Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

The Washington Post – Fareed Zakaria

“If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country’s education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills. Every month, it seems, we hear about our children’s bad test scores in math and science – and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities. From President Obama on down, public officials have cautioned against pursuing degrees like art history, which are seen as expensive luxuries in today’s world…This dismissal of broad-based learning, however, comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future…A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity…Innovation is not simply a technical matter but rather one of understanding how people and societies work, what they need and want. America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings.”(more)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How America’s Education Model Kills Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Forbes – Raul O. Chao & Cristina Lopez-Gottardi

“The current model of education in the United States is stifling the creative soul of our children…According to research conducted by Kyung Hee Kim, Professor of Education at the College of William and Mary, all aspects of student creativity at the K-12 level have been in significant decline for the last few decades. Based on scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, her study reveals “that children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.”…While this is troubling for a variety of reasons, it also has significant economic consequences for the future of our country. America has long been unique because of its remarkable ingenuity, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial spirit. Yet over the last few decades, we have witnessed both a steady decline in the number of startups, as well as an increasing number of studies that suggest America’s education model fails to promote the kind of creativity, risk-taking, and problem solving skills necessary for entrepreneurship, and for a world and labor market that is in the midst of profound transformation. These are very worrisome trends.”(more)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Maker Faires are boosting STEM skills

Information Age – Chloe Green

“Over the last few years there has been a lot of interest in Maker Faires in the US and the Maker Movement, as well as its iteration in the UK…Making the Future is important for many reasons. Hands-on project-and design-based learning approaches are more consistent with the cognitive processes and learning styles we attribute to the millennial generation and younger. These approaches spark creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. They ‘pull’ kids into STEM disciplines by generating interest and confidence, rather than ‘pushing’ them to do better in maths and science…creativity and innovation coupled with STEM are essential to producing the products and services we will need in the future. For this reason we need to focus on both STEM and the arts – sometimes referred to as ‘STEAM.’ And moving beyond competitiveness, we believe that education, and particularly STEM education, is the fundamental sustainability issue of our time, since the solutions to poverty, global health issues and climate change will require a highly educated and STEM-literate population.”(more)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

GISD launches STEAM education initiative

Lakeshore Times – William Taylor

“Garland Independent School District is joining hundreds of school districts nationwide by implementing the innovative educational framework known as STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Championed by educators, public officials and researchers across the country, STEAM’s official concept is that science and technology interpreted through engineering and the arts, all based in mathematical elements, is an adaptable program that supports a rigorous, 21st-century education…“The idea to launch a STEAM initiative began from community participation in the stragetic planning process last year,” said Elementary Science Coordinator Tina Garrett. “We realized that we needed to inspire more creativity, innovation and collaborative work. We wanted our students to experience critical thinking and problem solving strategies every day, all year long—not just for one event.””(more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Universities Are Not Teaching Innovation

Forbes – Henry Doss

“Our system of higher education is out of whack with the future, and with innovation; and it is at direct odds with what we say we believe. Not only are our universities not teaching innovation or delivering an innovation experience, they seem to be doing their best to destroy innovative thinking in young people. This is not intentional, but it may be all the more insidious for being unplanned, unnoticed and unseen. Business leaders, politicians and economists all say more or less the same thing: The future depends on innovation and without it we are doomed as a country and a society to second-class status. So innovation, and those who can lead and cause innovation, are at a premium. You would think we would respond to this in our system of higher education; but, in fact, we are doing the exact opposite.”(more)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Can gifted education survive the Common Core?

Thomas B. Fordham Institute – Chester E. Finn, Jr.

“What does the Common Core portend for America’s high-achieving and gifted students?…Gifted children, in our view, have generally been short-changed in recent years by American public education, even as the country has awakened to their potential contributions to our economic competitiveness and technological edge. It would therefore be a terrible mistake for the new Common Core standards, praiseworthy as we believe they are, to become a justification for even greater neglect…The advent of the Common Core standards can and should boost the learning of America’s ablest young learners, not serve as a rationale for denying them opportunities to fulfill their potential. Getting this right calls for re-evaluating and strengthening policies for the gifted, providing more robust programs and services for them, doing what it takes to make differentiation more than a pipe dream, and tapping into resources and educators who can amplify both the standards and their students’ chances of success. It’s a great opportunity to right one of the wrongs perpetrated on U.S. K–12 education during the NCLB era. In so doing, we can brighten the prospects of millions of kids—as well as the entire country’s future.”(more)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hansen: Are parents training resilience and creativity out of their kids? – Matthew Hansen

“We congratulate kindergartners when they line up neatly, pat second-graders on the head when they color between the lines, scold fourth-graders when they ring the doorbell twice to see what happens. All of these parenting moves make perfect sense, says an Omaha expert on child development. And each one of these moves, when drummed into our kids’ heads, can produce adults ill-equipped for the new American economy. “We love disruptive innovators,” says Dr. Laura Jana. “We don’t love them when they are 4.””(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

The Washington Post – Loretta Jackson-Hayes

“In business and at every level of government, we hear how important it is to graduate more students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, as our nation’s competitiveness depends on it…The emphasis on bolstering STEM participation comes in tandem with bleak news about the liberal arts — bad job prospects, programs being cut, too many humanities majors. As a chemist, I agree that remaining competitive in the sciences is a critical issue. But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts. Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs…To innovate is to introduce change. While STEM workers can certainly drive innovation through science alone, imagine how much more innovative students and employees could be if the pool of knowledge from which they draw is wider and deeper. That occurs as the result of a liberal arts education…By all means, let’s grow our STEM graduates as aggressively as possible. But let’s make sure they also have that all-important grounding in the liberal arts. We can have both.”(more)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

‘Maker Space’ Allows Kids To Innovate, Learn In The Hospital

NPR – Noah Nelson

“All around the country, computer hackers, artists and other do-it-yourselfers are meeting up in “maker spaces,” to share tools and build cool stuff together, such as robots or musical instruments. Maker spaces are popping up in all sorts of places: school auditoriums, libraries, under tents at community festivals, and now, even at the hospital. At Vanderbilt University’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., the maker space comes in the form of a large metal cart, carrying materials and tools young patients can use to create objects…The point of this maker space isn’t just to give kids with long hospital stays something cool to do. It’s a pilot program designed by Krishnan to solve the problem of teaching science and math skills to kids inside hospitals.”(more)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Investment in Education for the Next Generation of STEM Innovators Is a Smart Bet

The Huffington Post – Vivian R. Pickard

“It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has steadily increased over the years. As that price tag continues to rise, it becomes even more important for parents and their college-aged children to seriously consider the schools and majors they choose…As the focus on innovation and technology in American industries continues to sharpen, the need for qualified applicants in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) fields will also become more evident. Students who choose a STEM-related major can expect to enter a market where the number of jobs is projected to grow twice as fast as jobs in other fields over the next five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”(more)