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STEM News Roundup: Take Down Star Trek Posters to Get More Girls in Computer Science Classrooms?

STEM News Roundup: Take Down Star Trek Posters to Get More Girls in Computer Science Classrooms?

In order to increase the representation of women in notoriously underrepresented fields like computer science, researchers Sapna Cheryan and Sianna Ziegler argue that one of the first steps may very well be taking down the Star Trek posters and working harder to support more inclusive cultures.

"Work from our lab shows that when high school girls see Star Trek posters and video games in a computer science classroom, they are less interested than boys in taking the course,” said Cheryan and Ziegler in a post for Quartz.com.

"When the classroom is devoid of décor, girls still opt out. It is only when an alternate image of computer science is presented by replacing geeky objects with art and nature posters that girls become as interested as boys.”

According to the two authors, one of the main reasons why women are less likely to chose computer science careers is because they don’t see the culture as a good fit.

"When courses are optional, as is typical for computer science, students rely on their stereotypes about the fields to decide whether to enroll. And as one undergraduate research participant in our lab put it, the current stereotypes of computer scientists is that they are 'nerdy guys' who 'stay up late coding and drinking energy drinks' and have 'no social life,’” they said.

"It’s time we take the pressure off women to change themselves to fit within masculine cultures. Instead, the pressure should be on society to make computer science a field in which all students feel equally welcome.”

Read the full article.

Psychometric Methodology Can Make for Better Math Teachers, Assessments

A group of researchers and authors have recently co-authored a book Psychometric Methods in Mathematics Education: Opportunities, Challenges, and Interdisciplinary Collaborations that argues that psychometric methodology is the answer to the question of how to improve math education in the U.S.

"The overarching goal [of the book] is to facilitate research that finds better ways to integrate the two fields, thereby creating teachers who have a better understanding of what their students do and do not know, as well as helping test designers create tests that better reveal students’ mathematical understanding,” said the University of Kansas in a statement.

Read the full article.

How Are Organizations Training Effective STEM Teachers?

The Annual Partner Survey from 100Kin10, the national network committed to training and retaining 100,000 excellent K-12 STEM teachers by 2021 has revealed some interesting findings about how organizations are successfully training effective STEM teachers.

In total, the survey analyzed 242 programs offered by 157 unique partner organizations of 100Kin10 to find that incorporating new standards and emphasizing pedagogical content knowledge are the two top priorities for both preparing new teachers and developing existing ones (75.5 percent and 70.5 percent, respectively).

Not high on the priority list were things like teaching social-emotional learning, inspiring active learning or teaching engineering.

"Our hope is that this survey holds a mirror to both our network partners and the field at large to help all of us reflect on priorities and improve,” said 100Kin10 in a statement.

Read the full article here.

NASA Shows How Cool STEAM Is

What happens when you give NASA’s rocket engineers an hour to carve a pumpkin for submission in a pumpkin carving contest?

Only the creation of the coolest pumpkins, ever!

NASA engineers put the country’s pumpkin carving to shame in just an hour’s time and reminded us that the possession of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills is useful for tons of things.

Read the full article here.

Minecraft: Education Edition Is Here!

Microsoft officially released Minecraft: Education Edition on November 1. The popular game is said to be a superb tool for teaching STEM concepts like math, coding and more.

The game is available for purchase for $5 a student per year.

Read the full article here.

NYC Selects Institution to Evaluate Computer Science Initiative

In order to track its efforts and hopefully help other districts follow in its footsteps one day, New York City has selected the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University to evaluate its Computer Science of All initiative.

"The nine-year evaluation, funded through $5 million in CS4All grants to the Fund for Public Schools, will answer important questions about the implementation and impact of CS4All for students, schools, and teachers in New York City,” said NYU in a statement.

Read the full article.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

11/4/2016

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