UConn: Magazine launches for STEM news


Members of STEMTalk gathered Thursday night to celebrate the release of the inaugural issue of UConn’s first STEM magazine.

 STEMTalk is a student run magazine at UConn that aims to report current news and opinions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine to students across campus.

BEAM in NYC: “Beyond ‘Hidden Figures’: Nurturing New Black and Latino Math Whizzes”

One afternoon last summer at BEAM 6, an experimental program in downtown Manhattan for youths with a high aptitude for math, a swarm of 11- and 12-year-olds jockeyed for a better view of a poster labeled “Week One Challenge Problem.”

Is there a 10-digit number where the first digit is equal to how many 0’s are in the number, the second digit is equal to how many 1’s are in the number, the third digit is equal to how many 2’s are in the number, all the way up to the last digit, which is equal to how many 9’s are in the number?

Within the scrum was a trio of friends-in-formation: “Can we work on this during Open Math Time?” one asked. The second, wearing red-and-black glasses and dogged by the fear that he did not belong — “I’m really not that good at math,” he had told me earlier — lingered at the snack cart. “Leave some for the rest of us, J. J.,’’ demanded the third, gently elbowing him aside.

To Mira Bernstein, a BEAM instructor and a leading figure in the extracurricular math ecosystem that incubates many of the nation’s scientists and engineers, the scene was unremarkable, except for one striking feature: None of the children were wealthy, and few were white or Asian.

“How Chromebooks and Google Classroom Change the Learning Process”


Thanks to some updates to Google Classroom and a next-generation fleet of Chromebooks, optimizing learning away from a one-size-fits-all experience has gotten even easier.

In late January, at the BETT education conference in London, Google unveiled Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung that will be convertible, 2-in-1 devices with world-facing cameras and stylus capabilities.

“Educators are looking for a device that can do everything for a student,” said Rajen Sheth, director of product for Chrome for Education, in a virtual roundtable prior to BETT. “A device needs to be a laptop, a tablet, a textbook, and a notebook. It’s not about replacing what is in the classroom, but really augmenting what is in the classroom.”

“Modest gains, but US students still lag in science learning”


The vast majority of U.S. students still lack a solid grasp of science despite some modest gains by fourth and eighth graders, especially girls and minorities.

The problem is particularly acute among the nation’s high school seniors.

The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation’s Report Card, released Thursday shows only about a third of fourth and eighth graders demonstrated strong academic performance in the sciences. Among 12th graders, just one in five were proficient or above in science.

Only 16% Of Teachers Say Their Schools’ Tech Integration Deserves An ‘A’

While the majority of U.S. teachers believe technology helps facilitate learning, only 16 percent give their schools an “A” grade for incorporating it into their classroom, according to the findings of a new study from Edgenuity. This gap presents an opportunity for technology, when used the right way, to empower the classroom experience.

Additionally, 48 percent of teachers consider what technology they currently do have to be outdated, despite billions of dollars of investment in both hardware and software for the K-12 classroom. In 2015 alone, districts shelled out over $6 billion on educational tech.


Washington Post: Top business leaders, 27 governors, urge Congress to boost computer science education

Leaders of dozens of the nation’s top businesses — from Apple and Facebook to Target, Walmart and AT&T — are calling on Congress to help provide computer science education in all K-12 schools, arguing that the United States needs far more students who are literate in the technologies that are transforming nearly every industry.

They worry that the United States could lose its competitive edge without significant efforts to boost computer science among the nation’s youth. A bipartisan coalition of 27 governors has joined the effort, saying they see teaching coding and programming as a way to draw middle-class jobs to their states, and dozens of school system superintendents and nonprofit leaders say they see computer science courses as essential for giving children the skills they’ll need to be successful in the modern economy.

“Our schools should give all students the opportunity to understand how this technology works, to learn how to be creators, coders, and makers — not just consumers,” they wrote Tuesday in an open letter to lawmakers. “Instead, what is increasingly a basic skill is only available to the lucky few, leaving most students behind, particularly students of color and girls.”


NY Times: The Minecraft Generation


How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching
millions of children to master the digital world.

Nearly everyone who plays Minecraft, or even watches someone else do so, remarks on its feeling of freedom: All those blocks, infinities of them! Build anything you want! Players have re­created the Taj Mahal, the U.S.S. Enterprise from “Star Trek,” the entire capital city from “Game of Thrones.” It’s the most obvious appeal of the game. But I first started to glimpse how complex Minecraft culture can be when I saw what kids were doing with what’s called “redstone,” the game’s virtual wiring. My two sons had begun using it: Zev, who is 8, showed me an automated “piston door” and stone gateway he built. Gabriel, who is 10, had created a “minigame” whose actions included a mechanism that dropped anvils from a height, which players on the ground had to dodge.