Is the Digital Divide Dead? Our 21st Century Challenge is to Level the Playing Field

Meeting the Challenge

The digital divide is very much alive. Reporters find it boring to discuss and would rather talk about new technologies. I understand. The nature of technology and its ever forward reach , change and transition is one reason that the digital divide continues to exist. There are other components of the divide that many people do not recognize . There is an information divide , a technology divide, a content divide in subject area and a use divide . Many people have devices that they do not use to the fullest because they do not understand, or have professional development to understand.There is always something new to learn. Sometimes we ask too much of our teachers and demand change by evaluation that is difficult to come by. Juggling the effects of poverty and poor schools is a daunting task. See here  but I digress . You can see why reporters don’t want to share the sadness of the still existing digital divide in our “education nation”. Positive projects are under-reported. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation shared a silent past of the problem in this report.

MAJOR TALENT DRAIN IN OUR NATION’S SCHOOLS, SQUANDERING THE POTENTIAL OF MILLIONS OF HIGH-ACHIEVING, LOWER-INCOME STUDENTS, NEW REPORT UNCOVERS  well the report is not new now..but there is still a problem.

Children need to have technology and active learning in after school, museum and community programs that excite their imagination and fuel their learning.

Current education policy focused on “proficiency” misses opportunity to raise achievement levels among the brightest, lower-income students

Technology changes make learning a constant. Lack of broadband is another reason to know that there is a digital divide that is difficult to leap over. Most do not include the global reach of the technologies, but the daily news brings us the world. There are places in the world where technology is not a given. Some states that are more remote are using technology in new ways. Broadband is still a problem  and many people are still on the dark side of the digital divide The Seattle Times shared this story which is one that is hardly shared in the media.

The access to Broadband is a national problem in rural, distant and some urban areas.

. SETDA shares the Broadband problem in a powerpoint.

North Dakota accepted the challenge and created a project to share new ways of working and of training teachers.They train new teachers and in service teachers and university professors in online ways.

There are online ways to bridge the divide, using in person and online differ for learners depending on their comfort base. I try to be PC and Apple fluent.. that takes owning both devices and keeping up with the new applications, add a cell phone, the cloud, and a tablet and you will understand  .  The  hierarchy of devices is an article that shares and shows the ideas of how the technology should work. Actually we all have a learning curve to conquer you ,don’t to have to be a nerd, but that iyou do have to pay attention. The media also tells you that you , as a person if not a teenager.. that you can’t be a part of the new ways of using technology . Not true. It just takes immersion, exploration, involvement and sometimes time to learn and practice the new technology . I have been helped by the Supercomputing Conference and the Shodor.org resources.For 24 years, SC has been at the forefront in gathering the best and brightest minds in supercomputing together, with our unparalleled technical papers, tutorials, posters and speakers.

We also know that there are people who cannot afford the devices, Maybe some of them, maybe the ones they really want to have. But they try using what they have and watch for the changes. A printer comes in very handy, as does some kind of camera. You don’t have to have a printer but you do need to have access to a place to print  or a way to save your files until you can find a place to print.

This child had never seen an I Pad .. when working with the Teragrid we shared a lot of technology resources with kids who had never, ever seen them.

Everyone does not own all of the devices, but most of the devices are getting cheaper and are more user friendly. For educators with good professional development within their school systems, and who are up on the latest core curriculum, technology is a winning strategy. There are initiatives  that are aimed to help people in underserved communities to get technology at low cost, with some training for use of the tools.

There  are still people who are intimidated by the use of technology, and there are school systems that do not let teachers personalize, and individualize their technology resources. There are also rural, distant and difficult journeys that speak to the resources available to the community, the school and the local businesses.

Rays oF Hope.. New Directions

Funding and a major initiative in the District of Columbia. Who knew? There is a neighborhood Supercomputer center in DC that is operated by Dr. Jesse Bemley, of JEF. At the highest levels of technology the Supercomputing Conference has Education and Broadening Engagement to  involve those populations who have not bee involved.

There are a lot of people who have been toiling in the areas of computational thinking and wonderful things have happened.The Howard University Department of Systems and Computer Science proposes the Partnership for Early Engagement in Computer Science High School (PEECS-HS) program. This program partners Howard University with Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and Google, Inc. to introduce a new course titled “Introduction to Computer Science (CS)” across DCPS high schools. The course will adopt and extend the Exploring Computer Science curriculum, originally piloted in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). PEECS-HS will introduce students to the broad range of opportunities in CS, and allow them to develop basic competencies in CS fundamentals, and maintain a positive perception of CS. In addition, the program will produce a new unit on Mobile Application Development, which will be added to the general Exploring Computer Science curriculum.. PEECS-HS will prepare in-service and pre-service DCPS teachers to teach the new curriculum. For sustainability, PEECS-HS will prepare in-service teachers to lead future Introduction to CS professional development sessions. As with many urban school districts, DCPS is predominately African-American, an important but often overlooked, component of the groups that need broadening engagement. See  “Tackling America’s 21st Century Challenges”  a sobering thought is that of the opportunity gap.

The recent SIIA report defines these goals for change for all of education.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry .

Software.2012 SIIA’s Vision K-20 Report 

SEVEN EDUCATIONAL GOALS represent the instructional and institutional outcomes enabled through technology and e-learning:

  1. Meet the personalized needs of all students
  2. Support accountability and inform instruction
  3. Deepen learning and motivate students
  4. Facilitate communication, connectivity, and collaboration
  5. Manage the education enterprise effectively and economically
  6. Enable students to learn from any place at any time
  7. Nurture creativity and self-expression

FIVE TECHNOLOGY MEASURES may indicate progress for technology and e-learning implementation toward these educational goals:

  1. Widely utilizes 21st Century Tools for teaching and learning
  2. Provides anytime/anywhere educational access
  3. Offers differentiated learning options and resources
  4. Employs technology-based assessment tools
  5. Uses technology to redesign and enable the enterprise support

The Future?

James Morrison states

“A “disruptive innovation” is a potential event that may change the future of educational practice. There are a number of disruptive innovations emerging in the contemporary educational landscape today in response to the demands of the global workplace (e.g., Western Governors University, Peer2Peer University, Khan Academy, ShowMe, the Independent Project, MITx, edX, Coursera, StraighterLine, MOOCs, Udacity, digital textbooks, flipped classrooms; see the “Open Educational Resources” page at the Horizon site’s On-Ramp section). The purpose of this presentation was to stimulate discussion on how and why such innovations have the potential to dramatically change current educational practice. A video of the presentation is now available.”

The National Science Foundation pointed toward the future as well with a Cyberlearning Conference.

The summit was sponsored by the National Science Foundation  as a means to engage the community in accelerating the focus on transformative R&D in Cyberlearning and related programs, and was hosted by SRI International, the National Geographic Society, and the Lawrence Hall of Science, signaling a strong commitment to innovative STEM learning both in schools and beyond schools. Additional support was also provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 You can explore the researchers ideas here in their portal..Here is their portal with the ideas and topic to learn about without the cost of a conference, or workshop.
unfortunately a lot of professional training is very expensive. There is Open Courseware.1 – Great Expectations of ChemLab Boot Camp. Tune in here:http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/chemistry/chemistry-lab-boot-camp/

Wireless.. Will it Help Us Solve the Digital Divide?

Wither Wireless… are you informed?

 
There is an underlying, fundamental reliance on the Internet, which continues to grow in the number of users, country penetration and both fixed and wireless broadband access.
Vinton Cerf

 

 

Quite a conference. It featured  some outstanding ways of communicating within a conference and there was a stellar array of presenters.  The United States has an opportunity to reform education in a way that will truly prepare our students to compete in the global economy. Mobile technology has a critical role to play in this effort by equipping students and teachers with 24/7 access to learning communities and information. We went to this conference to learn, to teach, to be informed and to network. The organizers did a wonderful job.

 

THere were three tiers of engagement, You can see this here.The conference was designed to break through existing barriers and coordinate across a diverse group of stakeholders including leaders in business, K-12, higher education and government. It is the first conference to focus on major issues in research, practice and policy that must be resolved to realize the full potential of mobile broadband for learning. For more information and to view the Program Guide, please visit the agenda page.  The conference even invited teachers and a student to present to be a part of the conference in outreach.

 

The videos here are available to show you the videos we were informed by.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBM7_zuSnPU&list=PL9F5548C8144B8…!

 

I particularly like this one;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxDHataguRE&feature=related

The one about students use smartphones in the classroom because Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman keeps telling us that we can solve the digital divide problem by use of mobile technology. He attended the conference and was interviewed as a part of the conference.

There were three tracks and you can see the richness of the conference here, Education was one track, Policy another and then there was the technology track. I especially liked the way that CoSn helped to inform the policy for this group.

http://wirelessedtech.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/EdTech2011_Pro…

There are some magic things about this conference. There is no cost. This is not a big box conference with bells and whistles and things you have to go to the exhibit hall to sign up for , or workshops you have to fight to get in. YOu sign up as a part of registration , but you can attend out of the track that you sign up for.

They also offer you the research that supports the conference , and people who are active in research as the participants. You may recognize some of the names, Tom Carroll, Chris Dede( who actually creates the conference) and Julie of Speak Up. Here is one of the Speak Up sets of research.

 

Speak Up

http://wirelessedtech.com/wp-content/uploads/Taking-It-Mobile-Repor…

2010 Wireless Research

Mobile Learning for the 21st Century: Insights from the 2010 Wireless EdTech Conference.http://wirelessedtech.com/resources/edtech-research-paper/

You have to enter your email to get this paper. The new paper from this conference will be on the site by January. and the good news is that you get updates and email regarding wireless , so you will be informed when the conference is next year. It’s a short conference, and they are planning some virtual involvement.

 

Highlights of the conference for me are always the presentations of Dr. Chris Dede.

This year the Digital Promise Initiative was introduced to use by Shirley Malcom and  James Shelton of the US Department of Education. That piece speaks for teachers.

 

I was amused by the Superintendent’s section. Most of them were doing a commercial about how great their school system is . I loved it that the Superintendent from Fairfax acknowledged the problems with No Child Left Behind as a fact. The others ,were a little vague about their wireless use except for the Superintendent from North Carolina.

She also was upfront about the problems of rural, diverse communities and she shared the way in which wireless was used in her system.  Well , next time we ask them to define how mobile devices are used in their system. How about that?

So here is a little about Digital Promise. 

For more information, go to: www.digitalpromise.org.

To realize the potential of learning technology, Digital Promise will work with leading educators, researchers, technology firms, and entrepreneurs on three key challenges:

  • Identifying breakthrough technologies. For years, researchers have been working on developing educational software that is as effective as a personal tutor.  Preliminary results from a DARPA/Navy “digital tutor” project suggest that we can reduce the time required to become an expert in IT from years to months.  Achieving similar results in subjects such as math would transform K-12 education.  Digital Promise will begin its work by partnering with technology firms and researchers to map the R&D landscape,identifying opportunities for breakthroughs in learning from the cradle through a career.
  • Learning faster what’s working and what’s not. Internet startups do rapid evaluations of their sites, running test after test to continually improve their services. When it comes to education, R&D cycles can take years, producing results that are out of date the minute they’re released.  Digital Promise will work with researchers and entrepreneurs to develop new approaches for rapidly evaluating new products.
  •  Transforming the market for learning technologies. With more than 14,000 school districts and outdated procurement systems, it’s difficult for entrepreneurs to break into the market and it’s also tough to prove that their products can deliver meaningful results.  Meanwhile, the amount we invest in R&D in K-12 education is estimated at just 0.2% of total spending on K-12 education, compared to 10-20% of revenues spent on R&D in many knowledge-intensive industries such as software development and biotech.   Digital Promise will work with school districts to create “smart demand” that drives private-sector investment in innovation.

Other Initiatives Being Announced with the Launch of Digital Promise

Creating a League of Innovative Schools:In partnership with Digital Promise, leading schools, school districts, and networks such as the District of Columbia Public Schools; Mooresville Graded School District, North Carolina; High Tech High in San Diego, California; York County School Division, Virginia; E.L. Haynes in Washington, DC; Malden High School, Malden, Massachusetts; and the New Tech High Network, are coming together to launch a League of Innovative Schools. The League will be a coalition of schools dedicated to innovation in learning technologies and significant improvements in educational outcomes. The League will explore key steps it can take to help the learning technology market, including:

  • Rapid testing of promising new technologies.Internet companies like Netflix and Amazon don’t make decisions on the basis of hunches.  They use rapid, low-cost experimentation to continually improve their products.  Similar opportunities exist for learning technologies. Schools with the flexibility to try new things and the data systems to capture the results offer opportunities for trials, both identifying what works and doing rapid prototyping to refine new tools. Working together, these schools can accelerate the pace of learning and innovation.
  • Creating a buyers’ consortium to demand better prices and higher quality.New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine formed a consortium called the New England Common Assessment Program to buy testing materials together, getting a higher quality product at a lower cost.  Members of the League can band together to improve their purchasing power for emerging solutions.
  • Encouraging entrepreneurs to develop game-changing innovations by promising to buy them.By using what’s called an “Advance Market Commitment,” five countries and the Gates Foundation agreed to purchase large quantities of a vaccine that hadn’t been developed yet – a vaccine to immunize kids in developing countries against diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. The private sector responded, and today that vaccine is on the market and could help save the lives of 7 million children by 2030. Similarly, a consortium of schools and school districts could encourage entrepreneurs to develop new solutions that deliver dramatic improvements in student learning outcomes.

New Investments by NSF on Cyber-learning:  In support of the Administration’s initiative, the National Science Foundation will announce $15 million in new awards to support research that is developing next-generation learning environments.


Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions-Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions 

Essay by

Allan C. Jones, President

Emaginos Inc.- Engaging Every Child Through Customized Education

Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Education in the No Child Left Behind era is all about answering “who, what, when and where” (4W) questions. But the questions that really matter are why and how. In a European history class, students are asked, “Who fought at the battle of Hastings?”, “What armies fought in the battle?”, “When was it fought?”, and “Where is Hastings?”. I can still remember that the English fought the Normans led by William the Conqueror in 1066. I don’t remember where Hastings is, if I ever did know it. What I don’t know is why it was fought and how it affected history. In considering what I know and don’t know, it seems like the stuff I know doesn’t matter and the stuff I don’t know does matter. In general, what matters is the stuff you learn by asking why and how.

The country’s leaders constantly complain about today’s students not learning enough about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). STEM topics are boring if you focus on the 4W questions.  But if you focus on “why and how” they come to life. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in the southern US before the civil war. Boring! Why did he invent it? How did it work. How was it powered? Why was it important? What recent inventions have had a similar impact on a nation’s economy? The last is a “What” question, but not a recall question. These are the interesting questions about the cotton gin – and they lead to a rich discussion of STEM.

Let’s make the issue more contemporary.

We tell children to use soap when they wash their hands. When they ask why they need the soap, the typical response is that soap gets the hands cleaner. This is usually where inquiry stops and authority takes over – just do it! But any healthy, curious child is thinking, “How does soap work?” The answer is, “Soap makes water wetter.” What does that mean? Soap breaks down the surface tension bonds between the water molecules. So the next obvious question is, “Why does that matter?” Because it allows the water to penetrate the dirt better to float it away. It also emulsified the grease molecules; allowing them to detach from the object and rinse away. I like to give the students another use for this piece of knowledge so I tell them that the next time they find a tick and are trying to kill it, the easiest way is to drop the tick into a cup of tap water. Initially, the tick will appear to float. (The little suckers are really hard to kill.) But ticks are not buoyant. They are not floating. They are standing on the surface tension. Add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the water and the tick will sink like a stone and drown.

We were recently at yet another STEM meeting where the people were all excited about an excellent robotics activity that they were proposing to engage more girls and minorities in STEM. Robots are cool; and designing and playing with them can be engaging and instructional. But why go the expense of creating an artificial world for STEM learning? Students are surrounded by STEM every minute of their lives. Some questions they might enjoy answering could include:

  • How do they get stone-washed denim to look that way? Do they really stone-wash it?
  • Why do the tires on a mountain bike look so different from the tires on a racing bike? Do car and truck tires have the same or different tread designs? How do they decide what is the best tread design for different uses? How does changing the amount of air pressure affect the performance of the tires? When do you use low tire pressure and when do you use high pressure and why?
  • Why does it get easier or harder to pedal a 12-speed bike when you shift the gears? How does the Derailleur work? How is the Derailleur different from a manual transmission on a car? Why does a manual transmission need a clutch and an automatic transmission does not? How does the clutch work? Why does a clutch burn out?
  • How do iPods store all that music? What other options are available to store it? Why was the one they use chosen? What may be the next better storage mechanism?

If you want to tie it into history, ask how people 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 years ago did what we do routinely today. What did tires and treads look like at those different time periods? How were vehicles propelled? How was music stored and enjoyed? How does communications technology affect social unrest? Which technologies that were originally invented for military uses have become everyday household products? Did you know that microwave ovens came from radar technologies developed for guiding missiles?

The list of fascinating STEM topics is endless. More importantly, they are an integral part of everybody’s world. All of the inventions and the underlying technologies were designed and built by engineers and technologists based on work by scientists and mathematicians. STEM is not some remote esoteric set of knowledge reserved for nerds. It’s a fascinating set of knowledge and skills that make up the world we live in. The 4W questions are only interesting if they are used in the context of why and how.

Dropout prevention is another big issue in education. Because understanding why and how something happened are much more interesting than the 4W questions, students get more engaged in their learning when seeking answers to why and how. We need to get away from the model where the teacher asks the 4W questions and students answer them. We need to pose problems that require the students to determine what the questions are that they need answered in order to solve the problem. If you put the students in small ability-level based groups and frame the questions as problems to be solved, every student is actively engaged in learning. This student-centered learning environment also allows the teachers to work individually with every student and customize the learning for each of them.

Going back to the battle of Hastings, knowing why and how it was fought and how the result of the battle impacted the subsequent history of England might be of use in looking at the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Can we learn any lessons from Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq that will enable us to make better decisions about the value of those strategies?

We need to change the questions we ask our students and the way we pose them, not only in class, but also on assessments. There is an old axiom that applies; “You get what you pay for.” Since educational institutions get ‘paid’ for good assessments, they will structure the teaching and learning activities to produce what is assessed. So we need to do less assessing of who, what, when, and where; and start doing a better job of assessing students’ mastery of why and how.

STEM , Education Supports Racial and Ethnic Equality in STEM

I attended a workshop at the Brookings Institute on this subject. The press reported it , but they did not give it much space or report some of the new ideas that are in place in thinking about STEM education. It is not just the US that has this problem. I know this from working in many countries as a part of WSIS, and the role of science in the information society.

While we have many kinds of new technologies that people take time to learn, the culture of learning in the US is not about STEM , so far. Robotics have made a leapfrog, but since most teachers in the lower grades are women, you cannot take that as a step to engineering for granted.

Here is the link to the report.  US Dept of Commerce   www.esa.doc.gov

There are actually three reports within the esa site. You can also read this blog.

http://www.esa.doc.gov/Blog/2011/09/13/education-promotes-racial-and-ethnic-equality-science-tech-engineering-and-math-jobs

Three important things to learn from the data.

K-12 all through K-12 we should be teaching and giving examples of STEM initiatives.

We used to say, or the people in charge used to only mostly targer students in the higher grades.

That does not work. Remarkably this is now being understood.

Teachers deserve respect for their jobs and interestingly enough in math there is a group that compensates math teachers  for being math teachers.

Math for America is the project he founded. I put the link here for those without broadband.

Math for America (MƒA) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve mathematics education in US public secondary schools by recruiting, training and retaining outstanding mathematics teachers. Founded in New York City in 2004, MƒA also has sites located inBerkeleyBostonLos AngelesSan DiegoUtah and Washington, DC. MƒA offers Fellowships for new and experienced teachers and school leaders, including: the MƒA Fellowship, which aims to increase the number of mathematically talented individuals entering the teaching profession; the MƒA Early Career Fellowship and the MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship, which support outstanding mathematics teachers already in the classroom; and the MƒA School Leader Fellowship, which is designed to support experienced mathematics teachers who have moved into administrative positions and oversee mathematics instruction in their schools.

Engineering

Dr. Charles M. Vest is the president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He shared this from the National Academy of Sciences.

 A report released in July  by the National Research Council presents a new framework for K-12 science education that identifies the key scientific ideas and practices all students should learn by the end of high school.  The framework will serve as the foundation for new K-12 science education standards, to replace those issued more than a decade ago.  The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering; all three are independent, nongovernmental organizations. The committee that wrote the report sees the need for significant improvements in how science is taught in the U.S.  The new framework is designed to help students gradually deepen their knowledge of core ideas in four disciplinary areas over multiple years of school, rather than acquire shallow knowledge of many topics.  And it strongly emphasizes the practices of science – helping students learn to plan and carry out investigations, for example, and to engage in argumentation from evidence. 

 

The overarching goal of the framework, the committee said, is to ensure that by the end of 12th grade, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science, the capacity to discuss and think critically about science-related issues, and the skills to pursue careers in science or engineering if they want to do so — outcomes that existing educational approaches are ill-equipped to achieve.

 

“Currently, science education in the U.S. lacks a common vision of what students should know and be able to do by the end of high school, curricula too often emphasize breadth over depth, and students are rarely given the opportunity to experience how science is actually done,” said Helen Quinn, committee chair and professor emerita of physics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Stanford, Calif.  “The new framework is designed to address and overcome these weaknesses.  It builds on what is known to work best in science education, based on research and classroom experience both in the U.S.and around the world.  It provides a blueprint that will guide improvements in science education over many years.”

 

From NIST Tech Beat ( Last summer’s offer)

NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers Accepting Applications

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is soliciting nominations of middle school science teachers from eligible U.S. public school districts or accredited private educational institutions to participate in the NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers. The NIST Summer Institute provides hands-on activities, lectures, tours and visits with scientists and engineers in NIST laboratories.

The Summer Institute will be held at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Md., from July 18 to 29, 2011.

The two-week workshop is designed to increase teachers’ understanding of the subjects they teach through exposure to the cutting-edge measurement science research pursued at NIST. The workshop provides teachers with instructional materials and ideas to use in their teaching, experience in how scientific research is carried out, and an opportunity to develop an ongoing network with the scientists and engineers at NIST. NIST provides a $2,000 stipend for teachers attending the workshop and travel and lodging funds for those traveling more than 50 miles to the workshop.

U.S. public school districts or accredited private educational institutions that offer science courses such as earth science, physical science, chemistry, physics and/or biologyat the middle school level (Grades 6-8) are eligible to nominate no more than one teacher per school for the program. Applications are due by 3 p.m. Eastern Time, on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

NIST also is soliciting nominations from school districts or educational institutions of middle school science teachers who have successfully completed the NIST Summer Institute to participate in the NIST Research Experience for Teachers (NIST RET) program. The NIST RET will allow the selected teachers to participate in scientific research with NIST scientists and engineers at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Md., that will encourage the teachers to inspire their students to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

So you can put that on your agenda to look at for the offerings next year.

If you are interested in the elementary level, or the new standards, look here.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education  for those without broadband http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165

Charles Giancarlo sahred with us the concern of meeting the needs of the businesses that do not have

the degrees and knowhow that is needed. He said that companies have to go abroad to find these workers. We had a long discussion on the lack of diversity and the rationale for companies to seek employees outside of the US and the problems that it causes and the  current problem is that the workers cannot stay and that others come, learn and then go home and earn, also taking their new ideas to their countries.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the United States.

The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor[1]including but not limited to architectureengineeringmathematicsphysical sciencessocial sciencesbiotechnologymedicine and healtheducationlaw, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum[2] (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”

Great teachers and great schools have the ability to transform the living standard of Americans.  Over the past century, investments in education have boosted the productivity and earnings of American workers, forged a path out of poverty for many families, and developed a productive and innovative workforce.  However, those gains have stagnated and even declined in recent years.  Despite one of the highest rates of per-pupil spending among industrialized countries, the United States ranks as mediocre on most measures of student achievement.

We spent more per person on incarceration than education per person.

Here is the Brookings Institute summary of the event.

The need for better science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teacher training and investment was emphasized today at a Brookings Institution forum on the topic. Dr. Rebecca Blank, the Acting Secretary of Commerce, presented several Commerce reports showing the importance of STEM education for job creation and economic development, and significant underrepresentation in the field for women, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Its report on “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation” found that STEM workers were 76 percent male and only 24 percent female. A new report released today on “Education Supports Racial and Ethnic Equality in STEM” noted that 74 percent of STEM workers are male, compared to 6 percent who are Hispanic, 6 percent African-American, and 14 percent Asian-American. She noted the importance of the United States doing a better job attracting students into STEM fields and the need to reach out to under-represented communities. Since STEM workers earn a premium of 25 percent over other workers and have only a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, there are strong economic incentives to get more people into STEM fields.

Jim Simons, the founder of Math for America and board chairman of Renaissance Technologies, discussed his non-profit’s interest in improving teacher training in high school STEM courses. He said we need “knowledgeable and inspiring teachers” and that today we have a “shortage of such teachers”. The way to make STEM teaching more attractive so instructors do a better job introducing students to science and math is “higher pay and better working conditions”. Math for America proposes bonuses and stipends for high school STEM teachers and has provided funding for this across the country. The organization helps 350 math teachers in New York City and hopes to raise that figure to between 700 and 800 in the near future.

Charles Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering and MIT president emeritus. He pointed out that South Korea graduates more engineers than the United States and the China graduates 10 times as many as America. In many Asian countries, 21 percent of college graduates are engineers, compared to 12 percent in Europe and 4.5 percent in the United States.

Charles Giancarlo is managing director and head of value creation for Silver Lake Partners. He noted that Cisco (where he used to serve as executive vice president) employs 24,000 engineers and Silver Lake Partner’s companies employ 87,000. Yet the United States graduates only 86,000 engineers, indicating a mismatch between supply and demand. He also explained that 35 percent of graduates are foreign born, yet we only provide 85,000 H-1b visas for scientists and engineers so many foreign students who would like to stay in the United States are forced to return to their home country. This robs the United States of valuable talent and sources of future innovation and job creation.

ADD YOUR VIEW

My view is at the top of the event and I believe that urban, rural, distant and gender .. we have a lot to do to change the face of education.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Changing the Face of Science in the US, NSF comes to the rescue..New Tools, New Technologies

Old tools for science .. still come in handy but we have new ways of learning to share. 

From maps to GPS, GS, Visualization and modeling and 3 D, Virtualization and modeling are a big step away from the textbook and just the resources within the classroom.

 

 

 

This is my antisuperman post. It is the kryptonite that should paralyze the discussion that we in the schools do not really care about science , math, technology and engineering. There was an event on the mall that shared and showcased wonderful science. But I fear that the media may not have dug deep enough to stop the bad press, to give us the good news about changing and transforming education as the groups did  on the mall and in the weeks preceding the expo event. I know that the people at the NSF really care about us..in education.

Teachers  are empowered by projects and funding from the NSF. The press hardly covers the ideas and often pokes fun at the research. People came to our booth time and time again to see the three D movie, to bring friends, to explore the use of the IPads which showed and shared the models that visualized what the various Teragrid research projects do, and to look at the photos of the supercomputers Blue Waters, in particular.

There were a few people who wanted to test our knowledge but , we had a team, and a petting zoo for the Little FE, and lots of information, even beautiful posters on the Oil Spill, posters on what is a tornado, and coloring books and crayons on supercomputing. We shared the ideas of use of the Blue Waters Supercomputer.

I don’t have a movie about myself.I am an empowered teacher, from learning to use the resources of the Teragrid. I do have a group of students, parents and supporters who have believed in science , math, engineering and technology, and project based learning.Mentors of mine are many one being Grace Hopper. Don Mitchell, Vint Cerf,  Scott Lathrop, Shirley Malcom and George Lucas. Chris Dede, and Seymour Papert. Al Gore, Ron Brown. There are more. Frank Withrow was once the leader of the Department. of Education and Larry Cuban let me, as a teacher use new technologies long ago. Once I was on a truck that carried the new ideas around the country. It was called CyberEd. This exhbit on the mall was much more powerful. Our booth was so full we had to stand outside the booth most of the time.

I am a minority and a female I am not 25.  I probably won’t be able to sleep because of the excitement of being able to be a participant on the mall in the Expo. Why is this important?Think DC Schools, think minority students who may think, we cannot do this work.. and think of  the needs of the students and their lack of participation at high levels in ordinary technology use. Think Jesse Bemley and I linking with people from the areas or not, creating networks for collaboration, community and communication in outreach.  Jesse Bemley is a black computer scientist who mentors students . We have a mission to broaden engagement . We are excited about the fact that now we can teach hands on science, explore, examine, evaluate and get immersed in the joy of learning in innovative ways.We were more excited than kids going to Disneyland about our participation.
Think Convocation on the Gathering Storm and their findings.
Here is what Elizabeth Leake wrote about the event on her blog.
“, Robert Ping (TeraGrid EOT Assistant Director/Indiana University), with a team of five from TeraGrid and NCSA, have been planning this for eight months or more. One of our biggest fears—facilitating technology and paper hand-outs in the rain—was put to rest this week with a beautiful forecast. Since this is the first such Expo, we didn’t fully know what to expect.

The Expo was conceived in response to the Obama administration’s desire to stimulate more interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers by “exposing children and families to new technologies that are strengthening communities, building careers, and stimulating economic growth.” The President’s Council of Advisers in Science and Technology, with help from a U.S. Department of Energy grant and funding from dozens of corporate sponsors, engaged more than 1,500 organizations to sponsor tents. They all brought some really cool S.W.A.G. The event is free—making it affordable for families to attend. Since the National Mall shares borders with the National Gallery of Art and many museums of the Smithsonian Institution, there is a lot to do within walking distance, although the Expo alone would take days to cover.


This is the same National Mall where the Reverend Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. In times of unrest, the National Mall has been popular with protesters since it is a large, open public space located in the very heart of Washington. While this isn’t the first time masses of people gathered on the National Mall for the same reason, it was the first time so many came with a passion for science, engineering, and technology!

Imagine researchers involving K-12 and the community. It was awesome.
We as teachers, as parents as researchers need to take back the media talk about schools. We can take forth the message of the Convocation on the Gathering Storm in a positive way.
One of the pleasures of teaching in Arlington, was to meet the parents who worked for the National Science Foundation , as they responsibly helped in the schools. Tonight, I cannot sleep because my heart is full of joy. I have spent two days on the mall, in the  Teragrid Booth It was a great pleaure to meet students, parents, administrators, grandparents, the people who came to the expo to learn about science, math, engineering and technology. We explored 3 D visualizations and used Ipad Technologies, we shared visualizations that showed the work of the institutions involved in the Teragrid.  We talked about cloud computing, parallel computing and little FE. We talked with students and would be students. The group inspired a LOT of people. We could show teachers in K 12 who were working in their classrooms using Teragrid resources. We could  say computational science with joy and bring others to LOVE it.

It is not a secret that students of today live in a multimedia world where they use video as their primary form of engagement and communication. Teachers and administrators are looking for ways to present information to students that will not only spark their interest, but also encourage them to explore a subject more thoroughly. Meaningful exploration usually means deeper understanding, which translates into higher student achievement, whether measured via standardized tests or an increased graduation rate. We did all this in our booth.  We had the new technologies.
The advent of affordable 3D technology promises to bring into reality the dream of fully engaged students. Our booth was full, almost all day long.
Children and parents and their friends came back to look , to share and to use the new technologies. People were fascinated with the IPad and the visualizations.

HISTORY
I will start from Grace Hopper, go to cooking, and simple involvement in technology to the Teragrid and Blue Waters. You will see why I am so excited and feeling empowered.


Grace Hopper? Think gender…
Here is who she is. Note how early she was a star in the history of technology.  



She was a special person in technology before the term digital native was invented.
 

Grace Hopper

 

 

 

grace hopper
     

    • Category: American scientists
    • Date of birth: December 9, 1906
    • Date of death: January 1, 1992
    • Profession: Mathematician, Programmer, Scientist, …
    • Served in: United States Navy
    • Nationality: American
  •  

 

I have had some  Grace Hopper  moments, I met her when she  visited schools in Arlington. I remember looking at her thinking. She must be very , very smart, because she is old and she is still in the Navy. At first I missed the point about the Nanosecond.I kept thinking, if she is a programmer than I can do this programming thing too.
So in a high school, a career high school in Arlington County Virginia, Tom Smolenski allowed me to have an activity day that was country wide in which we matched up students with new and unusual ideas which were about teaching and learning. We learned about computers, calligraphy, and many other things. We were doing project based learning over a period of time to cement an interest in mathematics, games, cooking, many things.

You think, cooking, what has that got to do with science?Ok, I am starting with the ordinary. Our booth was not ordinary. But we need to remember that since NCLB lots of people have not even had ordinary science. There were hundreds and hundreds of people just enjoying hands on science, and being involved. We had much more than this.. but let me share an ordinary pleasure first. I have lots of pictures from the mall. But it is late and I am tired. I will post pictures tomorrow.

COOKING
That may mean that you have never seen the naked egg. or visited the pages of the Exploratorium. This is a web site that rivals the Cooking Channel because you get to learn the science of cooking and you can keep the knowledge as a plus.


Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking
looks at the science behind food and cooking. Learn about what happens when you eat sugar, bake bread, cook an egg, or pickle foods. Find out how muscle turns to meat, what makes meat tender, and what gives meat its flavor. Take tours of breads and spices of the world. Explore your sense of taste and smell. (Exploratorium, National Science Foundation)

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html

Science of Eggs
Science of Pickles
Science of Candy
Science of Bread
Science of Seasoning
Science of Meat

Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.

Science of Cooking




WE  Were Doing Extraordinary Science, Teragrid and Blue Waters



 

The special booth that I was a part of was of course leading edge science In our booth we were Blue Waters/ Teragrid.
Here is what you would see.

 

*Showing a 3D Stereo Video about NSF, LEAD and the TeraGrid

*Promoting Bluewaters – one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world

*Demonstrating LittleFe, a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster

*Viewing 2D visualizations and photographs from TG users on IPAD technology

*Giving away coloring books about Supercomputing (and crayons)

*Giving away large posters depicting exciting scientific visualizations

*Stamping student paperwork with NSF stamps

*Handing out TeraGrid Science and EOT Highlight Magazines

Today and yesterday on the mall were special initiatives.



Blue Waters
Taking full advantage of the opportunities that follow from fielding a petascale computing system requires a long-term coordinated effort to educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. This effort must excite, recruit, educate, and retain students as well as educational professionals. Partners in the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation are critical to the Blue Waters education initiatives.
Learn more about undergraduate and graduate education athttp://www.greatlakesconsortium.org/education/.


Broadband, Super-Computing, and Finding the Superman Within

This is from Frank Odasz.
Growing up, it was fun to imagine being a superman, strong and smart and able to do amazing things and help people in need. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero, and be admired and respected and able to make a positive difference in a struggling world.  To not be helpless – in the face of all the bad things happening today.


Well, good news.

We are genuinely the first people in history to have super powers at our fingertips.  If we have broadband, we can fly into space, or to the bottom of the oceans, perform calculations and searches at speeds counted in billons per second. With a single click we can instantly self-publish our insights and resources to the nearly 2 billion online.

Without any money at all, we can start a global micromultinational business, we can start a global cause, we can launch a virtual nation, and much more.

Einstein said “We’re limited only by our imaginations.”
Many of us don’t believe we could ever be superpersons. But, there is a super secret here; to unlock your true full potential you must connect with your inner champion; the Superman within. What you won’t do for yourself, you might do for others. Many of us must first give to others in order to discover our true human potential.
Self-actualization for all – is now possible;
The 21st Century imperative is: Everyone both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time.
You have the choice to step up, even with just baby steps for starters, or to step back from your true full potential. That you actually have this choice alone, is powerful!
The love of learning is the key to learning how to innovate, to create value in a knowledge economy, and as important is knowing how to cultivate one’s curiosity; seeking out new knowledge and having fun making discovery a part of one’s lifestyle.
Was it Spiderman who says ” With Power comes Responsibility?”
If you are unemployed, under educated, depressed, and down and out, there is a lot you can do both for yourself and for those yet worse off than you. Anyone can become a citizen professor, able to teach anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Now I can go to sleep. I think. I might giggle about having to enter the marathon to access the mall. I had no other way of getting to my booth.
It was funny , me in a backpack easing sideways.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton
PowerofUSFoundation
Digital Equity and Social Justice Chair, SITE.org

STEM.. science , technology, engineering, when do we really start this conversation?

In recent days, we have heard a lot about teacher effectiveness. We  who are really interested in reform need to create a better understanding of how to prepare teachers, students and communities for the future. The press needs to do their homework and share research, reports and findings that are relevant to change. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on many factors. I offer many of the sources here. Not my work, but I have been to many metings and workshops to gather this information for other teachers and advocates.

The nation has been involved in discussions about what makes an effective teacher. The discussion has lacked the depth of expertise that has taken a reflective look at the history of STEM and the path to the understanding of what is needed for true change in education, on a national basis.I have tried to gather the information for perusal and for discussion of the real issues.

Who is concerned?

Many meetings have been held in Washington about ways to ” fix” K-12.I believe that the ongoing conversations of the nation, our education nation, have been compromised at a shallow level that only discerns legendary educational leaders who are in the guise of ” superman” ,”wonder woman” with a one person effort. Here we have the efforts of those who truly care about  have the research to back, and who have broken silos to shape the future of the nation.

How Do We Get the Right Perspective on What is Needed?

In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S. competitiveness and pre-eminence in these areas

. This congressionally requested report by a pre-eminent committee makes four recommendations along with 20 implementation actions that federal policy-makers should take to create high-quality jobs and focus new science and technology efforts on meeting the nation’s needs, especially in the area of clean, affordable energy:

1) Increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education;
2) Sustain and strengthen the nation’s commitment to long-term basic research;


3) Develop, recruit, and retain top students, scientists, and engineers from both the U.S. and abroad; and
4) Ensure that the United States is the premier place in the world for innovation.  These are not my words, these come from a meeting that tried to pinpoint where change needed to be made.
I was one of the few K-12 teachers at that meeting. I listened and learned. Norm Augustine has been the person who has spearheaded the effort. Continue reading