Jaime Escalante passed away on Tuesday, March 30, 2010. He will be deeply missed.
In addition to being profiled in the film “Stand and Deliver,” the legendary educator had his own television program on PBS in the 1990s. Scientists, astronauts, engineers and celebrities visited his classroom and talked with his students about how math is used every day in a wide variety of careers. The series, “FUTURES with Jaime Escalante,” was one of the most popular PBS programs and was watched in thousands of classrooms every week. Thank you Jaime for your legacy and your inspiration.
Here is a great video of Jaime from The Futures Channel, “Jaime on Being a Teacher.”
If you would like to share how Jaime inspired you, please feel free to contribute a comment below.
One of the main issues at the heart of the STEM education movement is improving the number of women scientists and engineers. The American Associate of University Women (AAUW) recently published a research report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,which indicates that although the number of women in STEM fields has improved, many of the same barriers that have hindered progress still remain such as stereotypes about STEM careers and gender-bias.
Although the number of male and female students studying math and science are relatively even, AAUW’s report points out that this balance breaks down at the college level where women are much less likely to pursue a major in a STEM field than their male counterparts.
So what steps can be made to ensure more women enter the STEM Pipeline? AAUW makes a few recommendations:
- Actively recruit women into STEM majors.
- Send an inclusive message about who makes a good science or engineering student.
- Emphasize real-life applications in early STEM courses.
What practices and activities do you think could help encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM?
photo: (The Futures Channel) Wildlife Biologist Jennifer Wilson at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge near Houston, Texas.
Recently, our friends at James Madison University sent us this video featuring fourth-year Chemistry Major, Katy Zimmerman, sharing some of what she’s loved about her college experience at JMU. We thought their 4-minute video was eminently watchable and truly captured Ms. Zimmerman’s enthusiasm. So we thought our audience might enjoy it too.
Endless Summer, Riding Giants–There have been some great movies that explore the Earth’s oceans and their giant waves. But, few have provided their audience with an understanding of the science of these waves AND do so using 3D. The new movie “The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D” follows nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater on a surfing trip to Tahiti.
“The film explores the hidden forces at work shaping the waves and the islands that lie in their path,” as described on the movie’s website. “In stylized animated segments, the audience is propelled into the cosmos to discover the sources of a wave’s energy; and then back to Earth to witness the swirling dance of the atmosphere that will transfer energy deep into the ocean and shape a wave’s long journey across thousands of miles of open Pacific.”
The Ultimate Wave is playing at IMAX theaters at major science museums across the country including the California Science Center in Los Angeles and New England Aquarium in Boston. (Here’s a listing of current and upcoming theater venues.)
Once students have seen the movie, educators can take advantage of a free teacher’s guide on the movie’s website. It also includes a gallery of videos that could be great to show in class.
Photo: Perfect Wave Productions, Inc.
The 2010 TED Conference just wrapped up in Long Beach, Ca over the weekend. TED began in 1984 as a small conference to bring together stakeholders in the fields of Technology, Enterntainment and Design. These days, it’s a full-blown organization aimed at “giving millions of knowledge-seekers around the globe direct access to the world’s greatest thinkers and teachers.”
They have a good video library featuring some of the best innovators and problem solvers out there including this great video of world-renowned chemist and Harvard professor George Whiteside discussing how he is helping develop medical diagnostic tools such as the “lab-on-a-chip” with the mission of providing extremely inexpensive healthcare solutions to developing countries. The video is a part of their “Tales of Invention” series which can be viewed from their website. They also have a YouTube channel.
With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games just days away, many students will be tuning in to marvel at the speed of the alpine skiers and gravity-defying tricks of the snowboarders. The games also present excellent opportunities to show students STEM in action.
The official Olympics website features a “project showcase” of classroom activities submitted by educators around the US and Canada. You can search the resource by grade, school subject and sport.
NBC Learn has a library of videos that explore the “Science of Olympic Winter Games.” They also have lesson plans and activities if you sign up for a free trial of their “NBC News On-Demand” service.
So, what ideas do you have on how to connect STEM and the Olympic Games? Submit your ideas as a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
(Photo from Reuters)
As of 2008, only 25 percent of the IT workforce were women. Not only that, but the number of women in computer-related occupations has been steadily declining since 1991, when it peaked at a meager 36 percent. That is according to the Women in IT: The Facts report published by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
NCWIT along with organizations like The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI) are working to address this issue through a number of different avenues such as community services, outreach programs and achievement awards.
Just this past week, it was announced that The Anita Borg Institute, NCWIT along with the ACM Women’s Council (ACM-W) received a grant from the National Science Foundation “to broaden women’s participation in computing by sponsoring regional conferences across the country.” The “Grace Hopper Regional Consortium” aims to show women the opportunities available to them in IT fields.
There has been a lot of research done and ideas developed on how to encourage young women to pursue STEM-related careers. What have your experiences been with regard to motivating female students when it comes to STEM? Do you think progress is being made and, if so, how?
(photo: North Eugene High School)
Since the release of Apple’s iPad last week, there has been some interesting discussion generated within the online education community about the effect this new technology may have on the classroom. Some see it as a fantastic new advance that may represent the future of technology tools for students and teachers, while others view it as just another piece of hardware.
Check out some of the buzz about the iPad and let us know what you think. What place do you think the iPad will have in education, if any? And, do you think it will have any benefits to STEM education?
ISTE Connects – Apple iPad and Education: Teacher’s Aid or Student Learning Tool
THE Journal - Measuring the iPad’s Potential for Education
Campus Technology – Apple’s iPad: The Future of Mobile Computing in Education
PBS Teacherline – How Will the iPad Change Education?
Shortly after the release of The Abyss, director James Cameron visited Jaime Escalante’s math classroom for an episode of the popular PBS series: Futures with Jaime Escalante.
What’s remarkable is that though STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) was not a buzzword 20 years ago, Cameron’s message to students could be repeated word-for-word today and be just as relevant.
Check out the clip:
The longest running citizen science research project began 110 years ago, when an ornithologist named Frank Chapman proposed that instead of going out and competing with family and friends to see who could shoot the most birds–an actual holiday tradition in the late 1800’s–people should instead count the birds and send their tallies to the recently-formed Audubon Society. (It’s with some dark humor that I imagine more than a few people asked, “So do we count ‘em before we shoot ‘em or after?”) But of course the answer was to not shoot them at all, just count them. And so began Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count. It’s happened every year since.
- Wetlands along the U.S. Gulf Coast provide winter habitat for millions of ducks and geese. Here’s a HUGE flock of snow geese wintering in Texas.