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Kids to “Shake, Rattle and Roll” Their Way to Earth-Shattering Futures

After experiencing my first earthquake on the west coast many years ago, there was nothing anyone could do to convince me that an earthquake could be a good thing.  However, there is one group that is doing just that. The Tech Museum in San Jose has introduced a simulated quake that is a life-changing platform for children to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Since January, The Tech Challenge has provided 1,400 students with ongoing STEM learning, culminating on Saturday, April 21. The annual team competition introduces the engineering design process to fifth through twelfth graders by solving a real-world problem through hands-on learning. The assignment for this 25th anniversary year – “Shake, Rattle, and Rescue” – asks students to create a solution to help earthquake survivors cross a damaged bridge.

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City of Chicago: Transforming the 21st Century Workforce through Education

February 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm PST

Guest post by Todd Huston, Strategic Business Development Manager, Cisco Systems. Todd helps Higher Education and K-12 customers transform their operations and the student experience with technology.

Preparing the next-generation of students for the workforce is a critical responsibility.  Without skills in science, engineering, math and technology, innovation cannot advance at the rate needed to sustain the economic growth we are all working to foster.

—     Wim Elfrink, Cisco

As a part of my job at Cisco, I have the opportunity to meet with IT professionals and school administrators to discuss how students are being equipped with the necessary skills to compete in the 21st century. Earlier today I visited the Chicago Vocational Career Academy where Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an initiative to help better prepare high school and community college graduates for the 21st century workforce.

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State of the Union Challenge: Teaching Skills that Lead to Jobs

As I listened to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, my ears perked up when I heard these words “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job”. While I agree that this is” inexcusable”, I couldn’t help but feel gratified that President Obama called attention to our deficiency in 21st century skills-based education.

Although unemployment continues to be a challenge in this country, the demand for technology specialists is on the rise. Projected to grow by 10, 20 and in some cases 50 percent in coming years, jobs like Computer Support Specialist, Analysts and Systems Administrators are in high demand. Read More »

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Telepresence Key to Boosting the Nation’s Science and Math IQ

January 11, 2012 at 7:46 am PST

Though it’s wonderful to read about recent positive trends, there’s no question that the jobless rate has caused concern for some time now. Did you know, however, that in some sectors there are consistently more job openings than there are qualified candidates?

According to a U.S. News blog post by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a New Jersey-based charter school founder, fields including computer science, environmental science, medicine, and engineering all need trained professionals. The problem, Bonilla-Santiago says, is that America’s schools don’t provide adequate training in the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—so there aren’t enough prepared people for the available jobs.

Part of the issue, Bonilla-Santiago suggests, is that teachers do not have adequate training in the sciences to effectively teach these subjects. Congress considered solutions that would bring more qualified instructors into the classroom, including encouraging STEM professionals to transition from their industry jobs to teaching positions. But wouldn’t this shift just exacerbate the current vacancy rates in the STEM fields? Read More »

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Crowdsourcing and Manufacturing

October 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm PST

The challenges facing the US manufacturing industry are varied and well-known: foreign competition, regulatory and environmental concerns, and a decline in STEM education, to name a few.

Most of what we hear in the news is a continual stream of reminders of these challenges from politicians, pundits, etc. Everyone seems to acknowledge this is a problem, but what are we going to do about it?

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