Sunday, March 30, 2008

What is STEM, and Why is it Important?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. As you might have guessed, tremendous pressure to increase students’ skills in all of these areas exists. Recently, a Technology Counts 2008 report was released. This report contained broad information about how students in the United States are performing as well as links to detailed state-by-state reports. I am providing the link to the Connecticut state report for your review. As a teacher or future teacher in Connecticut, you should be aware of where our students stand in terms of STEM and what the implications are for the future. Check the report, and post your comments. I am also providing in the second link access to the main report.

Connecticut: Technology Counts, 2008 STEM Report
http://www.edweek.org/media/ew/tc/2008/30CT_STR2008.h27.pdf

Education Week: Technology Counts Report Main Page
http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2008/03/27/index.html
Image is from the Education Week article, March 28, 2008, accessible from the link above.

4 comments:

mary beth said...

Wow...I wonder what is being done to encourage students to major in Math or Science. I also wonder how our statistics compare to those from other countries. For example, are other countries attracting more students into these fields? Also are students who major in Math or Science entering fields other than education? I think schools and parents may have to communicate the benefits of studying these fields in relation to how they translate into lucrative careers.

Martina said...

I don't know whether it is sad or unnerving to see that though CT as a state ranks high on our capacity and access to technology but gets a D+ grade in terms of its use of technology. I would love to see this broken down by districts or cities. I have a feeling that this result is another one of the dichotomies of this great state - we have one of the richest counties in the U.S. in Fairfield and 3 of the poorest cities in the country - Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury. Are these poor towns dragging the rest of the state down. What do the grades and the numbers mean - are we seeing another example of the digital divide. I would love to see a breakdown of this information within the state in order to be able to answer this question. This actually dovetails nicely to a report that came out earlier this week which said that in some of our larger urban communities less than 50% of students are graduating. What does this say about our future and the future of our students. In Baltimore for example, there is like a 34% rate for graduation while surrounding suburub have rates of 80%. This gets back to my issue that as long as public education is funded by the community, the poor will always have worst education and not good access. I wonder what are candidates have to say about that. Especially since they are senators who are funded by federal money and make quite a bit of it. Just another thought for the day.

Margaret H. said...

I think a lot has changed in the field of Math and Science in the past few years. Years ago females were not supported when going into the field of Math and Science. Now a lot more females are pursuing the field they truly want to go in. It had become a lot more expectable which then has increased the number of people becoming Math and Science majors. I know the year that I entered school as a Math major my school was surprised with the number. There were a lot more then they expected or in previous years. In addition, the majority of Math majors were females.
Why wouldn’t everyone want to major in Math or become a Math teacher???

Martina said...

Margaret, talking about things changing. I too wanted to major in Applied Mathematics at Harvard in 1975!! I was told by the head of the department that there were no women and no minorities in the department and if I wanted to I would pretty much be on my own. So I changed my major to psychology to try to figure out why people are the way they are. Thirty years later I have come full circle and am about to do what I always wanted to which is to teach math - I may be doing it the hard way but I am better for the experience and hopefully my future students will be too. Actually on my webquest is a link to an article that finally dispels the myth that there is no difference between the math and science capabilities of males and females as evidenced by differencs in their brains. Girsl rule!!!

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