Building Blocks of STEM Act Passes House

The House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass H.R. 3397 Building Blocks of STEM Act. The bill, sponsored by Representative Jacky Rosen (NV-3), instructs the National Science Foundation to make adjustments pertaining to awarding grants.


Virtual Reality for Learning Raises High Hopes and Serious Concerns

Is virtual reality finally ready to make inroads in K-12? Technology companies are making a fresh push and some market dynamics could provide them a tailwind. But there is plenty of reason to remain skeptical. More than 15 percent of U.S. schools will have virtual-reality classroom kits by 2021, predicts Futuresource Consulting, a U.K.-based market-research firm. “You’re going to see increasing adoption of this immersive technology,” said Ben Davis, a senior analyst for the group. Other experts, however, say any potential growth will depend on how the field navigates as yet unanswered questions about virtual reality’s classroom value and long-term impact on children.


Girls to see “A Wrinkle in Time”

Taylor Richardson, a 14-year-old aspiring astronaut from Jacksonville, Fla., exceeded her goal of raising money to send 1,000 girls to see the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time. “This campaign is so very important to me because it will give me the opportunity to change not only girls perception of STEM and space exploration but boys as well,” explains Richardson in her original post about her goal.


FabLabs Are Showing That Student Makers Have Many Faces

Opening the lab door to alternative education, therapeutic emotional support, special needs and behaviorally nonconforming students shows potential benefits that reach far beyond report cards. Students that had refused to talk in the classroom are presenting their original products in front of panels. Exit surveys that had previously mentioned fast-food positions as anticipated work after graduation started mentioning ambitions to build skills to pursue technical positions.


America’s Top 50 Donors Show How Tech Riches Continue to Shake Up Philanthropy

America’s top 50 donors gave a combined $14.7 billion to charity last year, according to new research by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. That is close to triple the amount given by the same set in 2016, with the majority of the deposits driven by an emerging philanthropic force: tech money. Eleven of the top contributors made their fortunes in tech, the Chronicle’s data shows. That vanguard might still be relatively small by headcount, but they have contributed 60 percent of the value in overall gifts. Their grand total is $8.7 billion.


Improving STEM Education

The careers and jobs of tomorrow will increasingly rely on science, technology and math skills. Throw in engineering and STEM education becomes even more essential when preparing students for their futures. But are students receiving the quality STEM educations they need to thrive and compete?


STEM Educators Can No Longer Be Apolitical

Two decades ago, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Jane Lubchenco, called for a new social contract for science. She pointed out that, given the current state of the human-environment system, it is no longer adequate for scientists and all STEM practitioners to view our primary obligations as simply to discover, publish and train the next generation of scientists.


How One High-Poverty District Is Adding Virtual Reality to Its Classrooms

Virtual reality (VR) is emerging as a way to provide deeper learning in K-12 schools. When students are virtually immersed in material, they experience it in ways that cannot be conveyed by a picture in a book or line of text, VR proponents say. “Virtual reality allows students to explore places and structures in a way that is as close to real life as possible, without actually leaving our campus,” said Kristopher Hupp, director of technology and instructional innovation of the high-poverty Cornell School District.