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Encouraging Today’s Hidden Figures In STEM

Forbes – Staff Writer

“Hidden Figures has taken not only the box office by storm, but the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education world as well. As a leading Oscar contender, it is helping to elevate the ongoing conversation surrounding women in STEM. By increasing awareness of past gender and racial inequity, Hidden Figures has sparked interest in addressing the inequities that are still present today. Studies show that female and male students actually perform equally well in mathematics and science on standardized tests, but larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income.”(more)

In Finland, Kids Learn Computer Science Without Computers

The Atlantic – Emily DeRuy

“The Finns are pretty bemused by Americans’ preoccupation with whether to put iPads in every classroom. If a tablet would enhance learning, great. If it wouldn’t, skip it. Move on. The whole thing is a little tilting-at-windmills, anyway. That was the gist of the conversation one recent morning at the Finnish Embassy in Washington, D.C., where diplomats and experts gathered to celebrate the country’s education accomplishments as Finland turns 100. And Americans could stand to take notes. (Yes, from Finland—again.) Coding and programming are now part of the curriculum in the Scandinavian country, and they’re subjects kids tackle from a young age. But unlike in some parts of the United States where learning to code is an isolated skill, Finnish children are taught to think of coding and programming more as tools to be explored and utilized across multiple subjects.”(more)

Deeper Learning—for Teachers

Ed Utopia – Andrew Miller

“Professional development. The phrase has a lot of connotations: Some may think of a trainer talking at them for a full day while others remember a fantastic and practical workshop or a meaningful conversation with a student or colleague. I see a clear parallel to the term project. Say “project” to someone, and they might recall a truly valuable experience or perhaps a complete waste of time. However, we know that when we adopt the mindset and essentials of project-based learning with students, we can improve upon existing projects or create new and better ones. Can we use PBL to improve professional development?.”(more)

Students more likely to succeed if teachers have positive perceptions of parents

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Parental involvement is commonly viewed as vital to student academic success by most education experts and researchers; however, the quality of research on how to measure and improve parental involvement is lacking. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that teacher ratings of parental involvement early in a child’s academic career can accurately predict the child’s academic and social success. Additionally, they found that a teacher training program can help improve the quantity and quality of teacher-parent interactions. Keith Herman, a professor in the MU College of Education and co-director of the Missouri Prevention Center, says these findings show the importance of teacher-parent connections and also the need for training teachers on how to create effective relationships with all parents.”(more)

A Cage-Busting Curriculum for Teachers

Education Next – Frederick Hess

“Last week, new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stirred up a kerfuffle when, after a visit to Washington DC’s Jefferson Middle School Academy, she said that the teachers seemed to be in “receive mode.” DeVos told a columnist for Townhall, “They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child. You have to have teachers who are empowered to facilitate great teaching.” DeVos has since clarified that she meant to say it’s a problem that so many teachers feel hamstrung by rules, regulations, and bureaucracy. And you know what? That is exactly right. DeVos’s phrasing was unhelpful, and it’s a problem that she framed the remark as the product of a single school visit, but the contretemps shouldn’t obscure the larger point.”(more)

Family ties: how to get parents involved in children’s learning

The Guardian – Lilufa Uddin

“Teachers are always looking for ways to improve education for their pupils – and one of the fundamental ways of doing this is parental engagement. Learning shouldn’t finish when the child leaves school at the end of the day, and with parents on board it is much easier to help students reach their potential. Of course, it won’t always be easy to engage parents: they may be very busy, or have a first language other than English. So what advice is out there for building better partnerships?.”(more)