Using PBS STEM Resources – there is a lot available for school or home, and it’s easy to organize.

The Public Broadcasting Service has an extensive resource library of videos and online activities that are subject and grade level based. You can view some things without logging in but you and/or your children will get more resources if you register.  This way you’ll be able to favorite specific videos.  This is a really nice addition to the teacher-specific resources as it allows you to view videos and immediately write your own notes which are visible as you scan your favorites, organize resources into folders/units and add outside links to other web sites or youtube videos etc.  You can post to facebook, twitter, or pinterest too.  All in something you have long term control over which isn’t always possible with school based teacher portals.

I would suggest setting the STEM Education Resource Center http://www.pbs.org/teachers/stem/ as your jumping off page as it is best organized for STEM.

If you are interested in general education, reading, teacher support/training, etc. then the PBS main teacher page and the link to 10,000 resources is at http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/ .

Idaho’s Dialogue for Kids (now renamed Science Trek) will provide you with more local content videos with this created in Idaho series.  http://www.idahoptv.org/sciencetrek/   The next show airs January 21st, 2014 and is on Simple Machines.

An if you are incorporating the maker movement into any of your elementary age lessons start with the PBS Design Squad at  http://pbskids.org/designsquad  (For older kids and engineering topics you probably want to type “design squad” into the search area on the regular teacher page instead.)

For other shows like Outdoor Idaho or Nature (or Sid the Science Kid for pre-schoolers) be sure to check out Idaho’s PBS station at http://idahoptv.org/.

Common Core isn’t just about what you learn but also how you learn.  To see this in action you can see some math classes at http://idahoptv.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/making-the-case/ which showcase some teaching techniques that help students think and not just regurgitate math facts.  While these techniques have always been part of good teaching many earlier educational “reforms” did much to discourage their use.  Common Core Math for example now has the requirement that students know how to “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others”.  This is a soft skill much in demand from employers.

Did you know K-12 teachers can get some of your PD (Professional Development) credits thru PBS classes?  http://www.pbs.org/teacherline/

 

Making Connections thru Twitter– Where to find other Idahoans discussing STEM education.

Sometimes you can feel all alone in the wilderness and be asking yourself if you are the only one who thinks that xyz would be a good idea.  In this era of online-social-media finding someone of like mind is fairly easy but it still helps to be pointed the right direction.

Twitter – You do not have to have a twitter account in order to find good information.  What you can’t do is go to twitter’s main page because there is no search area there.  Instead go to somebody else’s twitter page, for example go to ours.  You can find a link to our twitter page in the sidebar along with our latest tweets or in the twitter link (a blue “t”) up at the top right of every page on our web site.

Now you can go clicking on people, look at their tweets, or click on who they are following and look at those people’s tweets but without a Twitter account yourself or even with one, maybe you don’t want to follow all these people around and try to figure out who was tweeting who and what did so and so say to make this person say this in reply.  Twitter used that way is more like a bowl of spaghetti than a ball of yarn.

So what do you do?  You use the search button and hashtags which begs the question, “What are hashtags?”  Hashtags are character strings proceeded by a # sign.  Some to search for include #idedu, #idedchat, #stem, #edtech, #hourofcode, and even just “Idaho education” without a # sign.  (I’ve made these searches clickable so they will take you right to the most recent tweets)

For more national chats here is a great list of 11 educator chats and times including #scichat, #stemchat, #mathchat http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/12/17/twitter-educator-chats-180/2/ and if that is not enough diversity for you look at all the chats you can find here http://bit.ly/18mkQkw  .

Another thing to do once you’ve entered the search and it’s brought back tweets is to tell it to show All tweets.  It always defaults to just showing the Top tweets which means it doesn’t show you much of anything.  So click All so that everything shows up.  You’ll note that all the tweets found have the hashtag typed in as part of the message.  (I’ve include a image below to show you the button)

Teachers have been some of the early adopters of the #hashtag movement as it allows you to follow just the conversations that have that hashtag.  If you get yourself a twitter account, or already have one, you can join the conversation simply by typing the appropriate #hashtag as part of your message.

twitter search

Happy tweeting.

Kerbal Space Programs school-friendly version officially launches December 18 | PC Gamer

Kerbal Space Programs school-friendly version officially launches December 18 | PC Gamer.

It’s not surprising that the same company that is offering minecraft.edu is doing the same thing for Kerbal.  At least in my household they appeal to the same “customer”.  If you haven’t tried Kerbal I suggest looking around YouTube.  Part of the crazy fun is seeing rockets blow up.

The edu version looks like it might solve one of the main hurdles for students that aren’t willing or who don’t have the time to persevere in creating a viable rocket during the design phase.  Getting up into space is difficult so the edu version has some built in help that the regular Kerbal does not.

I’d love to hear from Idaho schools that try Kerbal or who have been using MineCraft.

Computer Science Education Week Dec 9-15, 2013 & #hourofcode activities

Activities planned for the week include lots of free coding (alice, scratch, javascript, python, iphone and others) tutorials that can be completed in one hour at http://csedweek.org/learn and as part of that http://code.org/educate/20hr has developed a free 20 hour course (lesson plans/videos) for Elementary and Middle Schools teachers/students.  Over 2 million students worldwide are already signed up and the week has yet to begin.  The tutorials and associated websites and/or downloadable programs will be available all year so teachers/parents can continue to use them into spring semester and summer school.  Many of the web-based tutorials can be completed on tablets.

This is a yearly event centered around the birthdate (December 9th) of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992).  A role model for women and men in computing & mathematics she was credited with popularizing the term “debugging”, wrote the first computer language compiler, and was instrumental in the development of the COBAL programming language (based in part upon the compiler she had invented).  See more at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper

If you are a teacher they gave away some prizes for signing your classes up.  If you are a parent and want to introduce programming this is a great way to start and older students can take classes on their own.  Most of the tutorials are available now and the site provides links to other free and appropriate learning sites.  For example www.alice.org has just released a programmable Garfield (cat comic) animation creator for middle and high school students to complement their programmable SIMs characters geared to the university setting.

I’ve been looking at coding sites for several years now and this www.csedweek.org  or www.code.org (they are the same) has the best variety and links.  The tutorials so far look great.  Make this your top stop if you are looking for coding training.

STEaM – The artistic component included in STEM jobs

When you are researching STEM subjects you will probably come across STEaM information as well.  The little “a” stands for “art & design” and for some policy makers it is a vital component in some STEM jobs and STEM education.  And like most everything else in education you will find a wide variety of both proponents and opponents to the idea of making art & design a vital part of STEM.

I’m not sure who is winning the battle but I think this blog post from a STEM/STEaM teacher illustrates some of the various ways it is being approached on the education side.

 http://www.middleweb.com/10412/rethinking-arts-stem/

 

On the job front for STEaM jobs I’ve posted below several recent examples of jobs in Idaho with both STEM and Art requirements.

 

Engineering Multimedia Developer

Our Boise Idaho office is looking for an Engineering Multimedia Developer to join our firm of professionals. In this mid-level position you will be responsible for multi-media content creation and 3D support of civil and environmental engineering projects. This includes but is not limited to animation photo-simulation and modeling. The position requires ability to work as a team member in a fast-paced high stress production pipeline environment as well as act as task lead running your own projects.

* Experience with Autodesk 3D Studio Max Blender Eon Vue Python MaxScript Virtual Design and Adobe Suites * Experience with Civil 3D Microstation or both * Mid to Expert level VRAY * Experience with BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) processes a plus. *4D Construction Sequencing and/or Android and IOS development experience a plus. * Four year degree (B.S. or B.A) or commensurate experience * Multi-disciplinary background a plus. * Resume and portfolio required

 

Promotion Coordinator 

Boise State University, powered by creativity and innovation, stands uniquely positioned in the Northwest as a metropolitan research university of distinction. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for the position of Promotion Coordinator.  The Promotion Coordinator will collaborate within the Student Affairs Marketing team to create effective communication pieces to promote programs and services to students of the university.  The position requires expertise in graphic design and marketing planning.

You will have the opportunity to:  (partial description)

A) Graphic Design  40%

  • Create design concepts within the guidelines of the Boise State University brand
  • Determine format, art work, photography, paper type, colors, typeface, typesetting specifications, ink selections, size, and finish
  • Estimate and report on project costs and production times
  • Coordinate departmental printing needs: acquire print bids, work with printer to assure quality, schedule and attends press checks when appropriate, and assist clients in reconciling invoices
  • Create illustrations, digital art, sketches, page layout, and related artwork
  • Utilize Mac Computer, flatbed scanner, digital camera, and other industry standard design equipment
  • Ensures that signage, print pieces, and web requirements meet the objectives and timing of the campaign
  • Manage multiple jobs with tight deadlines
  • Develop industry-leading marketing communications
  • Proactively address evolving marketing needs
  • Collaborate with and support web team in the design, development and maintenance of departmental web pages
  • Maintain electronic back-up files
  • Carefully review and critique all images and graphics used in marketing services to ensure standard of practice