at home. Only 16% of students attend a school that provides every student with a laptop or tablet.

The survey asked 2252 students how they currently use mobile technology for learning and how they would would like to use it in the future. Respondents included 501 elementary school students (4-5th grade), 750 middle school students (6-8th grade), and 1001 high school students (9th-12th grade).

“This year’s study findings show a high level of optimism, engagement and confidence with mobile devices among U.S. students,” said Douglas Kubach, president, Pearson’s School group. “While we are seeing consistent growth of mobile device use among students for school work, a gap still exists between home and school access, preventing many schools from taking full advantage of the digital learning technologies available today that can be instrumental in improving educational experiences for students.”

It looks like there is an opportunity for app developers to continue to work to improve educational offerings on tablet devices.


Register for The Nation’s Biggest Computer Science Competition for Middle School Girls


1487918_770154953048219_4429101847756277780_oIt’s one thing to have a computer science contest for middle school girls — it’s quite another to have that contest be run by high school and college girls who are incredibly passionate about computer science. 2015 ProjectCSGIRLS does just that, not only giving middle school girls the confidence they need to know that they can do computer science, but also putting them into direct contact with girls who have had success.

One important aspect computer science and technology, and especially in showing how they are useful to girls, is in how effective they are in solving and mitigating social problems. ProjectCSGIRLS challenges girls to actively use computer science and technology to develop a solution to an imminent social problem in one of three themes — global health, a safer world and intelligent technology.

2014 was the first year of ProjectCSGIRLS and was limited only to students in VA, DC and MD.  Unlike the 2015 event, which is open to all US middle school girls, 2014 did not require applicants to build their projects, only to conceptualize them. 2014 reached over 100 girls with the awards gala drawing over 130 attendees of students, teachers and industry leaders.

For 2015 there will be finalists, state winners, regional winners, national winners and grand prize winners.  All winners state and above will be invited to the two-day national gala event to interact and network with leaders in technology, tour top tech companies and startups in the DC area, and participate in a formal awards ceremony recognizing their efforts and announcing the 3 grand price award winners from the national winners.  All winners will receive an awards package and be recognized on the ProjectCSGIRLS website.

Judging will be based on originality, demonstration of technical knowledge, creativity, impact and clarity.  Girls will submit their project via the submission portal which opens in January 2015. Results will be released mid March.

For more information on the competition or on how to volunteer or partner, see the 2014 ProjectCSGIRLS website.

Spark Students’ STEM Interests with Verizon’s 3rd Annual Innovative App Challenge


Library Kids on ComputerOne of the best ways to get kids interested in STEM fields is to include them in hands-on activities that let them get a real feel for the creative processes that go into STEM problem solving. The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is calling teams of middle school and high school students to dream up and create concepts for mobile apps that could solve problems in their schools and communities.

One of the winning teams from last year, which was an all-girl team, developed an app called Hello Navi, which assists visually impaired people who are trying to navigate inside buildings — the app was inspired by a blind classmate. Maggie Bolando, the girls’ team advisor, said “The Verizon App Challenge shows what regular kids can do if you challenge them to problem solve and believe in them. Before entering the App Challenge, I never dreamed my students would develop an app that would earn such recognition – they were even invited to the White House Science Fair and demonstrated their app in person for President Obama.”

Created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association, The Verizon Innovative App Challenge encourages students to develop ideas and concepts for mobile apps.  Judging is based on whether the ideas solve challenges in the students’ communities, include STEM principles and are creative, unique and innovative.

The deadline for submission is November 24th and winners will be announced in January 2015.  Students do not need any coding or mobile experience to enter. Eight teams will be named Best in Nation with rewards of $20k each and new Samsung tablets for each team member.

Register or learn more at verizonfoundation.org/appchallenge.

Webucator Launches Program to Provide Free Technology Training to High School Students


webucatorWhile most of us might agree that kids today are more comfortable with technology, that doesn’t mean they know how to leverage it or use it for professional or business reasons.  Webucator, a national training company, is providing free technology training to high school students. Included are a wide range of self-paced courses including web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.), Microsoft Office and more.  These are the same courses that are sold to companies and organizations.

To register for  course:

  1. Go to Webucator’s Self-paced Courses page
  2. Find the course you want to take and click the Order Now button.
  3. Enter STEM for the Coupon Code and click Validate Coupon.
  4. Complete registration — Students will need to verify that they are a student between the ages of 13 and 18.
  5. Email stem@webucator.com with any questions.

For more information: Webucator Announces New Student STEM Program