MIT Stem Pals
February 2014
Please forward this to friends and colleagues interested in STEM

Planning and Reflecting on Teaching: Is there Any Relief in Sight?
Irene Smalls Anyone who reads the education news these days or speaks with teachers knows that most teachers feel that they’ve been hit by a tsunami. The massive wave includes constantly changing teaching requirements, many stemming from Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. It also includes reduced budgets, managing quite heterogeneous classes, and a huge number of classroom hours per year second only to Chile, among all OECD countries. And, until recently, lessons preparation was a solo job, an artisanal craft industry activity, etched somewhere into private at-home hours after dinner and perhaps after the kids go to bed. No wonder 50% of schoolteachers abandon the profession within five years! The pressure is too great, the rewards – except of course for influencing the lives of young learners – too small. Read more.

If Robots Looked Like Barbie...
Irene SmallsAttracting 80% of girls and 99% of girls of color to STEM is not rocket science. Research shows girls and boys are equal in math and science ability. But, according to the 2012 100 Women Leaders in STEM report, only 1% of African-American and Latina women and 20% of White women earn bachelor degrees in engineering, computer science, and physics. Additionally, a 2013 Census report indicates the percentage of females in STEM careers is declining. Culture, not biology, perpetuates the low number of women in STEM. Let’s use culture to find solutions to this problem. Let’s analyze girls: 1. socialization patterns 2. market behavior and 3. feedback to develop female-friendly STEM education. Read more.


CPALMS: Rigorously Vetted Resources Serving Educators around the World
RazzoukCPALMS is an online toolbox of information, vetted resources, and interactive tools that helps K-12 educators effectively implement teaching standards. CPALMS provides access to thousands of standards-aligned, free, and high-quality instructional/educational resources developed specifically for the standards and vetted through a rigorous review process.

Resources on CPALMS are aligned with Florida’s teaching standards and with the Common Core State Standards. CPALMS has more than 7,000 published resources supporting the implementation of the math, science, and English language arts standards. Read more.

T-Summit 2014: Cultivating Tomorrow's Talent Today
Rick McMasterIn the June 2012 issue of MIT STEM Pals, I talked about the T-Shaped Professional, "T-shaped people are ready for Teamwork; they are excellent communicators, with real world experience; they are deep or specialized in at least one culture, one discipline and one systems area; but they have good teamwork skills interacting with others who are deep in other cultures, disciplines and systems.”

You'll find other descriptions of the professionals that we need in today's interconnected, changing world, π-shaped and comb-shaped. For a concise description of each of these, check out Iris Classon's Stupid Question 218 and a more in-depth discussion of the π-shaped in Bruce A. Vojak's Flatland: Its π‐shaped inhabitants. Read more.