There were a series of huge STEM-related announcements this week, including Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett's announcement that he would donate all endorsement money to STEAM programs for minority communities.
The inspiration for Bennett's decision came from Chance The Rapper's announcement earlier in the week, where he donated $1 million to the arts programs in Chicago Schools.
"I have decided to donate all of my endorsement money in 2017 to help rebuild minority communities through s.t.e.a.m programs, as well as initiatives that directly affect women of color in hopes that we can create more opportunities for our youth and build a brighter future," said Bennett according to Billboard.
This positive chain of private donations could be a start of a very impactful domino effect moving forward for STEM/STEAM programs and education as a whole.
On International Women's Day, Microsoft added to their "Make What's Next" initiative in a big way with a 90-second TV spot that dives into what female students want to accomplish in STEM. It pairs a select few students who get to experience what it's like to use VR technology. However, the excitement comes to a halt once they are given some rough statistics.
One of those statistics harshly states, "Odds are you won't solve any of these problems. Only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees." To this, the female students put on a strong and optimistic outlook on the future. They avow that they're ready and willing to make a change and even call for "all hands on deck" approach to make sure this current dismal underrepresentation will be corrected in the future.
As educators and companies express the importance of STEM education to students, there is another influential group that can make a huge impact—Parents. A new study finds that parents who are given the proper material to chat with their students about STEM education and careers, are more likely to have their children perform and score better on STEM standardized tests.
"If you ask a typical parent to say why chemistry is important to a teenager, they often can't really come up with an answer other than 'It will help you in college,'" said Chris Hulleman, a research associate professor at the university and a co-author of the study, according to EdWeek.
"This was a really light-touch intervention. We thought maybe we can have an effect if we just get the information to parents."
Parents of 12th and 11th graders were randomly selected and given brochures that explained the importance of STEM. The five-year experiment returned very promising results.
zSpace has named Utica Community Schools as a Center of Excellence for their use of augmented and virtual reality tools in the classroom. The district caters to a whopping 28,000 students and has been using a number of tools to help immerse students in new technologies.
AR and VR technology transports students into the future of learning but also takes them on a realistic ride of what future careers in STEM would consist of.
Compiled by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.