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International Day of Women and Girls in Science encourages girls to consider STEM

The Toronto Star – Fatima Syed

“Held at Facebook headquarters in Toronto, the event served as the launch of the federal government’s second phase of its plan to encourage increased female participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The next phase is called “Choose Science” — a digital campaign sharing why women chose to work in the sciences. The aim is to create a network of mentors to inspire future female STEM leaders. “We need to include all people to make sure we have the right answers for our future, and if you only have men making those decisions that’s not good,” said Kate Young, parliamentary secretary for science. “(Young girls) do need to hear these stories to know there’s a place for (them).” In 1987, only 20 per cent of the people working in STEM fields were female, a number that has moved up to just 22 per cent today. Just 29.6 per cent of individuals with a post-secondary STEM credential and 26.9 per cent of those employed in a STEM-intensive occupation in Canada are women.” (more)

Learning happens on multiple platforms these days

The Toronto Star – Uzma Jalaluddin

“A recent study reported a decrease in overall human attention span since 2000. Apparently, we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. The culprit? Smartphones, collectively glued to our hands. I know the siren call of technology all too well. It’s something I deal with in the classroom and at home with my sons, every day. I was interviewed by two students working on a school project on this topic. “As a teacher, what do you think about technology in schools?” they asked.” (more)

The urgent need to get more women involved in technology

The Toronto Star – Katherine Manuel

“There is a problem in the technology sector that too few are tackling, let alone talking about. A recent Brookfield report found only 9 per cent of software developers in Canada are female. Women’s participation in the technology sector has remained between 23 per cent and 25 per cent for well over a decade.” (more)

Innovative education programs key to future job markets, experts say

The Toronto Star – Brandie Weikle

“There’s a lot of teeth gnashing these days about how our kids aren’t going to be equipped for the workforce of the future. Should they all learn to code? Should they get a jump-start on the entrepreneurial life with lemonade stands and dog walking? The world of work is changing and schools have an important role to play in preparing our kids for a future that we can’t really even fully comprehend. But a growing chorus of experts says most schools aren’t adapting their teaching methods quickly enough to turn out the kind of workers we need.” (more)

Don’t let the world pass us by on science: Editorial

The Star – Staff Writer

“‘Holding their own’ may be too rosy. Countries like China, Switzerland and Singapore significantly improved their showings in this year’s top-200 list, a reflection of strategic policies and aggressive investments in scientific infrastructure and researchers. Meanwhile, Canada has been moving in the opposite direction. Only six Canadian universities made the current top 200, down from eight last year. This will come as no surprise to Canadian researchers, who have long lamented the federal government’s short-sighted approach to science policy.”(more)

Students too young, uninformed to choose high school courses, study says

The Star – Andrea Gordon

Some Grade 8 students continue to be streamed into high school courses that close the door to university with little guidance or understanding about how their choices may affect their futures. That’s one of the troubling findings of a new report that captures the voices of youth and reveals how they end up choosing Grade 9 courses that have significant consequences down the road.”(more)