Category Archives: Uncategorized

Saving Science And Technology – What Can You Do About It?

Science and technology is the backbone of world development. Countries that have enhanced science and technology are more developed compared to those that are yet to fully embrace it. This is the field that gives birth to the world’s most important innovations and inventions leading to solutions which make life better for everyone. Without science and technology, it would be practically impossible for the world to be where it is. However, education is important to bring this into realization. It is only through education that individuals get to know who they are, what they do best and what to do to rise to their full potential.

As a result of poverty, most children do not get the chance to rise even though they could be the world’s next innovators and inventors to offer more solutions to different kinds of situations. The lack of quality education comes in the way of the children and what science and technology can do for them. Less fortunate countries or third world countries have difficulties giving proper education to the children in the remote areas, yet there is a need to save science and technology for the sake of the future. Something can be done about this dire education need. Here is what you can do to make a difference:

Donate equipment: There are non-profit organizations brought together to offer education to the poor children through science and technology equipment. You can make your donations to such organizations to make it possible for the children to realize their dreams and become the professionals that can change the world. You can buy new equipment you wish to donate to the poor schools, give out your old equipment such as computers and laptops or work with the equipment lists given by the organization of your choice to purchase the equipment.

Make monetary donations: If you do not have any equipment that you can donate or you are not comfortable trying to purchase the needed materials, you can make monetary donations to the organizations. They eventually will use the money to buy the science and technology equipment schools need. They can include anatomy models, astronomy equipment and models, microscopes and physics kits among others.

Volunteer your time: Another good way of making a difference in the lives of needy children and in the process, saving science and technology, you can volunteer your time to work with the organizations. You can help in collecting the donated equipment and delivering them to the selected deserving schools. There are lots of stuff that individuals, groups and schools can do to assist the organizations reach their goals.

Apart from donating the equipment, making donations and volunteering time, corporate sponsorships can also greatly help in saving the future through science and technology. Other different kinds of services can be given for free. They can include starting a club, hosting competitions, free content writing and inspirational writing for the children as well as letting others know about such organizations and how they can help.

A School Trip From Bermuda Takes a Science Tour of Orlando

Often teachers will approach me with a general idea for a trip to a certain destination. I work closely with educators to customize tours that reflect their curriculum and provide fun and interesting sites on the itinerary.

Heather Stevens is school Coordinator for Overseas Educational Tours. She is a Para Educator for pre-kindergarten through fifth graders at Purvis Primary school in Bermuda. She needed guidance and ideas for an educational trip to Orlando. Stevens wanted her students to visit Walt Disney World, and engage in the study of science.

Walt Disney World in Florida has some excellent science-focused educational programs in their Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.). There are some specific programs geared towards the science student: Synergy in Science (Epcot Center), Wild by Nature (Animal Kingdom), Seaworld Education Program and Physics – Energy & Waves (Magic Kingdom). Disney World exhibits are used as examples of the direct application of technology and science. This hands on learning experience is fun and educational for students.

The Principal, Deputy Principal and teachers scheduled the student group for all of the programs mentioned above. Student favorites included Animation Magic, Physics – Energy & Waves and Animals of Florida. “The students have been learning about animals and their habitats,” commented Stevens, “and we have an annual science fair each February.” She continued, “the YES Programs about Everyday Chemistry and Physics were a great tie in for our students as well.”

Students also participated in the Synergy in Science Program at Epcot Center, where children are taught about the creativity and technology behind Disney’s entertainment programs. “The students were thrilled. Many spoke about their experiences in Epcot in their journal,” said Stevens.

Stevens feels the trip to Walt Disney World was a useful learning tool because:
a. Children are able to relate to hands on activities.
b. Students retain a lot of information given.
c. Many of the students enjoy the movement.
d. This type of experience taps into a variety of learning styles.

During the trip to Walt Disney World, students were asked to keep a reflective journal. When they returned to Purvis Primary school in September 2010, the writing was shared by students at “an assembly of the entire school, where they gave details about the trip and shared pictures,” according to Stevens.

Students are more likely to retain the information acquired during active learning experiences if they are told to record their thoughts in writing, or speak about them afterward.

When students presented their experiences to others, they said their favorite programs were Animation Magic – where they learned about how a haunted house works by going backstage. Many of the students also had positive thoughts on the Seaworld Education Program.

This February, the children have been busy with the Science Fair. And, although they may not take a school trip this June, Stevens said she would like to do so again in the future. “Working with an educational travel company helped us create the core learning experiences for the trip. We would not have been able to travel as a school without this component,” noted Stevens.

There are many different Disney Y.E.S. programs to choose from these days, as the educational series has expanded over the years. Some of the newer programs include: The American Story (history), Showbiz Magic at La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil an inside look at the Cirque de Soleil performers, Millenium Cultures (World Showcase), and Disney’s Leadership Excellence: The Inside Track. This is just a sampling of the many Y.E.S programs available to student travel groups in a variety of subjects.

The great part about scheduling a student group trip to Orlando to participate in Y.E.S. Programs, according to Heather Stevens, is “it’s educational fun for the adults as well.”

For more information on visiting Orlando with a student group, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Cut From the Budget – Pennsylvania’s Award-Winning Science in Motion

STEM makes headlines every day–a definite education priority from the highest levels of government on down. The goal: invigorate the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math in our middle and high schools and raise America’s academic standing in the world.

Like many others, President Obama has been quite vocal about the shortcomings of STEM teaching and our students’ lackluster testing performance, hence the government’s push for improvement. To that end, he has…

o Initiated an annual White House science fair.
o Launched his “Educate to Innovate” campaign, a nationwide effort to move America’s students up from the middle of the pack in math and science.
o Challenged scientists, engineers, educators, the private sector, and governors to join him in a national campaign to engage students in STEM fields.
o Given a competitive edge to states that commit to improving STEM education in his Race to the Top grant contest.
o Recently honored about 100 outstanding middle and high school math and science teachers from around the country at the White House.
o Applauded the grassroots National Lab Day initiative intended to revitalize science and math education and lead to increased American competitiveness.

And as he has said, “Passionate educators with deep content expertise can make all the difference, enabling hands-on learning that truly engages students-including girls and underrepresented minorities-and preparing them to tackle the ‘grand challenges’ of the 21st century, such as increasing energy independence, improving people’s health, protecting the environment, and strengthening national security.”

Despite such good intentions, however, there’s been no apparent trickledown effect when it comes to the award-winning Science in Motion program.

In 1987, a group of Pennsylvania teachers teamed up with Juniata College and the National Science Foundation to find a way to help high schools access the modern high-tech equipment they needed to prepare their students for STEM careers but could not afford.

Ever since, thanks to their efforts and a partnership of twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities, Science in Motion (SIM) has been providing the equipment, scientific personnel, and hands-on modern science and technology training our students need and should expect.

For instance, in Montgomery County, that service is provided by Ursinus College’s SIM program. Students in such districts as Norristown, North Penn, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Souderton, and Spring-Ford have all benefited. Just last week, seventh graders at Spring-Ford Middle School were trained on digital microscopes.

All this at no extra cost to the individual school districts.

Says Ursinus’s SIM Mobile Biology Educator, Ron Faust, “Science in Motion is simply a great way to improve science education in an incredibly cost-effective way. It gives teachers the tools and instruction they need to effectively teach their subjects… I have taught for 41 years in this area and have never found any program that was more effective in bringing students the joy and excitement that science offers.”

Sounds grand, doesn’t it? And yet…

Despite all the political talk about the need for exceptional science, technology, engineering, and math instruction, the axe has fallen on this unique-to-Pennsylvania, Governors Award for Innovation-winning program. After Saturday, February 6th, it all ends. Governor Ed Rendell saw to that when he cut all funding for Science in Motion–$1.9 billion-from the state’s budget and immeasurably set back STEM education throughout Pennsylvania.

The Absence of Science in Public Elementary School Curriculum

How important is a science education for your kids? Our public school system curricula are changing every day, and it’s usually not for the better. Understandably, government-backed schools who are graded on students’ proficiency in reading, writing and math put more of a focus on those subjects. More than ever, parents are turning to homeschooling to fill the gap left behind.

What Happened to Science?

There was a recent article in the news regarding elementary schools in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The topic was science curriculum, which has been reduced or even – in some districts – eliminated in favor of putting an educational emphasis on reading and math. According to the AP newswire published in the Lawrence Journal-World, “as many as one in five elementary teachers in Kansas and surrounding states are reporting science grades on student report cards, despite the fact that they don’t spend any time teaching the subject or testing pupils’ knowledge in it.”

What a travesty in terms of educational goals for our kids! This seems to be a trend not only in the Midwest but in public education districts across the nation.

The Importance of Teaching Science at Home

The good news, however, is that homeschool parents (and any other parents who are concerned about their child’s education) aren’t limited by this type of underfunding and overemphasis on everything but science.

In the National Academy of Sciences research paper, “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Core Ideas”, the importance of science throughout a child’s academic career is emphasized: “… integrating understanding the ideas of science with engagement in the practices of science and is designed to build students’ proficiency and appreciation for science over multiple years of school. We believe that the education of the children of this nation is a vital national concern. The understanding of, and interest in, science and engineering that its citizens bring to bear in their personal and civic decision making is critical to good decisions about the nation’s future.”

The best way to help your kids comprehend science and be ready for college level coursework is to use a consistent, building blocks approach across grades K-12. Teach your kids the basics at an early age, then build on that knowledge by continually introducing new topics. I recommend that kids as young as five start with chemistry and physics courses in order to best prepare them for biology, astronomy and geology in subsequent years. They need an explanation of core scientific processes early on to combat their previously formed and often erroneous interpretation of the world around them.

Our children need to be actively engaged in hands-on learning throughout their entire undergraduate school career and this is the best way to develop deep comprehension. We cannot simply skip science education in the lower grades but expect students, by their twelfth year, to suddenly gain a deep understanding of science in the hopes they will continue their education in college. Not only does this approach help with comprehension and extrapolation of scientific concepts, it aids students in creating an organizational learning structure that encompasses other subjects so they excel in all.

The fact that so many public schools are skipping science in favor of the subjects on which they will be graded is both depressing and catastrophic. As a country lagging behind in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) innovations, we need to encourage our children to embrace science. The earlier they learn real science and the more they continue their education, the better.