Every Student STEM

For Your Consideration

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Colorado Senate Education Committee

I was asked to submit a letter to the Colorado House Education Committee in support of two upcoming bills regarding technology education in public schools and career development courses for high school students. These two bills HB-1289 and HB-1291 would provide additional funding for students and teachers to gain tech expertise and opportunity while in school. I am a 2015 Colorado Educator Voice Fellow and have been actively involved in the legislative actions in education during the past year. Here is my letter: House Ed Committee Letter.

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Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston preps Educator Voice Fellows.

It was very exciting to hear that both bills passed with strong bipartisan support. They will be discussed next in the House Appropriations Committee to secure funding and then on to the Senate Education Committee. I have not been so intimately involved in the political process before, so it’s been great to have a front row seat and watch what happens in our state government. I was surprised to see how accessible the legislators and the system actually are to general public people like me. A refreshing take on what has always seemed to be a very complex and tedious activity.

I am grateful for the opportunity to draft the letter because it helped to solidify my own thoughts on a third article in a series that I am writing for edOS: A New Operating System for Education titled: Every Student STEM. Just a short recap for readers:

  • The Future Demands Idea Economy Students is the first article detailing information-economy vs. idea-economy education. We need to pivot the current model in order to produce graduates who will be future-ready for the 21st century workforce.
  • Confessions from DarknetED shares the perspective of a teacher in the trenches who describes what students need to be focusing on in the everyday classroom.
  • Every Student STEM is on the writing table and will speak from a business point of view about what skills employers want and need from graduates entering first careers. [Coming soon to a website near you!]

Consider for a moment this idea: Every student is a STEM student.

Read on.

Digital Natives

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Colorado State Capitol General Assembly

Every student is a STEM student. This is not to say that every student should choose a science career or that the arts have no place in schools. No.

Every Student STEM means that every young person in our school system today is a digital native—they have never known a world without internet. Everything about their lives has involved some form of technology and many educators believe this has profoundly changed the way children think, learn and process information. All their lives, these children have been developing a scientific, engineering mindset of logical reasoning and sequential thought processes to navigate even the simplest applications.

Witness a 2-year-old on a smartphone or iPad and you will see a young brain growing neural pathways through a trial-and-error process playing a game. This is a STEM student. This child will grow up in a world surrounded by rapidly-evolving technology and digital devices that will require a deeper knowledge base of STEM skills. Educators tend to hold fast to a stereotype of a traditional STEM student, but any young person who wants to keep up with his or her peers will continually develop STEM skills to learn a new smartphone app or video game. This is the inherent nature of a tech-based world.

This idea changes everything about what we know, think and do in EdWorld. That will be the work of the edOS event on June 4. It will be a think-tanking-design-thinking adventure to figure out some new ways to approach the everyday-in-the-trenches education experience. For students. For teachers. For parents. For administrators. For business leaders.

Spread the word. Join the conversation. Be a voice of change. To create a better product for the benefit of young people. All the details are HERE.

See you on June 4!