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STEM Snacks
FEB
25

STEM
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Moms inspire their daughters in STEM

By Melissa Ballard

We loved the message of this recent GE ad, “Childlike Imagination.” Already, it has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this month we blogged about the importance of mentors for inspiring girls and other populations underrepresented in STEM. Working moms in STEM surely inspire their own daughters, and we hope they seek opportunities to inspire more girls in their community! 

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learn more about: Media Outreach Science Working Families
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FEB
25

STEM
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STEM webinar re-cap: Engineering and Computing in Afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

To celebrate last week’s national Engineers Week, the Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar featuring three incredible afterschool programs engaging students in engineering, computing and technology education. We were joined by:

  • Jen Joyce, Director of Professional Development at Techbridge in Oakland, CA
  • Andrew Coy, Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore, MD
  • Maureen Psaila-Dombrowski, Program Coordinator at the Santa Fe Institute, representing Project GUTS

All three were featured in our latest issue brief on computing and engineering, and they were able to provide a clearer picture on what has made their afterschool programs successful. Program profiles in our Afterschool STEM Storybook provide additional information. You can watch the full recording and view the slides on our webinar archives page. Below is a quick re-cap!

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learn more about: Digital Learning Issue Briefs Science Community Partners
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FEB
18

STEM
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STEM learning across settings: Cultivating learning ecosystems

By Anita Krishnamurthi

There has been a lot of talk recently about learning across settings and constructing or cultivating “ecosystems” for learning.  This refers to the notion that there are many influences and supports a young person draws on; when we put the learner at the center rather than the institutions where learning might occur, we see that schools, while crucially important, are not the only player in this system.  While the notion of such “learning ecosystems” has been around for many decades, it's gaining renewed attention as we try to truly rethink how we approach (STEM) education improvement.  Afterschool programs are very much at the heart of this debate. 

As part of my work to highlight the potential of afterschool programs as partners in STEM education, I have been part of a few recent efforts to increase the discussion of this idea.  We hope that we can foster a robust debate and change some of the policies and funding streams to allow such ecosystems to thrive.  But first, we have a lot of work to do to think through what this might look like and what issues we need to consider. 

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learn more about: Education Reform Events and Briefings Issue Briefs Community Partners
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FEB
12

STEM
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The importance of STEM mentors

By Melissa Ballard

 

January’s National Mentoring Month celebrated the work of thousands of adults who make a difference in young people’s lives by offering stable relationships to support their academic and social development. The initiative also sought to raise awareness for the continued need for mentors. A new report from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership found a significant mentoring gap, particularly for at-risk youth.

STEM-specific mentors are especially important to break down stereotypes about who practices STEM and to demonstrate the diversity in career options. The White House has recognized the need for more STEM professionals to mentor youth, which resulted in the US2020 initiative, calling on companies to allow their employees to volunteer as mentors.

In other big news, the Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative was launched last month, and to-date almost 45,000 have taken the pledge! In the near future, MWM plans to offer an online platform to provide STEM professionals with tools to become effective mentors and to connect with girl-serving youth organizations. Several groups working in the out-of-school-time space are official partners—Girls, Inc., 4-H, YWCA,Girlstart, the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

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learn more about: Service Youth Development Community Partners
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FEB
7

STEM
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Time Warner Cable connects minds to science and TV

By Jodi Grant

Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) Connect A Million Minds (CAMM) campaign is once again sparking the imagination of children and adults—connecting the hottest technology and trends to science.  In a partnership with the New York Hall of Science and cable broadcasters, last weekend Connect A Million Minds used the power of television to inspire kids across New York City.

Renting a building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, TWC and CAMM turned the warehouse into a museum featuring the hottest technology in the cable industry today.

My daughters and I joined 350 students from Boys and Girls Clubs from around the city.  Highlights included HBO’s Game of Thrones demonstrating Oculus Rift—a next generation virtual reality headset to climb the wall at Castle Black.  The Food Network showed electricity can be conducted through dough, allowing the kids to create their own lighting design embedded in the dough.  

And, my own favorite, Al Jazeera demonstrated a new exoskeleton that allowed a woman who had been paralyzed for 18 years to walk.

It was an extraordinary event that once again taught our children that science is cool, fun and necessary not just to entertain us but to make our lives better. 

 

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Science
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FEB
3

STEM
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Our thoughts on the Super Bowl: Girly girls like science just fine

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Football fans in the U.S. eagerly wait to watch the Super Bowl every year—and just as eagerly anticipated by fans and non-fans alike are the commercials that debut during the big game.  One of the buzzed-about ads during Super Bowl XLVIII this year was the first by a small business to air during a Super Bowl—where a 30-second spot costs a cool $4 million.  Intuit, the personal finance software firm, ran a contest this year and offered to pay for an ad by a small business.  The toy startup GoldieBlox, started by a female engineer, won the contest and aired an ad about their toys for girls that aim to blow up gender stereotypes about engineers and inventors.  The company's goal is to get girls building and inventing with toys that don't shy away from being girly and appealing to young girls.

It's hard to believe that in 2014 we are still debating whether girls who like pink and "girly" things can also like science, technology, engineering, and math (the so-called "STEM" fields).  And yet, horrifying as it is to those of us who grew up enduring and fighting that stereotype, it still exists.
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learn more about: Equity Media Outreach Science
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FEB
3

STEM
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Teach computer science (for free!)

By Sarah Simpson

If your students enjoyed the Hour of Code, they will be happy to hear that was just the first one hour of Code.org’s longer 20-hour Intro to Computer Science course.

It’s completely free, and just like the 1-hour activity, it’s self-guided (w/video lectures by stars like Bill Gates and Chris Bosh), and features artwork from popular games Angry Bird and Plants vs. Zombies. It also includes “unplugged” activities for students to work collaboratively in groups with no computer at all.

It also comes complete with a free, online information sessions to help get you started. And an educator dashboard allows you to easily track student performance and send them a screenshot when they’re stuck on certain levels.

Sign up now to continue to help your students learn these life-changing skills!

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learn more about: Celebrities Digital Learning
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JAN
17

STEM
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Get recognized by funders, apply to join the STEMworks database!

By Melissa Ballard

Get your program recognized as a leader in STEM learning! Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led coalition focused on advancing STEM literacy, is reopening STEMworks. The database is the premier tool for business leaders and other funders to identify and support exemplary programs that boost STEM interest and learning in the U.S.

Who’s eligible? Any STEM learning program that serves pre-K through 12th grade students and teachers, either in or out of school, is encouraged to apply for admission.*  Each submission will be reviewed by WestEd, an independent, nonprofit research, development, and service organization, which will provide detailed and confidential feedback to each applicant on strengths and weaknesses of the application.

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learn more about: Evaluations Sustainability Community Partners
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