Tuesday, May 6, 2008

STEM education

i had a conversation with a co-worker yesterday about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. i've been learning more about STEM in hawaii and how i can help. i wanted to share some postings with my co-worker that are related to STEM and even supporting UH, so i'll just put them all here:
  • interview with lynn fujioka
  • showing hawaii high school students cool tricks with the wiimote
  • lacy veach day of discovery
  • ics alumni association
  • making students awesome
  • ics alumni lunch
  • my talk at the honors program
  • why you need to do a honors thesis

    we had an interesting conversation about STEM. the bottom line is that Hawaii needs to put more kids into STEM programs. the problem, is that no one really knows how to get the kids interested. well, after i thought about it for a little while, maybe getting kids interested isn't really the problem.

    i just read this Computing Group Strives to Get Teenagers Into Computer Careers. there isn't anything of note in the article except this funny paragraph:

    The two-year project will use thousands of computer scientists, as well as parents, teachers, and counselors to spread the word that computer scientists work in a variety of settings, not just technology companies. The campaign also seeks to dispel the stereotype that computer scientists are loners and that the acumen required to tackle the field is too daunting.

    haha. thats funny. we are geeks (maybe not loners) and computer science is a daunting field. hm... maybe that paragraph isn't that funny after all. i'm not sure, the problem is solved by just getting more kids interested. i'm not sure the problem is solve by just getting more high school students to sign up from computer science courses. in my opinion, we'll have what we have now - a large percentage of the students flunking out of the intro level classes, when they realize that creating a video game is really really really really hard. maybe getting kids interested isn't the problem, maybe its keeping them interested, moving them forward, and preparing them for STEM at the college level. its easy to "spread the word", but its hard to sit there and teach, mentor, and provide real STEM education.

    UPDATE we had a big discussion about STEM at lunch today. one thing that came up was, hawaii doesn't seem to have enough demand for STEM jobs. where are all the engineering jobs in Hawaii? i have no idea. in fact, engineers these days probably make less money than engineers on the mainland and then there are the cost of living. hm... i don't know.. i guess the discussion basically led to us agreeing that we don't know what the goal for STEM is. is it to have more students go into STEM degree programs in college or is it to convert students that are college bound to STEM degrees, or is it something else? we have no idea. maybe i need to research that a little...
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