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STEM News Roundup: John Oliver Takes on Math Enthusiasts

STEM News Round-Up: John Oliver Takes on Math Enthusiasts

This week in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), HBO's John Oliver has some choice words to say about math, girls might prefer computer science if designed to be "less geeky," and analysis reveals many STEM grads go pursue business after. 

Back-to-School, the John Oliver Edition

"You will learn that Africa and Asia are continents, and that's about it," HBO Last Week Tonight's John Oliver says in his back-to-school web exclusive.

Despite a hiatus until September 13th, Last Week Tonight's John Oliver, who frequently discusses education in his series, made a point to add some humor to going back to school this week in a web exclusive.

In the exclusive he tackles the basic subjects you can expect to learn- or not learn- this upcoming school year and adds his two cents to most of it.

What he said about math is sure to rile up STEM advocates at least a little.

"You're going to be repeatedly told you need this when you grow up. That is bull ****. You will need addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, which- where I'm from- were called the original fab four- but that is it. I'm an adult with a job and I cannot remember if a logarithm is some kind of exponent, Kenny Loggin's first album, or a method of lumberjack birth control. I don't know. So ignore it, just ignore it."

But don't worry math lovers- he didn't just find qualms with math education; he had a lot to say about other subjects as well.

When it comes to history, he says, ""You will learn that Africa and Asia are continents, and that's about it."

Watch the full exclusive here

Are Computer Science Classrooms Too Geeky for Girls?

A recent survey of high school students revealed that the girls interviewed would be three times more drawn to computer science classrooms if they were designed to be less "geeky" and more inviting, said

The results were gotten after the University of Washington research team "showed the students photos of two different computer science classrooms decorated with objects that represented either the 'geeky' computer science stereotype, including computer parts and 'Star Trek' posters, or a non-stereotypical classroom containing items such as art and nature pictures," the article said.

68 percent of girls preferred the non-stereotypical classroom versus 48 percent of guys.

"The researchers say that changing computer science stereotypes to make more students feel welcome in high school classrooms would help recruit more girls to the field, which has one of the lowest percentages of women among STEM fields."

Read the full article here

Are STEM-Based Toys the Answer to Getting Girls in STEM?

Efforts to get more girls into STEM studies are increasing, as the survey posted above about re-designing classrooms to interest girls indicates.

Fox40 discusses some of the toys that are designed to get girls into the field at an early age, including things like a levitation wand part of a magic science kit.

Read the full article here

Business Skills That Come with STEM Education Means Not All STEM Grads Choose STEM

According to analysis from, not every STEM grad choosing STEM thanks to a well-rounded education that gives many students studying STEM an opportunity to persevere as entrepreneurs, as well.

One student interviewed, second-year electrical engineering student Tyler Laredo, "says he studies engineering so he can graduate with a technical background, but envisions a professional trajectory in a management, business or entrepreneurial position.

Those types of jobs, unlike a statistician or a physical scientist, for example, aren't identified as STEM under the U.S. Census Bureau Standard Occupational Classification, which instead creates separate categories for management occupations."

Read the full article here




Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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