Brave Thinkers: Taylor Wilson -- The Atlantic interviews an 18 year-old physicist who ditched college to work on harnessing nuclear fusion. Along the way he’s aided the government in anti-terror port security, designed cheap and efficient alternatives to warehouse-sized cancer centers, and challenged science orthodoxy on what uninitiated whizzes can and cannot do.
At a High-Tech School, Supportive Adults Are the Real Key to Success -- Rocketship Discovery Prep in San Jose occupies a boxy, two story building in a troubled San Jose zip code. But the school of 640 elementary students boasts some of the better state test score results in California, outperforming nearly all schools with low-income students and some privileged campuses, as well. Blended learning instruction, extended lab time during which hourly aides--and not teachers--supervise the students, and a bevy of small-groups led by teachers for students who fall behind keeps this and the eight other Rocketship campuses in San Jose in the spotlight. The money saved going high-tech is reinvested in teacher training and higher salaries. The 30 volunteer hours a year each parent is asked to contribute don't hurt, either. (Thomas Toch, The Atlantic)
At Technology High School, Goal Isn’t to Finish in 4 Years -- In a dilapidated Brooklyn school building a new program called P-Tech -- Pathways in Technology Early College High School -- is in its second year of educating high school students toward a high school and then associate's degree. The program is stretched across six years and prepares students for a career in computer engineering or other positions in the tech field. With projected incomes of $40,000 a year after graduation, the interest in this program among students has swelled. Beyond the instruction of core subjects like math and English, students will study courses like workplace learning, physics, and college courses through New York City College of Technology and the City University of New York, colleges that together with IBM helped design and support the program. Strong academic gains among the students have already been observed. In 2011, The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Banchero reported on P-Tech, too. (Al Baker, The New York Times)
Teaching for the Future: Steering Girls to Science -- Through partner organizations such as the Girl Scouts, the Computer Science Teachers Association and Inspiring Girls Now in Technology Evolution (IGNITE), female leaders in the STEM fields are connecting with young female students to pique their interest in the gender imbalanced subjects. Companies like Microsoft and Intel are trying to bolster STEM participation among elementary and middle school girls, while other groups are calling on successful women in the space to serve as role models for the next crop of female college talent. The story, appearing in USA Today and written by Mary Beth Marklein, also homed in on one Seattle school where such collaborative efforts have been in play since 1999.
Kareem, Educator, Promote Science, Math -- Math and science are hard, but finding a spokesperson who ran up the scores with the swoosh of cold physics might get the kids to give STEM a gander. California appointed NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar California STEM Ambassador, tasked with traveling around the state to promote after-school STEM initiatives. In addition to his basketball mentoring of young NBA stars, the six-time league champion has emerged as a best-selling author on topics related to youth education. (Orange County Register, Fermin Leal)
Tech Highlight -- “To that end, he was inspired to start Alleyoop in 2010, which launched its site in February and is backed by Pearson Education. Alleyoop has partnered with NASA, National Geographic and the National Science Foundation, along with smaller enterprises such as Adaptive Curriculum and Brightstorm, which provide content for the site.
Geared toward students in grades 7-12, Alleyoop has attracted roughly 40,000 users so far; they're "fairly evenly split" between boys and girls, according to Supanc, and 20 percent of them are actually post-high school.” (Taryn Plumb, Boston Business Journal)