In the current moment of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the silver bullet to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation still seems tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – the STEM subjects. Art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century. We need to add art and design to turn STEM into STEAM. source http://stemtosteam.org/
There is a major movement in government, business and education that is geared toward educating and graduating more students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The reason is that this is the largest job growth segment in the 21st century and there is already a shortage of skilled workers to fill the positions.
STEAM POWER After School
STEAM POWER After School was created in late summer of 2012 a a response to the growing need of a STEAM program in Santa Cruz County. Mary Talpas was talking to a friend, who works in the Campbell Union School District. She discovered that Santa Clara County has been putting STEAM programs in place, through out the county. When she researched Santa Cruz County Schools to find out the progress of the programs here to see how she could get involved, she discovered there wasn’t any programs available, similar to the program at CUSD. Mary decided to work with the public schools to bring a program here.
STEAM Gaining Traction
STEAM education is gaining traction in government and research circles. House Resolution 319, introduced by Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), and still in play, “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into federal programs that target Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.”
STEAM Job Market
According to a recently released study from Change the Equation, an organization that supports STEM education, there are 3.6 unemployed workers for every job in the United States. That compares with only one unemployed STEM worker for two unfilled STEM jobs throughout the country. Many jobs are going unfilled simply for lack of people with the right skill sets. Even with more than 13 million Americans unemployed, the manufacturing sector cannot find people with the skills to take nearly 600,000 unfilled jobs, according to a study last fall by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte.
The hardest jobs to fill were skilled positions, including well-compensated blue collar jobs like machinists, operators, and technicians, as well as engineering technologists and sciences.
STEM-related skills are not just a source of jobs, they are a source of jobs that pay very well. A report last October from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that 65 percent of those with Bachelors’ degrees in STEM fields earn more than Master’s degrees in non-STEM occupations. In fact, 47 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in STEM occupations earn more than PhDs in non-STEM occupations.
Education Falls Short
Despite the lucrative potential, many young people are reluctant to enter into fields that require a background in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. In a recent study by the Lemselson-MIT Invention Index, which gauges innovation aptitude among young adults, 60 percent of young adults (ages 16 to 25) named at least one factor that prevented them from pursuing further education or work in the STEM fields. Thirty-four percent said they don’t know much about the fields, a third said they were too challenging, and 28 percent said they were not well-prepared at school to seek further education in these areas.
iPads and Math
Between February 2012 and May 2012, a group of 8th grade math students in Houston used the YourTeacher Algebra 1 iBooks instead of their hardcover counterparts. The teachers used the iPads to create a flipped classroom in which students spent most of their learning time on the iPad (80 percent) while they were at home. This let teachers use the classroom time for advanced, one-on-one instruction.
When compared to the control group that received traditional classroom instruction, the iPad group showed significant improvement in their math scores. The summary report on the pilot program says,
Overall, the percentage of students who rated either proficient or advanced (the ‘passing’ rate) was 49% percent higher in the ‘flipped classrooms’ using the iPads than in the traditional classrooms with no iPads. The difference was most pronounced in the percentage of students rated as ‘advanced,’ which was 150% higher in the ‘flipped classrooms.’
This may be a small-scale study, but it is one of many recent results that suggest the iPad could benefit school-aged children as young as kindergarten.
Kids Using iPads Outperformed The Non-iPad Users
Last year, the school board in Auburn, Maine okayed the outlay of $200,000 for 285 iPad 2 tablets to be given to kindergarten students and teachers starting in the fall.
While experts question the use of digital resources, and their possible contribution to the rise in student plagiarism, Apple has already conducted a survey on their use amongst our youngest students. Here are the initial results:
A new study shows that students who use iPads in the classroom score better in literacy tests than those who don’t. As previously reported, educators in Auburn, Maine began instructing 266 kindergarteners using the iPad 2 this fall, and those who used the tablet scored higher on literacy tests and were more enthused about learning, according to Apple blog TUAW.
The study, conducted in Auburn, Maine, randomly assigned half of the districts 16 kindergarten classes to use iPads for nine weeks. In all, 129 students used an iPad, while 137 students were taught without an iPad. Each of the 266 students were tested before and after the iPads were introduced into the classroom.
According to the literacy test results, classes using the iPads outperformed the non-iPad students in every literacy measure they were tested on.
source http://www.care2.com/causes/do-ipads-in-the-classroom-boost-test-scores.html February 23, 2012
iPads in the Classroom
A whopping 1.5 millon iPads are curently being used in the US classrooms, with that number expected to increase exponentially in the coming years.
The number of iPads in Santa Cruz County public schools is virtually zero. STEAM POWER wants to change this by providing the STEAM curriculum, training the teachers, and fund raising for the equipment.