Showing posts from March, 2010

NASA Launches Students into Orbit

In a 20-foot vertical spin tunnel at the NASA Langley Research Center, aerospace technologist Steve Riddick tests free-flying models of fighter aircraft, transport vehicles and capsule vehicles to see how they perform under different conditions.“It’s one of the better places to give a tour because there’s a lot of visual stimulation with that tunnel,” Riddick said. “You get to actually see something going on, as opposed to some computer collecting data.”And that’s what STEM is all about. As the United States focuses more on these academic subjects, NASA is on a mission to engage students, educators and families in STEM fields, as well as to strengthen the future workforce of the organization and the nation.Almost half of NASA’s current workforce consists of baby boomers, and by the end of fiscal year 2010, more than 20 percent of the organization’s workers will be eligible to retire, according to a 2008 presentation by Toni Dawsey, assistant administrator for human capital management …

STEMtech Promotes Interactive Learning

The League for Innovation's annual Conference on Information Technology (CIT) is transitioning into a new conference envisioned as an interactive learning experience with a strong focus on:science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in general education and workforce training; and uses of technology across the institution.“Excitement is building about the new STEMtech conference,” said League Board Chair Jackson Sasser, president of Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla. “STEMtech provides an opportunity for community college technology specialists, CIOs and other educators who use technology to continue gathering around topics of specific interest to them, while acknowledging the growing importance of STEM disciplines in community college education.”

STEMtech will be available to participants in two formats: on site and online. The 2010 on-site conference will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Online …

Grant Attracts Minorities to STEM Fields

The University of Texas at El Paso has received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for nearly $2.9 million.

The “Science for a Sustainable Future: Developing the Next Generation of Diverse Scientists” award will provide fellowships to minority graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The doctoral students will build their science and teaching portfolios and bring their leading research findings into K-12 learning settings in an effort to inspire the next generation of scientists.

The fellows will serve as a STEM resource for El Paso’s Early College High School (ECHS) science teachers and as mentors for the students, helping them build practical understandings of science.“This success in securing federal funding from the National Science Foundation is a good example of the quality of competitive proposals UTEP faculty generate, integrating education and research benefiting our students and c…

Technology + Perseverance = Innovation

Dean Kamen is an inventor, an entrepreneur and a tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion for technology and its practical uses has driven his personal determination to spread the word about technology’s virtues, and by so doing, to change the culture of the United States. In addition to founding DEKA Research and Development, one of Kamen's proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use and enjoy science and technology.How did you get to where you are today?Necessity is the mother of invention. As a young kid, I decided I didn’t like being told what to do. I liked to understand the problem at hand and decide how to go about solving it myself. I also decided early on I didn’t like being judged by people. It occurred to me as a kid, “Wow, if I can’t deal with this, and deal with somebody judging me as a kid when I’m in school and i…

Literacy Learning with Electric

Editor’s Note: It’s amazing how “at home” two adults can feel sitting in Oscar the Grouch’s shadow as he lounges in his iconic garbage can. As Converge Editor in Chief Marina Leight and writer Mark Gura were waiting to enter the offices of Sesame Workshop, they saw no point in putting on their game faces while Oscar stared them down: Everyone around them was smiling as broadly as red-furred Elmo and the other "The Electric Company" cast members. Marina and Mark also smiled broadly as they sat down for an in-depth discussion with the show’s creative team leaders.

The opening sequence of “The Electric Company” always presents a literacy learning problem and concludes with one of the characters shouting, “Hey you guys!”

That iconic signal, kept from the original series of the 1970s, is a clarion call to begin each episode’s 30 minutes of fun and learning.

"The Electric Company," produced by the nonprofit Sesame Workshop, formerly Children’s Television Workshop, broadcast…

Media Tools Boost Literacy

In the classroom, public television shows, such as "Sesame Street" and "Between the Lions," and interactive games help preschool children develop critical literacy skills and better prepares them for kindergarten, according to a new study conducted by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and SRI International. The study analyzed literacy skills in young children, including their ability to name letters, associate sounds with the letters and understand story concepts and printed words.

"Many studies have shown that computer technologies can improve learning for students in kindergarten through grade 12, but using digital media in preschool has been controversial," said lead researcher Shelley Pasnik, director of EDC's Center for Children and Technology.

Commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the study examined 398 low-income children in 80 preschool classes in New York City and San Francisco. For 10 weeks, these students, most…

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Releases State Implementation Guides

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) released the State Implementation Guides – which offer best practices on building standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development and learning environments – to help integrate skills (such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication) more purposefully into core academic subjects (such as mathematics, reading, science, history and others).“I hope to encourage more states to join the 21st century learning movement to ensure our next generation of leaders are prepared for and inspired to achieve careers in innovative, inventive areas that might not even exist today,” said Kathy Hurley, P21 executive board and strategic council chair, and senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Pearson. “With these new guides, P21 provides support for educators nationwide who are integrating skills like critical thinking and problem solving into their education frameworks. Knowing the critical role teachers …

Brodcast Projects Promote Literacy

Some students may not be interested in reading books or writing reports, but one teacher at Christiansburg Elementary School in Virginia has found a way to motivate them: podcasting. In Angela Williams' summer class, elementary students have been creating podcasts, and it's been a really good "incentive" for those who struggle with literacy, The Roanoke Times reports.

Williams is using podcasts — audio or video programs delivered through computers and MP3 players — as part of a program offered by the Montgomery County schools' office of gifted education. She is one of two teachers at the elementary school who piloted the state's Learning without Boundaries program last year. The project, organized in part by Radford University, Virginia Tech and Apple, put the iPod Touch and other wireless electronics devices in students' hands to find out how effective they are as teaching tools.

She said some students didn't want to write scripts for podcasts, but ins…

Blogging Teachers Face Policy Barriers

Is there a limit for what teachers can say when it comes to blogging? And if so, where is the line and who should determine how far is too far?

These are some of the questions that Jay Mathews is raising in his education column in the Washington Post. Mathews talks about the blogging situation with Michele Kerr, an educator who blogs under the Internet name "Cal Lanier."

According to the column, supervisors of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) at Stanford's School of Education decided Kerr’s anti-progressive views and blogs were alienating students in classes.

Kerr said the leaders tried to stifle her opinions and her blog, and threatened to withhold the Master in Education she was working toward. She said they expressed fear that she was “unsuited for the practice of teaching.”

Kerr ultimately won the dispute, but Mathews writes that the struggle highlights flaws in education systems that try to prevent independent thought on the blogs of teachers. Many times, t…

Students See World Beyond the Classroom

Four-hundred years ago, the legendary Galileo created a device called the telescope to gaze into space from a distance. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first use of the telescope in astronomy, schools in the southeast region of Australia united for a star-gazing project, where students used modern-day distance learning devices to interact remotely.

In New South Wales, Australia, students attend schools in various locations, from the coastal capital of Sydney to the in-land rural, mining city Broken Hill. Organized by Western NSW Region, the "Learn Astronomy From Our School" project brought more than 2,000 K-12 students together in 63 virtual classrooms last Spring.

For the astronomy-themed project, each school group produced a video conference presentation. They had to come up with an engaging title and a summary of the information. They also advertised their projects to participants for two weeks in advance. At the end of the school term, students spent 25 minutes…

Steps to Building a Successful School

When the final bell rang in three Kentucky high schools, students climbed into buses to go home, but many of them left without understanding concepts that their teachers taught them that day.Kids who needed more help couldn't follow their teachers home, and teachers couldn't talk on the phone each night with every kid who needed extra instruction or acceleration, said Heath Cartwright, the district technology coordinator and director of professional development at McCracken County Public Schools in Paducah.That changed when the district started providing laptops for high school students and teachers last year. Now teachers use their laptops to communicate with students after school, and the students work on group projects at home.“It takes a tremendous amount of work and patience to get teachers ready and to get administrators ready and to get your IT department ready, but what’s already in place is that the students are ready," Cartwright said. "They’re waiting on u…

School Districts Can Apply for $650 Million Contest

Five months after Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the priorities for the Investing in Innovation competition, he finalized the rules and published the application package today.To qualify, school districts must show that they are either supporting effective teachers and principals, improving the use of data to accelerate student learning, creating college and career level standards and assessments, or turning around low-performing schools.While states are eligible for the Race to the Top competition, they are not eligible for the innovation competition. Individual school districts, groups of districts and districts with nonprofit partners get the chance to show how they can improve education in their area.School districts have until mid-May to apply for the $643.5 million grant program, and grants will be awarded in September. In the meantime, representatives from the Education Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement will host workshops in Atlanta, Baltimore an…

Python Enterprise-Wide at the University

IntroductionThe IT Services department at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, develops and maintains software systems used in a variety of capacities throughout the university.I had several years of experience working with Perl when I took my first serious look at Python back in 1999. Our team's projects were becoming bigger and more complex, and it was obvious that we needed to bring to them more structure and clarity. I had been looking at Java for some time, but its potential benefits seemed to come at the cost of a steep learning curve, and an overall increase in development time. In contrast, Python appeared to offer the prospect of having both clarity and productivity at the same time. And if we ever needed to make use of Java's class libraries there was always Jython, an implementation of Python for the JVM. The increasing number of Python books being published testified to the language's growing popularity, and the number of available libraries was beginning to…

Renmin University of China

Renmin University of China (RUC, also known as the People's University of China) is a key university in China. The RUC's strengths emphasize the humanities and social sciences, however, the university also embraces disciplines in the area of natural sciences. The RUC is a comprehensive research-orientated university.

The RUC was established in 1937, during the resistance war against Japanese aggression. The University acquired its present name on October 3, 1950, which made it the first university to be established by the newly founded People's Republic of China.

Well-known educators including Wu Yuzhang, Cheng Fangwu, Yuan Baohua. Huang Da, and Li Wenhai have all served as president of the University. The RUC incumbent president is Professor Ji Baocheng, and Professor Cheng Tianquan is the Chairman of the University Council.

Since its establishment, RUC students and teachers have always endeavored to carry out its redoubtable injunction to "unceasingly strive to be alw…

Quaid-i-azam University

Introduction This University was established as University of Islamabad under an Act of National Assembly passed in July, 1967. It started teaching and research program for M.Phil & Ph.D. degrees. Later on, it was decided to start M.Sc. degree program for graduates from all regions of the country, based on regional quota. The University was housed initially in rented buildings in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi and moved to its permanent Campus in October 1971. The University was renamed as "Quaid-i-Azam University" in 1976 at the time of centenary celebrations of the Founder of Pakistan. The University is recognized in Pakistan and abroad as an Institution of higher academic standards and its graduates receive acceptance in universities and research institutions the world over. The Univers…

University of the Punjab

Established in 1882 at Lahore
Established in 1882 at Lahore, the University of the Punjab is the largest and the oldest seat of higher learning in Pakistan. It was the first to be established in the sub-continent in Muslim majority area. The fact that three Nobel laureates are from this University speaks volumes for its academic and research excellence.
Located in the historical and culturally alive city of Lahore, this University has played a leading role in higher education in the country. The University strives to provide a conducive environment for the pursuit of the academic activities. On account of its quality degrees, pleasant environment and low tuition fees the University remains the institution of first choice for admission seeking students.
Allama Iqbal Campus, named after the great South Asian thinker and mystic poet, with Islamic architectural design is in the middle of the bustling city of Lahore.

Quaid-i-Azam Campus, after the name of the father of the Nation, is locat…

kobe University

Kobe University, working in a spirit of integrity, freedom, and cooperation in keeping with its open and cosmopolitan culture and environs, aims to contribute to the global community through the creation of knowledge founded on universal values and the fostering of rich understanding and strong leadership skills. Kobe University, working in a spirit of integrity, freedom, and cooperation in keeping with its open and cosmopolitan culture and environs, is committed to achieving Global Excellence by 2015.Excellence in ResearchKobe University strives to achieve continuing international recognition as an institution for its outstanding work in designated core research areas founded on traditional disciplines and incorporating newly created inter-disciplinary initiatives. Excellence in EducationKobe University, in keeping with its Charter on Education and through its outstanding educational program, strives to achieve international recognition as an institution of higher learning, foster…