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Why STEM education could get a transformative makeover—soon

E-School News – Russell D. Shilling, Ph.D.

“Engaging young children in STEM is critical for creating a lifelong love of learning and for developing critical thinking skills which will serve them well across all academic disciplines and prepare them for the 21st Century workforce. The recently released report, STEM Starts Early: Grounding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Early Childhood by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and New America is a summary of current research and makes critical recommendations for both STEM communication to parents and future research in early childhood STEM.”(more)

In classrooms, movement enhances mental health

USA Today – Noell Dickmann and Jen Zettel

“A two-year study published in February 2016, which Omro school district administrators referred to as they brought the physical equipment into classrooms, found that elementary students who had physical activity incorporated into their lessons significantly improved in their math and spelling performance. But staff in Omro said they were pleasantly surprised to see the benefits of the physical activity go beyond academics, as students’ behaviors and mental health symptoms improved as well. Dr. Eric Smiltneek, a family physician for ThedaCare in Oshkosh, said there is a clear link between exercise and mental health. He referenced a 2008 book by Harvard psychiatry professor John Ratey called “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” which discusses how exercise activates the attention centers of the brain, especially in children.”(more)

Report: Data science and analytics skills critical for today’s workforce

Education Dive – Autumn A. Arnett

“One of the strongest arguments for a liberal arts education is that it exposes students to a variety of coursework that helps develop soft skills and prepare more well-rounded graduates who will then enter the workforce more agile and prepared for the demands of the workplace. However, a push towards specialization, competency-based education and the overall condensing of the higher education experience in the name of promoting four-year graduation for affordability’s sake has compromised some of this development. There has been a shift from seeing higher education as a vehicle to create well-rounded citizens to now a need to create workers, but the two do not have to be mutually-exclusive.”(more)

10 things every child with autism wishes you knew

Medical X-Press – Helen Driver and Joanna Reynolds

“We are often quick to make judgements on what we perceive to be happening when children behave in a way that draws attention – but when a young person with autism is struggling to cope with the world, the last thing they need is our criticism. These 10 tips reflect our combined experience of research and close engagement with children with autism. And as a proud parent of a boy with autism, I would like everyone to think more about how they respond to children. Because if we take time to respect and understand people with autism our communities will become more enriching and inclusive for everyone.”(more)

Teach ‘problem solving’ to produce engineers, schools urged

BBC – Judith Burns

“A focus on “playful experimentation” could boost learning throughout UK schools, says the Royal Academy of Engineering. It could also instil a passion for engineering and help “overcome our current lack of engineers”, it adds. Ministers say they want the UK to be world beating for science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects. But co-author Prof Bill Lucas, of Winchester University, said schools “must rethink” the way they teach in order to boost engagement in engineering. The report also urges professional engineers to dedicate some of their time to working with pupils and teachers in schools.”(more)