MIT Stem Pals
March 2013
Please forward this to friends and colleagues interested in STEM

STEM Around the World
Dick LarsonFor those of you who do not know it, LINC 2013 is coming up: June 16-19 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. LINC is Learning International Networks Consortium founded at MIT 11 years ago. LINC brings together leading thinkers, practitioners and administrators of TEE (Technology-Enabled Education) from around the world, to share best practices, emerging ideas and difficulties in using technology to bring quality education to underserved populations. You may want to attend LINC 2013, and the early-bird reduced registration fee ends on April 7. Read more.

Charting an Engaging Path Forward for Technology Enabled Education
Mac HirdFor many educators, Technology Enabled Education (TEE) holds great promise to deliver high quality lessons at low prices (perhaps even free) all over the world. Today, however, even high quality examples of TEE are routinely criticized for poor pedagogical practices that aren’t particularly engaging for students.

To dig deeper into this criticism, I attended a lecture a week ago by Michelene Chi from Arizona State University in which she presented her research on student engagement in their classroom lessons. She has defined four classifications for how students can be observed to be engaged:

Passive – Learners are receiving instruction, and paying attention to that instruction, but not doing anything else overtly i.e. listening to a lecture without taking notes or watching a video or demonstration. This engagement typically results in minimal understanding of the material.

Read more.


A Brief Report from South by Southwest edu
Rick McMasterI had the opportunity to attend SXSWedu in early March. There was a lot to absorb in the three days from the opening session on Monday afternoon to the closing keynote from Bill Gates on Thursday morning.

First, a little background... many people still think of SXSW as a music and film festival, but it has grown to be much, much more. The creative aspect is still very much in evidence throughout all parts of SXSW. SXSW Interactive is “an incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity”. Just a little more than three years ago, SXSWedu was spun out of SXSW Interactive to specifically address innovations in learning. SXSWedu has grown almost tenfold since it started at the AT&T Conference Center at The University of Texas at Austin in 2011. Read more.

Making Solutions in a STEM Outreach Lab
Megan RokopIn my article last month (see the February 2013 issue of STEM Pals), I discussed the challenges of funding STEM outreach programs. This month, I strive to turn the issue on its head, and share the results of brainstorming possible solutions to these challenges. Before I begin, I offer a big thanks to all of my friends & colleagues who have joined me in a series of fascinating brainstorming sessions over the past few months. It was a fun and intellectually stimulating series of conversations, and I hope you the reader enjoy the products of our efforts. This will be a two-part STEM Pals series, with “Cutting Costs” and “Raising Money” discussed in March, and “Staffing Solutions”, “Sharing Means Saving” and “Partnerships Pay Off” covered in April. Read more.