Summer of Learning

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Photo by Justin Caldarola on Unsplash

The summer is coming and school will be out. How will you continue to engage your scholar in learning? KDSL Global is highlighting five resources for families as they plan summer learning opportunities.

 

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The mission of Black Girl MATHgic is to inspire math confidence, strengthen math aptitude and develop math identity in girls. The Black Girl MATHgic Box is a monthly subscription box curated for girls on a 3rd-8th grade math level (regardless of their age); each box contains an engaging, real-world math activity booklet, 3-5 items to support the activities, an affirmation to inspire confidence, a profile of a black woman mathematician and a Caring Adult Guide.

https://linktr.ee/blackgirlmathgic?fbclid=IwAR3-WRhEf-7FjkUMzqzttCXEXDQVvTEyfzHGqDd1t0gxMU6pixvzbiQvQuI

 

Flurning

The FlUrNing® Learning Group, LLC provides face-to-face and online academic support to K-8 scholars as well as instructional support and materials to educators. By focusing on effective instruction, combined with innovative and creative delivery methods, FlUrNing strives to bring out the FUN in learning.  Our online platform is also available to connect with scholars all across the country. By putting the needs of the scholars first, we were created for one reason: ​save education by making learning FUN for once! ​

https://www.flurninglg.com

 

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Digital Storytelling Virtual Camps

During the virtual camp, students will create a digital story based on the theme of the week. Sign your kids up for one and all of our fun themes and enjoy.

The course will be conducted through a combination of email, video conference, and phone calls.  We’ll conduct the course over video conference and phone calls.

Digital Storytelling

 

 

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2LearnArabic is an online Arabic language school. The classes are held live in our innovative virtual classrooms using a smart application, and are taught exclusively by qualified, native speaking teachers. We offer one on one live interactive classes.

https://www.2learnarabic.com/about

 

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The mission of Fun Weird Science is to train K-12th grade students to be proficient in each component of S.T.E.A.M. through innovative instruction that will produce creative-minded and critical thinking participants in the global marketplace. They offer camps, kits, and virtual science experiences.

https://funweirdscience.com

 

What are your scholars doing this summer? What are some other suggestions you have for summer learning?

 

2019 KDSL Global Fellow Octevia Torian reflects on her experience

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We had a chance to connect with 2019 KDSL Global Fellow Octevia Torian and find out about her year as a fellow. She is from Virginia and has 15 years of experience in the education field. In the past she has served as an instructional coach, advisor and advanced academics resource teacher. Currently, Octevia is in her third year of working in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates with a focus on the Next Generation Science Standards, Project-Based Learning, STEM, drones and more.

Share your experience as a KDSL Global Fellow.

My experience as a KDSL Global Fellow was a great opportunity.  I knew I wanted to disrupt education in a creative way.  Kevin listened to “big goals” and he did not discourage me in working towards my goal. We worked on a plan to achieve the plan.  I shortly realized I needed to change my plan a little, and Kevin went with the flow.  He continued to encourage me and provide resources to help me move forward.  He supported me on social media and throughout my work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  He connected me to people in the UAE, and I was able to learn and grow from their advice.  Within a year, I accomplished so much as a KDSL Global Fellow.  The Teacher Table launched in 2019.  The Teacher Table is talk show on education.  The show discusses “Everything Education.” I am grateful for the opportunity to grow under the leadership of Kevin and as a KDSL Global Fellow. The Teacher Table is just getting started.  However, I am excited to meet other people within the education field and throughout the global community to discuss “Everything Education.”

 

 

Advice you would give to an educator looking for opportunities outside of the classroom.

To the educators looking for opportunities outside the classroom I would say start your business in education or in area you desire.  Write down your plan and take those initial steps. Check off each step as you go and then celebrate. When times get hard, go harder and push through.  It’s your breakthrough to the next level.  If you want to start your business or whatever it is outside the classroom, GO FOR IT!   Network and build relationships with people in education and find opportunities to network with people not in education.  Share your story. Share your passion.  Complete a vision board. Use a planner.  Do whatever it takes to make it happen.   But the main thing that worked for me was finding my squad who supported me and all that I am doing! Then ROCK IT!  Don’t worry about the onlookers. That’s their job!  Wave and keep striving for greatness.  You will win!!

 

What will you work on next?

That’s a good question. I know I want to continue to make videos for The Teacher Table on a regular based.  Now I am a certified Educational Success Coach and collaborate with educators on how they can reach their goals with fun and creative action plans.   This year and beyond I want to continue to present on STEM and build my teacher platform on education.  The next project is writing and publishing my first children’s picture book (with an interesting twist).  I am excited to see how and when this will happen.

 

 

To learn more about KDSL Global Fellow Alumni Octevia Torian check her out on social media.

Blog- inspired2coachblog.wordpress.com

Instagram- theteachertable

LinkedIn- Octevia Torian

Twitter- OcteviaT

KDSL Global interviews The GEMS Camp Founder Saki Milton

KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to connect with Saki Milton, Founder of The GEMS Camp.  The GEMS Camp, launched in summer 2010 as a free 6-week Saturday camp, preparing urban girls in grades 7 through 9 to be well-rounded, confident, and ready for college and beyond.  Since its inception, The GEMS Camp has been instrumental in inspiring more than 200 girls in STEM studies and is hosted annually at The University of North Texas at Dallas.

 

What was your inspiration to work in STEM?

As a secondary mathematics classroom teacher, every year I saw 1-2 kids in each class who actually wanted to learn. They were focused, studious, hard-working, and hungry for a challenge. Unfortunately, with the challenges many teachers like myself face in an urban classroom, those students are typically the ones who end up getting shafted. Large classroom sizes, disrespect, and lack of resources are issues an urban teacher faces on a daily basis. I know I did. My heart broke every time I saw a girl who reminded me of myself as a student, but wasn’t getting the quality education that every child should receive because I was too busy dealing with classroom management or catching up those who were 1-2 grade levels behind. Going home every night knowing that I wanted to do more led me to action.

In 2010, I was teaching at an IB school. I was so moved by my students’ personal projects that I decided to explore my own summer project to give back to those students in my neighborhood. That’s when I started The GEMS Camp. I started The GEMS Camp for the girls who are ridiculed for being smart. Girls who do everything they’re supposed to do, but have to stay in their environments just because they don’t have anywhere else to go. I wanted to give them what was given to me – a quality learning experience that made me curious about the world and compassionate about others in a safe environment. Over the years, my interest in STEM has grown as demands for the workforce have changed. I’ve realized the significance of preparing students for jobs of the future, especially problems facing the environment or those with disabilities.

I believe that the shortages in STEM fields can be filled by preparing more women, which currently account for about 13% of the U.S. STEM workforce. To do so, we need to prepare girls with knowledge and skills but also equip them with confidence to be successful in such fields. My involvement in the community led me to combine my background, experience and passion into forming a nonprofit organization. I encourage teachers to find ways to explore their talents and interests beyond the bell.

 

Tell us about the GEMS Camp

The mission of The GEMS Camp (Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science) is to build confidence in urban teen girls in grades 7-12 through five core areas called the 5 Karat Gems – Academics, Career, Creativity, Leadership, and Service– so that they will be successful in STEM studies and careers. The Organization’s vision is to change the trajectory of generational poverty for underrepresented girls’ families.

We teach girls how to be CREATIVE thinkers and communicators – a valuable life skill to help them break away from the pack. They learn LEADERSHIP strategies through a one-of-a-kind, research-based curriculum addressing specific needs of urban girls. Third, girls participate in SERVICE to help them internalize the value of giving back to a greater cause. The camp also prepares girls through ACADEMICS by using rigorous and engaging lessons and experiments led by highly qualified instructors. And finally, The GEMS Camp addresses CAREER opportunities to its participants by inviting local, successful STEM women to speak about their professions and personal backgrounds.

The program started in 2010 as a Saturday day camp servicing 30 rising 7th-9th-grade girls held at a public library in Dallas, Texas. Since 2017, the model has evolved to a one-week residential Summer Experience program held at the University of North Texas at Dallas. The program concludes with a Graduation Ceremony and Community Exhibition, recognizing girls for completion and achievements throughout the program. The GEMS Camp continues to gain momentum reaching more students while maintaining authenticity to its mission. To date, we have served roughly 400 girls, exposing them to more than 30 North Texas female STEM professionals representing major corporations and organizations such as IBM, Atmos Energy, Frito Lay/Pepsico, Mary Kay, Inc., Hilti, Texas Instruments, HKS Architects and more.

One of our greatest accomplishments is the expansion of our mission to include helping girls build global STEM networks through travel. In June 2018, eight high school girls traveled to Italy (Naples, Rome, and Florence) to explore the “M” in STEM, studying geometric concepts of ancient and modern architecture, technology, and engineering. June 5-15, 2019, ten girls will have the opportunity to participate in a culture exchange in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) with local female STEM girls, while the Dallas camp will be held, June 21-28, 2019.

 

What do you see as the future of STEM?

To address the whole child, The GEMS Camp program design is rooted in the latest STEM education research, primarily STEM Learning Ecosystems (SLE’s)and incorporates best practices for bringing minority and low-income girls into the STEM career pipeline. In the future, I foresee STEM education headed more down this path based on reports I’ve read. The phrase STEM learning ecosystem has emerged from early works of human development research. SLE models include children at the center influenced directly by other people (e.g., family, friends) and settings (e.g., schools, neighborhoods) and indirectly by their environment and culture. Students shape and influence their environment and narrative via connections with other learners, community representatives, and the broader scope of world culture. I believe more funding will shift towards collaborative partnerships that are operating with this model. The emergence of newer adaptations of STEM –STEAM and STREAM will continue to take place.

However, long-term sustainability of such concepts are dependent upon the global job market. All of the data still point to science, technology, engineering and math-based positions; not the arts – though I am a firm believer and supporter of the arts. Until we see extreme shortages and disparities in the arts, as it pertains to STEM, I am not fully convinced yet that STEM is on its way out nor STEAM has enough critical mass to sustain its current popularity. But, I could be wrong; I hope it is not a fad.

Unlike the early days of STEM where emphasis was on engineering and computer science, I do believe greater increase in the sciences –biology, environment, and chemistry — will experience tremendous growth as human impact, biological warfare, and medical care are becoming macro-economic issues for both government and private sector.

To learn more about The GEMS Camp visit:

https://www.thegemscamp.org

 

Saki Milton

 

Saki Milton is an experienced mathematics educator with more than 20 years in the education industry including adult learning, curriculum writing, coaching, market development, consulting, and most importantly eight years of classroom teaching. Passionate about STEM education, Saki is known for her extensive work in the U.S. by founding The GEMS Camp (Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics and Science), a non-profit organization whose mission is to build confidence in girls in grades 7-10 in five core areas called the 5 Karat Gems – Academics, Career, Creativity, Leadership, and Service – so that they will be successful in STEM studies and beyond. The organization has served more than 350 girls across Texas since 2010, partnering with major STEM employers such as BP Oil, Pepsico-FritoLay, HESS Corporation, and NASA to name a few. Saki has worked for Pearson Education Middle East as the U.S. Schools Curriculum Manager, delivering educator support to American international schools across the gulf region. Today, she is an independent international educational consultant working on worthwhile edTech and publishing projects globally. Saki holds a B.A. in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. in marketing from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

KDSL Global Fellows 2019

KDSL Global, based in the United Arab Emirates and in the United States, is pleased to announce our new fellows.  The fellowship will run from January-December 2019 with a focus on writing, leadership, and launching a new education idea.

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Octevia Torian is from Virginia and has 14 years of experience in the education field. In the past she has served as an instructional coach, advisor and advanced academics resource teacher. Currently, Octevia is in her second year of teaching in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates with a focus on the Next Generation Science Standards, Project-Based Learning, STEM, and teaching science at the middle school level.  She loves to bring real life experiences to the classroom for students and takes pleasure in seeing learners engaged in the classroom and applying their knowledge to everyday life. Octevia is a lifelong learner who is a member of professional development organizations such as ASCD and presents at education conferences. One of her latest projects involves initiating a pilot program at her school with Global Air Media, LLC. This program uses STEM curriculum to teach students about drone technology and entrepreneurship in the 21st century. At her school she leads a YouTube Club for students, a talk show for teachers, and is a co-host for a podcast called Dismissed.  She is a graduate from Averett University, Capella University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

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Sania Green-Reynolds is a Jamaican native who is living her dream of experiencing and contributing to education on a global level. She is an experienced and dynamic English teacher, curriculum, teaching and learning support expert, and believer. Sania has been teaching for 16 years (pre-training) and 11 years (post-training). She’s taught students (face to face) in Jamaica and the Caribbean, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and students of other nationalities in online forums, and hosts  personal and professional development workshops as well as speak at regional and international conferences. Over the years she has received various awards in education, which speak to her innovative and skilled approach to teaching and progressive student learning.

Sania is a best-selling co-author and a writer who has contributed to several international publications. She has been an inspiration to her students and colleagues alike. One of her books, The Self-Confidence Booster, was translated to Japanese to provide further inspiration and motivation to her students in Japan whom she believed could speak English more fluently if they were confident enough to do so. Sania has been awarded different awards such as English Teacher of the Month, Most Innovative English Teacher, Education Journal Middle East Teacher of the Week and recognized as the teacher with the highest NWEA MAP progress and attainment in her past school.

She believes in giving back to the community. As demonstrated by her work in community improvement and social work in education, which spans from the Caribbean to Africa and as a result, she is honored to be a Walden University Scholar of Change Awardee. She holds a 3-year Diploma in English Language and Literature Education, a B.Ed. in Elementary Education with 1st Class Honors, Certificates in TEFL, Supervisory Management and Coaching, and a M.S.Ed. In Educational Leadership and Administration with Honors.

 

Our KDSL Global Fellow at FLIBS

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a VERY rigorous programme for scholars at select primary and secondary schools. This programme’s international component is unique, but in a way that can be beneficial for today’s learners. This program has intentionally modeled the standard college experience. After the completion of this program, scholars earn advanced college credits and have the potential for scholarships. After receiving an invitation to be sent to training with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS), there was no way I could decline. In this blog post I will share with you my recent experience.

The first day of training was the most beneficial for me. This day was used for opening the floor for questions from my group. Our instructor would address each of our main concerns about the curriculum of IB. I have to make one small disclaimer as to why this worked for my group. The biology group was a small one, consisting of seven educators. This was the best part for me! It allowed the instructor to be more personal with our questions, comments, and concerns, which made it a more engaging and valuable. I’m sure that most people who love their content felt eager to expand their professional development making day one the most exciting. Day two was spent breaking down the three core elements that every scholar has to show mastery on in order to obtain the diploma. The three core elements are Theory of knowledge (TOK), extended essay (EE), and creativity, activity, and service, which is often referred to as CAS. The three core elements are similar to what you would see in college. For example, when I was a biology major during university the only “papers” I had to write were in my general education classes. My life was creating a schedule for myself to finish labs and the reports that went with them. Congruently, this is what an IB scholar would experience in their science content course. If you are immersed in the world of IB, then time management and organization is imperative. As per my instructor, not often does IB request certain material from you, but if you are audited, it is best to keep documentation on what is happening in your class. Day three was a half day to recap on anything that may have been unclear and to tie everything we had learned together in a way we can feel confident to implement IB practices in our classroom this fall.

Overall, I had a great experience at training! My instructor did a phenomenal job of pacing, integrating hands-on tasks, and clarity of explaining which really made me want to be invited into his classroom. In the future I hope to return to FLIBS for level 2-3 training.

 

Tiffany Johnson
9th Grade Biology Teacher
KDSL Global Fellow
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07 and @sayscienceTEM

Closing the STEM Gap

A new study called “Closing the STEM Gap” published in March 2018 by Microsoft surveyed more than 6,000 girls and young women on their interests and perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math. They found that girls lose interest in STEM careers as they get older. What can be done? The study cited recommendations to change this narrative. This included: role models and mentors, exposure to real-world examples of STEM, hands-on experience through participation in STEM-related clubs and activities, and encouragement from parents and educators could.

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently interviewed one of her students to find out her perception about STEM after attending Interactive STEM Development Seminar for Underrepresented Students hosted by the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago. This was an additional program Johnson, who is implementing the recommendations in the study, suggested to her students.

This purpose of the seminar was to introduce and expose students to STEM career options and provide hands on experience with real world topics and projects leading to the development of the students as future leaders in the STEM fields.

 

What are your feelings about STEM?

“I feel like STEM is great for all kinds of people.  It allows you to dive more in depth about the world, technology, etc.”

 

Do you see yourself as a person who would pursue a career in the STEM field? If so, which field and why?

“Yes, I see myself pursuing a career in sciences, specifically psychology or sociology, becaucareese I like to study the functions of the brain, the actions of humans, and why people do the things they do.”

 

What did you do at the STEM event you attended?

“At the event, I had to design a functional hand using cardboard, sticks, tape, and string.  I also made slime.  The instructors that were there were African American men who knew a GREAT deal about STEM.”

 

How would you describe your feeling about STEM? Are you intimidated? Do you feel like you would be supported as you pursue a career in this field?

“I am supported greatly by my family and different teachers who push me to join the STEM field.  My feelings towards the STEM field are that I think it offers different opportunities to different types of people to work in an advanced field.  Also, I feel like being a part of this field, I would be able to represent African-Americans in a positive way.”

 

To learn more about Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation visit https://www.weefchicago.org/

 

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Meet Janessa, a high school scholar interested in STEM and recent participant in the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago.

STEMCON 2018

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Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently attended the STEMCON conference in Chicago, Illinois. STEMCON is a platform for STEM educators and administrators from all around the nation to share their best practices. Below is a reflection on her experience as a first time participant.

Year after year, STEMCON is where all STEM educators want to be. Just to put things into perspective, STEMCON is like the Coachella for all things STEM. From the moment I walked in, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Upon arrival, I noticed Dr. Carolyn Hayes, the former president of National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), sitting amongst several of her colleagues. I was instantly star-struck! After setting my obnoxiously large teacher bag down, I wasted no time to introduce myself to Dr. Hayes. Dr. Hayes has an energetic personality that is highly contagious and seeing a woman achieve the “Lifetime STEM Leadership” award was very inspirational. After breakfast & coffee, the stage was graced with the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, Shaesta Waiz. Ms. Waiz has an amazing story, and a unique purpose that motivates her in the work that she does.

After breakfast, there were numerous breakout sessions that I attended throughout the day, such as Innovative Ways to Sustain STEM Interest and Career Paths for Girls, Bringing the Outside In: Making an Ecosystem in a Bottle, and last but not least, How Hip-Hop Music and Culture can Bridge the STEM Gap for Underrepresented Populations. There was not enough time for me to attend all the sessions, but I did make connections with the presenters of the sessions I did not attend.

Being a person of color in STEM, I am constantly questioning myself about how do I influence students that look like me, to be like me. At STEMCON I was exposed to many different versions of what STEM looks like for different people. One of the sessions I attended talked about connecting STEM to the culture of Hip-Hop and broke down the science behind the movement. After getting the opportunity to bounce ideas off of the presenters, Darlyne de Haan and Damiso Josey, we agreed to continue the conversation even after the event and beyond!

I departed STEMCON feeling inspired, educated, connected, and supported which are all the reasons why I would recommend this conference to anyone in STEM.

P.S. – Among the many lessons I learned at STEMCON, one of the top lessons I learned was don’t be afraid to ask people for a picture! This is the only picture I have of myself at STEMCON. Thanks to the photographer.

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Tiffany Johnson learning more about STEM.

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Dr. Carolyn Hayes receiving the Lifetime STEM Leadership Award.

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Shaesta Waiz, the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft

 

To learn more about Tiffany visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/kdsl-global-fellows-2/ and STEMCON visit www.stemcon.net.

 

 

 

KDSL Global Fellows

KDSL Global, based in the United Arab Emirates and in the United States, is pleased to announce our new fellow.  The fellowship will run for one year with a focus on writing, leadership and launching a new education idea.

 

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Tiffany Johnson was born in Chicago and raised in the south suburbs where she attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School.  After graduation, she attended Illinois State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During her time there, Tiffany joined The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, which was an organization that linked her with minorities in the STEM fields and awarded her scholarships and mentorship opportunities. Her interest in teaching began in high school and carried her away to her favorite place, New York!  Tiffany taught 6th grade science to a group of brilliant boys in the historic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) Brooklyn. She is excited to return back to her roots in Chicago where she teaches 9th grade Biology in the south side neighborhood of Auburn Gresham.  She looks forward to bringing her skills to ensure there is a strong culture of achievement and a fearless interest in the STEM fields.  In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys traveling, Netflix, reading, and spending time with her son and friends.

Encouraging students to consider a career in teaching STEM*

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Profile on Julio Mendez: Science teacher, lifelong learner, and founder of the STEM Education Introductory Program

As well as being a busy Physics and Chemistry teacher in Chicago, Julio Mendez has founded the innovative STEM Education Introductory Program – it gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credit through a series of lectures and hands on teaching practice at a local middle school. We ask him all about the project, and how it came about.


You are a science teacher – where do you teach, and what led you down the path of both STEM and teaching?
 

I teach Physics, Chemistry and the Education 101 class at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin Campus, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. I also teach Engineering courses (Project Lead The Way curriculum on Saturdays) through Project SYNCERE. This is a non-profit in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Teaching is a second career which found me more due to circumstance than through any active effort. I had returned to school for a Physics degree and was looking for a part time job when my wife suggested I look into Project SYNCERE. I decide to go interview and try it, and the rest is history, as they say. I fell in love with the kids’ ability to look past all the crap they are dealt and still seek knowledge. Having been raised on Chicago’s south side and dealing with a lot of the social issues they are living with made me relatable and my natural sarcastic demeanor and ability to look past slights allowed me to create good relationships with the students. I saw at once that this is where I needed to be and then I just found ways to keep pushing myself to learn, grow and sharpen my craft.

The STEM part is easier to explain: I’m a nerd. I love science and all that it tells us about the universe, I always have. I also understand the need for our communities to be better represented within these fields. We have been neglected for a long time and those who looked away are now realizing that they will need us in order for the world to continue its progress.

 

What inspired you to set up this program encouraging high school students to consider a career as science teachers?

When I was considering become even just a part time teacher, I started looking into the profession and the history of teaching and learning. I came to the realization that education is one of the oldest forms of community building that there is. Until recent human history, we have learned everything from the previous generations in our communities. From hunting and gathering, to planting and growing and so on, we learned it all from our elders, who did it before us and learned it from their elders.

When the opportunity with the Shell Oil Company and the Smithsonian Science Education Center and their call for applications came to my attention I knew the solution had to come from within the community, to create a new lineage of education. There is also a long tradition of finding “fixes” for our communities from outside, as if we hadn’t the talent or abilities to be the solutions ourselves. I have seen our children do some incredible things and come up with some huge ideas that would amaze the greatest thinkers, but because they don’t show high scores or even high rates of high school graduation, their ideas and grand thinking and potentials aren’t acknowledged.  Given all this I knew that the solution to a lack of science teachers of color had to come from our own ranks, the students of color. It was just a matter of convincing the kids they could be the solution and that being a teacher is a viable career (harder than it seems) and convince all the powers that be, this is a viable solution (harder than it should be).

 

Could you describe your aim in setting up the Education 101 program? Who is it designed for and what will they learn?

The biggest aim for the program is to give students of color the opportunity to see themselves as STEM subject teachers. Let them see a side of teaching that they don’t get to see; mostly because they have a very different experience with the teaching profession. They do not have the opportunity to see a lot of themselves in these roles, so they can’t identify with the profession. They just need to see they can and some might.

The students in the class are exposed to the history of education in the country, including the injustices our communities have gone through, the  definition of what a STEM teacher needs to be, exposure to informal science education, observing teachers, the complexity of the classroom, the preparation for lessons, reading and writing college level papers. This will be set around Socratic discussions and group projects that will be catered to the students’ abilities and raising expectations at every turn.

Was the creation of your program partly in response to the lack of diversity found in the teaching profession?

The creation of the program most definitely has to do with the lack of diversity in teaching. It is very difficult to be a teacher of color within a system which serves mostly students of color and yet we are an overwhelming numerical minority, especially in the STEM subjects.

 

A Student’s Perspective: Here’s what one of the course participants, Jada Woodard, has to say about the Program

Why did you apply?

I applied to the Education 101 course because I am thinking about being an educator. I thought it would give me the upper hand when I do attend college to study education. In addition, I wanted to find out if it was really something that I wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about the course?
The best thing about the course is that I am able to learn about the previous educational system, the current educational system, and the future of the educational system. I love that I am able to give my perspective as a student while learning the perspective of a teacher. We are able to talk about topics within the educational system that others aren’t willing to talk about, students of colors and teachers.

What’s the hardest part of the course?
The hardest thing about the course is actually putting yourself in the shoes of an educator. My student mindset slightly limits my ability to think like an educator. It is something that we as a class are working on to do.

What are you learning right now?
At the moment, we are learning how to effectively make lesson plans. In a month or sooner, we will able to teach this lesson plan/activity to a middle school class using the five aspects of an effective classroom that we have learned.
I think the reason there are not many STEM teachers of color is because of the lack of knowledge and resources. I think that in some schools STEM is a luxury. Although we do get taught science and math, it’s not taught or introduced in a way that makes it relevant to engineering and technology.

 

To learn more about the STEM Education Introductory Program contact Julio Mendez at jmendez@pcsedu.org.

 

*STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Makers Builders: Inspiring Creativity

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Makers Builders is a program that trains young people in the field of technology. I had the chance to interview Amir Yazdanpanah, founder and CEO, and asked him some questions about his company’s focus and direction.

 

How important do you believe these technology skills are to the growth of the next generation?

Technology and science continue to play a rapidly growing role when it comes to everything that consumers purchase and corporates create. Therefore future jobs will require a skilled workforce that is not only able to use technology but also knows how to create and innovate with it.

 

Are there any advancements or new technologies you wish to incorporate into your program such as VR?

The phenomenally fast-paced advancements in 3D printing, coding, robotics, VR/AR, smart devices, machine learning and so on is putting stress on traditional education and teaching methods as well as curriculum content. This new generation needs to be learning a lot of new skills in order to be ready for the next generation of jobs in 5 to 10 years. We strive to develop engaging “digital making” programs and courses that can capture the interest of children at an early age and encourage them to pursue learning paths in STEM.

 

What is the most important aspect to you about your programs: the fun, the education or being family oriented?

We try to make our program seem like “Edutainment” – we want it to be fun and engaging while educational at the same time. For example, coding is learned by doing. Students get to learn coding by building programs that change games they already play and are very attached to. We want to make them aware of and excited about the possibilities at their fingertips so that they be easily empowered to create. Learning about fundamentals, concepts and architecture comes with age-appropriate programs.

For more on Makers Builders visit:

http://www.makersbuilders.com/
https://twitter.com/makersbuilders
https://www.facebook.com/makersbuilders/

 

 

Matthew Diprose
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: KDSL Global