Tag Archives: STEM

100Kin10: Why we need more STEM teachers

After President Obama challenged the United States to produce 100,000 excellent new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers by the year 2021, the organization 100Kin10 has rallied scores of universities, nonprofits, foundations, and other partners around the single shared mission. Check out their video about why we need more STEM teachers!

Project Tomorrow is proud to be a 100Kin10 partner organization. 100Kin10 is a networked approach to providing America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021 while supporting tens of thousands more. Through unique, ambitious commitments, their 150+ partners (including Project Tomorrow) are together fueling the creation of the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. Click here to learn more about 100Kin10, and be sure to check out their Blow Minds. Teach STEM. campaign!

How digital learning can lead to a career in STEM

Technology use in the classroom is here and is no longer an idea of the future. Thanks to grants and state-subsidized funding, more and more schools are using devices within their classrooms. Not only does the use of educational technology provide a new way of learning, but it also makes it easier for teachers to satisfy Common Core standards.  Furthermore, it also gives students an opportunity to access 21st century technology, which will be relevant and used throughout their entire lives.

However, given that flipped classrooms are a relatively new practice, some schools still struggle with adopting devices into their classrooms. While lack of funding and device scarcity are obvious barriers to digital learning, another barrier is the lack of teacher education and understanding of how they can use technology in the classroom. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the majority of the US education workforce is comprised of individuals whose median age is 45 years, meaning that they did not experience technology learning in their own academic careers, making it a new concept for everyone involved. However, the technical knowledge of teachers is ultimately up to their administrators, who can provide tutorials, workshops, and other methods of training; one example is the Baldwin County Public School District in Alabama, which has created a Digital Renaissance Leadership Academy for teachers, where teachers are given the opportunity to improve their skill set.

With the right instruction and use of technology, perhaps more students will be driven and prepared to enter careers in STEM. For example, while the lack of computers and adequate computer science classes/programs may have deterred students from programming careers in the past, the combination of the two is now possible through digital learning. Furthermore, if schools provide teachers  with resources supporting digital learning, teachers can then use technology to motivate, interest, and support students who are looking towards STEM careers.

Interested in learning more about how digital learning can lead to a career in STEM? Check out the original article, “Technology Education for Students Is Essential in Creating a Future STEM Workforce, and It Starts With Educating Teachers” by Felix W. Ortiz III.
Every year our Speak Up surveys contain questions regarding digital learning, STEM careers, and students’ accessibility to devices. In our teacher survey we ask questions regarding those topics on top of questions about teachers’ familiarity with technological devices, such as
How much do you agree with this statement: My pre-service education adequately prepared me to effectively use a wide range of technologies within my teaching practice.
Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents and educators to participate in local decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the state and national dialogue about educational technology. Data from the surveys – including data regarding online classes – will be released in February 2015. Click here to register for Speak Up 2014 and mark your calendars for the survey’s launch date on October 6!

Verizon’s New Inspirational STEM Commercial

Verizon recently came out with a new commercial to inspire young women and girls to get involved in STEM. The commercial asks those around young women to inspire them to be more than just “pretty.” Instead, it asks us to say to these girls, “you’re pretty brilliant.”  The Verizon Foundation says they are “committed to helping parents and teachers inspire more girls to get involved with STEM.” When you go to the website, there is much to explore with facts and scenarios that young girls face. It asks us to help spark her imagination in playtime, allow her to try things on her own, encourage her to build her own future, and take risks. The site also tells us that women currently hold less than 25% of our country’s STEM careers.The greatest opportunities in the future will be high-tech jobs in STEM fields. But we’re lagging behind the rest of the world, currently ranked 36th in math and 28th in science.
This commercial inspires us to “Empower young minds.” It truly does. As adults, we have such a huge responsibility to lead our youth. And empowering these young girls to become more interested in STEM is a huge battle that we are all facing. We are getting closer, but we’re not there yet. Thank you Verizon Foundation for helping to get the word out and inspiring us all! Together we can encourage and guide young girls and inspire their minds!
What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you. Check out the commercial and let us know what you think!


Project Tomorrow’s 2013 High Impact Teacher of the Year featured in a Super Bowl ad

If you were one of the 111 million people who watched the Super Bowl last Sunday, you probably saw Microsoft’s ad which portrayed the company’s role in helping a deaf woman to hear, a surgeon to operate successfully, and students to learn by enabling them to connect with other students from across the country.

While Scott Bedley’s fifth-graders from Plaza Vista School in Irvine, CA were only featured in the ad long enough for them to scream, “Hi!”, the brief clip actually comes from a longer online advertisement that focuses solely on the students playing one of their several classroom games: Mystery Skype. Through Mystery Skype, the students are able to use the program to meet classrooms from other areas; however, neither classroom knows where the other is located and they must guess the other’s state by asking about geography, climate, and culture.

Mystery Skype isn’t the only way the students use technology in the classroom – Bedley’s fifth graders have also video chatted with the lead paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, recreated famous buildings and landmarks through the block-building computer game Minecraft, and have used Google Docs to tutor younger students.

Not only were his students able to learn by connecting with others through technology, but Bedley was as well. “[Mystery Skype] is a game that I learned about from different educators that I connected with on Twitter,” he said. His quest to Skype with all 50 states caught Microsoft’s attention, who then asked if he would like to be a part of their campaign which focuses on how the company’s products can change lives. “I saw it as an opportunity to highlight some things that are innovative in education and share those with other teachers,” he said.

Bedley was recently named the 2014 Orange County Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the 2013 Project Tomorrow’s High Impact Teacher in Science, Math & Technology Award, which acknowledged his influence in preparing his students to compete and thrive in the 21st century. He hopes that his highly-watched Super Bowl ad will inspire teachers to use technology in order to change the way they teach and ultimately teach their students “to excel beyond what is just traditional learning.”

Exciting News! Project Tomorrow Named as Partner in 100Kin10, National Network to Grow STEM Teaching Force!

Project Tomorrow commits to advancing the goal of recruiting, preparing, and retaining 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers in 10 years
100Kin10, a multi-sector network addressing the national imperative to train 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021, today announced that Project Tomorrow has been accepted as a partner.
With a highly selective and competitive selection process, Project Tomorrow is extremely honored to be one of only 31 organizations chosen nationwide in this year’s application process. As part of 100Kin10, Project Tomorrow will recruit 2,050 excellent STEM teacher candidates, with 25% (512) from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM, in California by 2018, as measured by the number of students majoring or minoring in education and a science or math discipline.
More and better-trained STEM teachers are essential to prepare America’s students to fully participate in our democracy and to understand and respond to complex national and global challenges. To compete in the global marketplace and provide opportunity to all young Americans, all students—not  just those fortunate enough to attend certain schools— must have basic STEM skills and knowledge. Project Tomorrow is one of nearly 200 100Kin10 partners unified by a single, ambitious goal: to prepare all students with the high-quality STEM knowledge and skills to equip them for success in college and the workplace.
Organizations are accepted as 100Kin10 partners following a rigorous vetting process conducted by a team of partner reviewers and the University of Chicago. Reviewers are looking for organizations that bring innovation, boldness, and a proven track-record to their commitment(s) toward expanding, improving, and retaining the best of the nation’s STEM teaching force, or building the 100Kin10 movement.


A complete list of partners—with new partners highlighted— is available on the 100Kin10 website.

I Am A Scientist

Despite being home to two of the largest life science clusters in the world, California’s mathematics and sciences programs continue to lag behind other states, ranking 43rdin the category. As the life sciences continue to grow in California, the state will need more diverse and educated workers in order to fill high-paying jobs; STEM education will have to become stronger in order for these roles to be fulfilled.

In I Am A Scientist, Tom Torlakson (Superintendent of Public Instruction), the Department of Education, The California Endowment, California Biotechnology Foundation, and Lybba connect what a solid STEM education can do for expanding students’ future career paths. The film follows student from Promise Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles at a biohackathon, an event that enables students to work with biomedical lab equipment in a hands-on setting. “[At the biohackathon] I was inspired by [the students’] imagination and wonderment…these students are genuinely passionate about pursuing careers in science, medicine, research,” said Jesse Dylan, founder of Wondros and Lybba.
The film hopes to not only show the impact that STEM education has on future career paths, but also hopes to inspire students to consider the life science field as well. “We want to help students find their passion and to get a sense for what’s possible in the future,” said B. Kathlyn Mead, the EVP and COO of the California Endowment. Given STEM education’s track record, this seems likely. Marlena Jackson, founder of NexGeneGirls, an afterschool program that introduces girls to science and technology, has seen her students place themselves on track to becoming scientists, engineers, and lab technicians just after some exposure to science.
I Am A Scientist is now showing and is due to be screened at several high schools throughout the state in order to open students’ eyes about a possible career path in the sciences.

Here at Project Tomorrow our mission is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century. Each year we hold our Leading the Way: Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science for local High School students in Orange County, CA. This free half-day event includes a student presentation of OC business trends, panel discussions from industry leaders and a diverse group of engineers, tabletop exhibits to introduce students to local STEM career opportunities and college programs, and breakout sessions led by business and education leaders throughout the region. Opportunities like these are just what students need to get exposure to these types of careers!

To learn more about how you, your company or students can get involved with next year’s 2014 Leading the Way Youth Leadership Summit please visit our website at: http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/youthLeadershipSummit.html

Click here to read the full article, “New Flim Inspites Youth to Find Passion in STEM Education and Discover Science-Based Career Opportunities”.

Also please be sure to contribute to the national dialog about science, technology & preparing students for the 21st century workforce through Speak Up! This year we are asking students, parents and community members to share the types of college and workplace skills that they think students should be learning in school to be successful in the future, what is needed to acquire those skills as well as student’s overall STEM career interest and how they would like to learn about future careers.

To participate in Speak Up go to www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013, surveys are available to students, educators, parents and community members.

Thanks for reading! And please be sure to tell us your thoughts on this interesting article below in our comment section!

Written by Lisa Chu, Project Tomorrow Fall Intern

Around the Web Wednesday!

It’s the Middle of the Week!

Do you know what that means?
Today is Around the Web Wednesday!
Check out the Project Tomorrow Blog each Wednesday for our Around the Web Series 
There are so many exciting topics and discussions taking place in education right now. Read up on all the latest news below! Be sure to tell us what article intrigued you the most.
Don’t forget to vote for Julie Evans’ panel at the SXSWEdu conference! There are only a few more days left to vote, and we could use your support! Click the webtile below for more information. Voting ends September 6th!

PanelPicker Vote

Registration for Speak Up 2013 is live! Register your school or district today!

Friday is “National Flipped Day!” For more information, visit this link: http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/09/03/national-flipped-day-encourages-flipping-classrooms-with-free-lessons.aspx

Teachers, “Flip” your classroom on Friday, September 6th, and tell us about your experience on our Speak Up surveys, which begin October 2nd! Don’t know what flipped learning is? Check out our blog post detailing it here!

Happy Reading!
– The Project Tomorrow team
Around the Web Wednesday
1. National Flipped Learning Day: Read it here!
2. Memorable Experiences in Science/Math: Read it here!
3. Virtual Education on the Rise: Read it here!
4. Blended Classrooms: Read it here!
5. More technology in Michigan schools: Read it here!
6. A Girl’s Camp Focusing on STEM: Read it here!
7. College Affordability: Read it here!
8. Secretary of Education & Founder of Khan Academy Connecting Through Google+: Read it here!
9. FirstEnergy Education Grants: Read it here! 
10. Parents’ Views on the Quality of Education in the US: Read it here!

The Need for STEM education & High Speed Internet

Increasingly, the need for mathematical and technical skills are being required of potential employees and future business owners worldwide as well as nationwide.
But what needs to be done in order to prepare the next generation of American workers?
Recently, Arne Duncan, Secretary of U.S. Education, promoted an urgent need for high speed Internet connection and the wide-spread implementation of STEM education programs across our nation’s K-12 schools.
One particular initiative put forth by the Obama administration (titled ConnectED), aims to have high speed broadband Internet connection in 99% of our nation’s schools within the next five years.
Duncan believes the implementation of high speed Internet connection in our schools will lead to an increase in science, math, and technology comprehension, as Internet connection will make it easier to explore careers and concepts utilized by high-speed broadband connection.
Project Tomorrow is pleased to support the ConnectED initiative, and we are highly anticipating the results of this pivotal plan. To learn more about the ConnectED initiative, read about it here or on the White House site.
In addition to ConnectED, the Educate to Innovate initiative, launched in November 2009, aims to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education in our schools. The initiative supports and promotes partnerships between businesses and schools to create an environment where STEM education is hands-on, and introduced at an earlier age to students. You can learn more about the Educate to Innovate initiative here.
You can also read more about Secretary Dunan’s recent statements regarding STEM education and the ConnectED intiave at CIO.com here.
What are your hopes for the future of American education? Share your thoughts with us.
Don’t forget to register for Speak Up 2013, and vote for Project Tomorrow’s CEO Julie Evans’ panel at the SXSWEdu conference in Austin, Texas here.
Have a happy Tuesday!
– The Project Tomorrow Team