Getting Into the STEM Game ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)


Broadening Engagement, Reaching the Underserved

Get Into the STEM  Game with the Use of Transformational Learning Resources, Community, Cooperation and Collaboration with those in the know this was an idea I had from working with researchers, professors, teacher educators and other teachers but working with the Supercomputing EOT Outreach and the Teragrid Teacher Day a friend and I had a great idea we could expand what we had learned working with Scott Lathrop.

We could reach the under served in lots of areas where there was a conference. Digital Divide you say? Yes it still exists. We could broaden engagement. We had a model.

HISTORY

Digital Divide Reality, Fact or Fiction:

How do we meet the challenge?

The concept of the Digital Divide has grown out of the concerns for equity and access to all forms of technology for people across this country. These concerns have been echoed throughout the decades of the 1980’s and 90’s, and is a dilemma that’s now very prevalent in the 21st century. In the 90’s, the US Department of Commerce, the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration (NTIA), The Benton Foundation, the Civil Rights Forum, the National Urban League, the Digital Divide Network and others began to monitor the ability for all people in the Unites States to have access to technology in schools and homes. The results were very revealing. They identified that there was a gap between the technology “haves” and the “have-nots,” and that the gap was growing each year. This gap was identified under social economic descriptors, across ethnic backgrounds, education level, language, and demographic location (rural, suburban, or urban).

We could talk about Broadband and create an awarness of the national discussions going on about Broadband.

We wanted to also address the fact that most people don’t know the real status of broadband in America. This is important because some of the people we will reach are rural and distant and broadband is not available to them. We decided to explain it to them as a part of outreach and to make them activists in the desire for broadband in their communities.

In the US, over 100 million individuals representing over 40 million households do not use broadband because they cannot access it, cannot afford it, do not know how to use it, or are not aware ofits benefits. This “digital divide” is costly not only for the digitally excluded but for businesses, government, and the nation as a whole. In response, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue to Congress a National BroadbandPlan, which “shall seek to ensure that all people of the US have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.

The “digital divide” that persists in Internet use based on income, education and community means people are not acquiring the digital fluency that is required to operate in to-day’s world.

What if we shared the resources to the people who could not go to the ISTE conference in the geographic area of Colorado with Denver as the base?

We had NO money but lots of ideas. I had worked in Colorado and had some contacts. I had been inspired by the teacher level resources of the I-Test Program.

I wondered how we create the interest and know how to share with those who may not have a working knowledge of the communities, ways of collaborating and the connections to their own classrooms and or learning communities. I know that the SETDA groups had STEM resources and powerpoints , and with Marc Prensky and others in serious games I could provide a rationale to provide games for learning. The resources of the George Lucas Foundation were there for those who took the time to look, so we cooked up the idea. There were NCWIT people in the neighborhood and there was the National Lab Day initiative. How could we put this all together?

Joyce Pittman had used the city of Philadelphia as a background to show why the digital divide group needed their own SIG at ISTE.  She worked with the mayor of Philadelphia to organize. I took her lead, but worked with a young man from the business and industry side of Denver.
Eli Regalado.. it was on we were going to reach the under served and connect them with some of the powerful people, ideas, and initiatives that may make a difference in the lives of their students.

The Conference Divide – It is Economic

Living in Washington DC, I often know about conferences that I cannot pay to attend thought I may have attended them in the past. My friends taught me that some conferences have a one day pass for teachers, and other friend taught me to go have lunch with the people who were at the conference if I could not attend.( or to sit in the bar)

The EOT people at Teragrid helped me to organize resources to share with teachers on a special teacher  bridge day and the idea came to me about reaching the under served teachers, parents and community who may not know about STEM , that is learning Science, Technology Engineering and Math as a focus of learning.

. A young man from the Denver community reached out to me in Facebook. The planning began.

I have to say that using Facebook, email, and a wiki and conference calls is three times the work.  Most of the time it was fun. Here are the questions we wanted to answer, and address with our day.The “digital divide” that persists in Internet use based on income, education and community means people are not acquiring the digital fluency that is required to operate in to-day’s world.

There is an educational divide too. If you think of the places in which people work there is often a divide in the economics of the place,  and the depth of education of the place.

Questions to ponder?

1.    Who are the underserved in STEM nationally, locally and how can we broaden engagement in STEM?(  what is broadening engagement)

2.    What professional development activities / supports  real transformational change for teachers?

4.    How can we inform the learning community about successful projects in meaningful ways?

6.    What national projects show great promise and are scalable in the various areas of STEM?

7.

8.    What cybertools, and online resources are available for teachers that make a difference?

9.     How do we involve the leadership in school systems ?

10.

11. Who are people involved in STEM who can be mentors, or peer resources for schools and communities?

Digital Divide Reality, Fact or Fiction:

How do we meet the challenge?

The concept of the Digital Divide has grown out of the concerns for equity and access to all forms of technology for people across this country. These concerns have been echoed throughout the decades of the 1980’s and 90’s, and is a dilemma that’s now very prevalent in the 21st century. In the 90’s, the US Department of Commerce, the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration (NTIA), The Benton Foundation, the Civil Rights Forum, the National Urban League, the Digital Divide Network and others began to monitor the ability for all people in the Unites States to have access to technology in schools and homes. The results were very revealing. They identified that there was a gap between the technology “haves” and the “have-nots,” and that the gap was growing each year. This gap was identified under social economic descriptors, across ethnic backgrounds, education level, language, and demographic location (rural, suburban, or urban).

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