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How STEM Skills Are the Next Great Equalizer

Fortune – Tim Bajarin

“I grew up in the age of Sputnik and the “space race.” Like most of the youth of my generation, we were challenged in school to “beat the Russians” to space, driven by President John F. Kennedy’s promise to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. As I reread that speech, delivered on Sept. 12, 1962, I’m struck by how much Kennedy focused on the role technology played in history, and the President’s vision of how it could impact our future…Kennedy’s speech became the rallying cry for my generation. Tens of thousands of students took his challenge seriously. This gave us the engineers, scientists, mathematicians and educators who not only delivered on the promise of putting a man on the moon, but also helped create the core technology enabling modern tools from the Internet to advances in healthcare.”(more)

Early math instruction: A predictor for academic success

Education Dive – Staff Writer

“Want your early learners to have long-term reading success? Teach them math. Recent research links high-quality math instruction at the earliest grade levels to improved academic success through high school—and not just in math‑related subjects. Effective early math instruction also leads to later success in reading skills and oral language abilities like: vocabulary, inference, independence and grammatical complexity. In fact, pre-K math scores are a better indicator of later reading success than pre-K reading scores, according to research by Dr. Douglas Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning.”(more)

Math skills in preschool help kids succeed later on

WTOP – Kristi King

“A new study suggests preschoolers are more likely to do well with math when entering kindergarten if they grasp two basic concepts: words associated with numbers, and the quantities they represent. The word ‘two,’ for example, means a pair of things, such as your eyes. “It seems kind of mundane to us, but it’s actually a very difficult process for kids,” said psychologist Dave Geary, from the University of Missouri Department of Psychological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience. Preschoolers are also more likely to have later success with math, Geary said, if they understand that addition and subtraction mean you get more or have less of something.”(more)

Teaching parents to talk math with their kids

The Boston Globe – Kevin Hartnett

“In 1989, pediatricians at Boston City Hospital started urging parents to read to their kids. That effort, “Reach Out and Read,” is often credited as the start of the early childhood literacy movement. Indeed, reading bedtime stories is now considered as much a part of a parent’s responsibilities as encouraging teeth-brushing. What if we did the same thing with math? Researchers with a group called the DREME Network (which stands for Development and Research in Early Math Education) say it’s time for parents to begin to teach their preschool-age children basic math concepts with the same urgency that they encourage reading.”(more)

Math difficulties may reflect problems in a crucial learning system in the brain

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Children differ substantially in their mathematical abilities. In fact, some children cannot routinely add or subtract, even after extensive schooling. Yet the causes of these problems are not fully understood. Now, two researchers, at Georgetown University Medical Center and Stanford University, have developed a theory of how developmental “math disability” occurs. The article, in a special issue on reading and math in Frontiers in Psychology, proposes that math disability arises from abnormalities in brain areas supporting procedural memory. Procedural memory is a learning and memory system that is crucial for the automatization of non-conscious skills, such as driving or grammar. It depends on a network of brain structures, including the basal ganglia and regions in the frontal and parietal lobes.”(more)

Preparing Students for the Computational Future

Ed Surge – Stephen Wolfram

“Pick any field “X,” from archaeology to zoology. There either is now a “computational X”, or there soon will be. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers, whatever—the future of all these professions will be full of computational thinking. Whether it’s sensor-based medicine, computational contracts, education analytics or agriculture—success is going to rely on being able to do computational thinking well. Computational thinking is going to be a defining feature of the future, and it’s an incredibly important thing to be teaching to kids today. But where does it fit into the standard educational curriculum? The answer, I think, is simple: everywhere! One might think that computational thinking is somehow only relevant to STEM education. But it’s not true. Computational thinking is relevant across the whole curriculum.”(more)