Sunday, April 28, 2013

Proposed National Reorganization for STEM Education

In their 2014 budget proposal, the Whitehouse is projecting a significant reorganization related to the programs and funding for STEM Education.  It would eliminate 78, consolidate 49, and launch 39 new programs.  In the end, the request of $3.1 billion for STEM Education would be a 7% increase over the 2012 allocation.

The purpose of the reorganization is to reduce overlap and fragmentation, and to increase coordination and assessment of the effectiveness of the funding.

NASA, NOAA, and NIH have been projected for major reductions related to their respective education activities.  The Department of Education, NSF, and the Smithsonian Institution would all have their STEM related programs realigned and their funding expanded.

ScienceInsider spoke last week with top officials at each agency.

While the Congress is likely to reduce the effectiveness of this reorganization, in the interests of preserving programs for various influential constituents, the reorg objectives seem sound and it is heartening to see the 7% increase in funding overall.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HP Catalyst Initiative

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the New Media Consortium (NMC), and HP have created a free, online professional development initiative designed to help educators around the world teach STEMx subjects. The HP Catalyst Academy will launch in June 2013 with 15 free mini-courses taught by HP Catalyst Fellows.

The HP Catalyst Initiative coined the term STEMx to expand on the traditional definition of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. The "x" in STEMx refers to other disciplines, such as computer science, nanoscience, and biotech, as well as skills like collaboration, creativity, communication, problem solving, inquiry, computational thinking, and global fluency, all of which the HP Catalyst Initiative considers important for success in the high tech world.

The HP Catalyst Academy is intended to "accelerate STEMx education, transform teaching practices, and continue to close the digital skills gap," according to a news release from the organization. The mini-courses will be taught by HP Catalyst Fellows, educators and entrepreneurs from around the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada who have experience developing and launching large-scale projects that have a positive effect on teachers and students.
"The professional development opportunities are designed to be completely practical and forward-thinking," said Larry Johnson, CEO of NMC. "They really have the capacity to transform STEMx teaching and learning as we know it.”
The first 15 online mini-courses available through HP Catalyst Academy include:
  • Building a Framework for Digital Fabrication;
  • Social Textbooks;
  • Computational Thinking in Secondary Schools;
  • Connecting Students to their World;
  • Game Design for Learning;
  • Geospatial Tech for STEMx Learning;
  • Helping Students Change their World through App Design;
  • InkSurvey: Graphical Response Tool for Real-Time Formative Assessment;
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary STEMx Teaching;
  • Planning Enriching ICT-Mediated STEMx Experiences;
  • Polar Bears in a Changing Climate;
  • Project-Based Learning with Real-World Problems;
  • Remote Labs;
  • Weaving Social Media into STEM Teaching; and
  • Strategies for Formative Assessment through e-Portfolios

Further information about HP Catalyst Academy can be found at