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STEM News Roundup: Teacher Appreciation Helps 80,000 Students Participate in Robotics

STEM News Round-Up: Teacher Appreciation Helps 80,000 Students Participate in Robotics

This week in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math news, a new release from -DonorsChoose.org, FIRST® and News Corp announced that their partnership in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day resulted in the funding of over 500 STEM projects that helped over 80,000 students participate in STEM.

"The campaign to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education was born out of a unique collaboration between News Corp philanthropy partners DonorsChoose.org, a crowd-funding platform for teachers, and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a leader in K-12 STEM education. The two organizations joined forces to nurture technology and engineering education in public schools through the use of Robotics,” the release said.

Funding helped schools all over the country purchase materials to help start or grow robotics initiatives for their students.

 

Keyboarding Offered to Students as Young as Kindergarten

 

More and more schools are looking to get younger students keyboarding practice in order to encourage future interest in programming, a look into Nebraska school districts revealed this week.

And as tests increasingly move from paper-to-pencil, schools are also looking to ensure student success while navigating digital exams.

"State education officials now recommend that schools start getting kids familiar with keyboards in third grade. More formal lessons, in which kids practice speed, focus on specific keys and work on looking at the computer screen and not down at the keyboard, should proceed in fourth grade and continue throughout middle school,” said Bonnie Sibert, the career field specialist for business, marketing and management with the Nebraska Department of Education, to Omaha.com. 

 

Opinion: Underrepresented Groups Must be Engaged with Access to Opportunity

 

In order to make meaningful progress in helping girls and minorities get into STEM studies, U.S. News contributor Vince Bertram says there is an imperative need for increased access to opportunity.

Helping girls and minorities into STEM " will require a more concentrated and intentional effort to provide young girls and other underrepresented groups with access to relevant STEM opportunities, whether through programs like Verizon's D.C. boot camp and mentorships or a government-led effort akin to a modern-day Title IX,” Bertram said.

Bertram points to the first-ever results from the Nation’s Report Card in technology and engineering literacy and how girls outperformed boys, signifying the need to capitalize on these gains with early exposure to studies.

"The earlier in a young person's academic career that he or she is offered STEM courses, the better. The earlier students are exposed to those fields, the more innate and comfortable they'll be with them, and as a result, the less they'll be intimidated by them,” he said.

Read his full post.

 

Beta Version of Minecraft: Education Edition Available for Download

 

Helping get your students into programming might be easier than you though now that Minecraft will be available in an education edition meant to emphasize such kinds of skill in the classroom.

The download is currently only available to educators as Microsoft is relying on educator feedback this summer to ensure its product is classroom-friendly.

Find out how to get the free download here. 

 

Is Technology Good or Bad for Student Learning? Studies Are Conflicting

 

Maine’s Department of Education is allegedly going through great lengths to replace the iPads it purchased for its schools’ classrooms after finding they have “no educational value.”

Such occurrences are worrisome for schools that shell out lots of money for tech devices, especially since studies are conflicting about what works and how.

Check out some of the studies on device efficiency and one-to-one initiatives here.

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