Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders are the Innovators of Today

 

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s premier venue for innovation and breakthrough technology. Last week, three teams of Las Vegas high school students competed in the Student Business Pitch Competition finals on the CES main stage, beating out 15 other teams. The finalists wowed the judges with their entrepreneurial STEM-driven ideas designed to support their peers become tomorrow’s innovation leaders.

The participating students, all of whom completed CTA’s Future Innovators digital entrepreneurship program, pitched ideas ranging from an app aimed at helping students manage stress, to an affordable laptop-size screen that mirrors a smartphone and allows users to more easily type documents and perform research. The grand prize went to a team of three young women from Cimarron Memorial High School who created Conditional Cube, a novel invention that encourages students to learn coding in a fun, more interactive way. They intentionally geared their product towards elementary school-aged students to expose coding fundamentals at an early age and help alleviate the STEM skills gap.

“People need to understand how to use technology, but also create and manipulate it,” said Conditional Cube team member Ajaya Branch. According to their research, a recent Gallup survey states that nine out of ten parents want their kids to learn programming because it teaches logic, problem solving, and creativity, and can lead to a better career in the future.  But most parents lack the skills necessary to teach their kids these skills, and most schools do not specifically teach computer programming. With their invention, customers can code their cube to perform a variety of tasks based on personal interests, such as sending an alert when the garage door opens. The cube simplifies coding in a more digestible, enjoyable way and allows parents to be involved in the learning experience.

For these students, the opportunity to complete CTA’s Future Innovators program, develop a business pitch, and compete at CES has already had a profound impact on the way they think about business. The pitch competition judges were so impressed by the three teams that they offered to  provide continued mentorship and help bring their ideas to market. It’s only a matter of time before these Future Innovators join the workforce and help steer the innovation economy.

Educator Spotlight Video Series: Glenn M. Gamble

Our network of K-12 teachers is EVERFI’s heartbeat. That’s why we’ve launched Educator Spotlights: Stories from the Classroom. Every couple of months, we’ll invite you inside the classrooms of inspiring educators to get a glimpse into how and why they keep doing what they do. Enjoy!

My ninth grade Computer Applications student, Emmanuel, said “…I never knew about STEM until I came into your class. I didn’t know how fun it would be to learn and it has opened my mind to a future career in the STEM field.”


Teacher:  Glenn M. Gamble

Subject:  Comprehensive Business Teacher, Grades 8 & 9

School:  Orange Preparatory Academy, NJ

Resources:  Future Goals – Hockey Scholar, Endeavor STEM Career Exploration, FutureSmart, Character Playbook


Glenn M. Gamble is an EVERFI power teacher from New Jersey who took the time to share insights from his vast experience using EVERFI courses with his grade 8 and 9 students at Orange Preparatory Academy. Watch his video above and read on below for an inspiring glimpse into Glenn’s classroom.

What caught your attention about EVERFI’s digital resources and made you decide to try them out with your class?

I first became aware of EVERFI resources when I attended the 2016 NJEA Teachers Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. I was amazed at the interactivity for the students and the reporting analytics for the teacher. The icing on the cake was the certificates for students when they completed a learning module.  I was also impressed with the online resources for lesson plans and curriculum guides; this made the integration of the learning management system very smooth for classroom use.  Another feature that attracted me to EVERFI was the relevance of material to the needs of millennial learners, their lessons focused on the issues faced by today’s learners.

How has your overall experience been?

My experience with EVERFI’s resources has been so rewarding that I embarked on earning two of their Micro Credentials: Certified FinEd Teacher and Certified STEM Teacher; beginning the spring of 2018, I’ll become a facilitator for their Micro Credential Cohorts.

What do your students like most about the resources?

My ninth grade Computer Applications student Emmanuel said “…I never knew about STEM until I came into your class. I didn’t know how fun it would be to learn and it has opened my mind to a future career in the STEM field.”  ALL of my students love receiving their personalized certificates when they complete a module; some of my ELL learners call their certificates a diploma, something they’ve never received prior to becoming my student.  These reflections engrave a lasting legacy on my time, effort and energy invested into my classroom.

What is one piece of advice you would pass on to teachers using this resource for the first time?

One piece of advice I would offer to teachers using Future Goals – Hockey Scholar or other EVERFI resources for the first time: create the class on your dashboard and let the students jump in!  Be their coach, mentor and guide, let them enjoy the resources, this will allow you the opportunity to differentiate and model for students who need your time and guidance. Have additional resources ready to go for the students who grasp concepts faster than others. Give them the vocabulary list with the course code and let them explore!

Would you like to share anything else about your experience?

When an administrator walks into my classroom and views all the certificates from various modules in EVERFI posted on the walls and boards, they know without a shadow of doubt that learning is taking place and students are succeeding.  One thing I’ve learned from the certification celebrations, kids love to eat and will never turn down food! Thank You EVERFI for your commitment to an urban educator like me and providing the opportunity to open new doors and expand the minds of my students.

       Learn more about Future Goals – Hockey Scholar

Learn more about Endeavor – STEM Career Exploration

Want to share a story from your classroom? Reach out to Lisa at ljwright@everfi.com.

Watch Carrie’s  Rx Abuse Prevention Video.

Watch Kitty’s Digital Citizenship Video.

Educator Spotlight Video Series: Kitty Herbel

Our network of K-12 teachers is EVERFI’s heartbeat. That’s why we’ve launched Educator Spotlights: Stories from the Classroom. Every couple of months, we’ll invite you inside the classrooms of inspiring educators to get a glimpse into how and why they keep doing what they do. Enjoy!

“What my students like most about Ignition […] is that it ties into real life. It’s things that they’re experiencing right now.”


Teacher:  Kitty Herbel

Subject:  Computer Science, Grades 6-8

School:  Dewitt Waller Junior High School, OK

Resource:  Ignition – Digital Literacy & Responsibility (Grades 6-9)


Dewitt Waller Junior High School educator Kitty Herbel uses Ignition – Digital Literacy & Responsibility to teach her class about responsible digital use. She uses in-class discussion to draw connections between the topics covered in Ignition and what students are experiencing on a daily basis, like texting and cyberbullying. Kitty likes that the lessons are self-grading and that they tie into standards that are easy to align using the additional resources provided in the teacher resource center. 

From your EVERFI teacher dashboard, you can access additional resources to complement the online lessons in Ignition, such as discussion guides, lesson plans, and a vocabulary bank.

Learn more about Ignition – Digital Literacy & Responsibility

Want to share a story from your classroom? Reach out to Lisa at ljwright@everfi.com.

Watch Glenn’s STEM video.

Watch Carrie’s Rx Abuse Prevention video.

Educator Spotlight Video Series: Carrie Snyder-Renfro

Our network of K-12 teachers is EVERFI’s heartbeat. That’s why we’ve launched Educator Spotlights: Stories from the Classroom. Every couple of months, we’ll invite you inside the classrooms of inspiring educators to get a glimpse into how and why they keep doing what they do. Enjoy!

“Be sure to know your student audience. If there are any particular concerns, have available [additional] resources where you can direct students to get help if they need it for themselves or their families.”


Teacher:  Carrie Snyder-Renfro

Subject:  Family Consumer Sciences & Career Technology Education, Grades 7-12

School:  Oklahoma Centennial High School, OK

Resource:  Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention (Grades 9-12)


FCS and CTE educator Carrie Snyder-Renfro is using EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention resource with her high school students and finds them deeply interested in the issues covered throughout the program. Here, she shares what her students like best about the resource and how she complements the online program with offline resources to make sure that students and their families feel supported and have access to the information they need to make informed decisions.

Learn more about Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Want to share a story from your classroom? Reach out to Lisa at ljwright@everfi.com.

Watch Glenn’s STEM video.

Watch Kitty’s Digital Citizenship video.

STEM Connections – The Intersection of Context and Careers

Why does STEM inspire some kids (like our friends from Stranger Things) and other students dread walking into their math and science classes? Who is actively charting a course for the jobs of tomorrow and who feels like that is not their “thing”? Our latest insight report STEM Connections – The Intersection of Context and Careers provides some additional insight into answering these complicated questions.

The strength of a student’s “STEM context” was a strong indicator of whether or not students felt confident and were excited to pursue STEM career opportunities. The good news is that a student’s STEM context, as we defined it, is reliant upon how a child’s parents and teachers promote, encourage and make more visible STEM career opportunities. When compared to students with a low STEM context, students with a strong STEM context were…

  • Four times as likely to say that they were the type of person who can have a STEM job.

AND

  • Nine times more likely to think that there are STEM jobs that they would like to have.

Many teachers are finding our newest STEM resource, Endeavor, as a helpful tool to ensure a greater number of students have a strong STEM context. How are you ensuring that all students, regardless of background or academic ability have a strong STEM context? We’d love to hear from you, so join the conversation in the Connected Educator Facebook group!

 

 


 

Steve Sandak is a member of EVEFI’s Research team. His work focuses on the impact of our K-12 learning platform. Steve is a former high school educator, and is based in our Boston office.

A Nationwide Look at Middle School Students’ Sense of Belonging

Researchers have identified a strong sense of belonging to one’s school community as a key indicator of future success in and out of school. So how many students feel that strong sense of belonging, and what are the implications of that lack of connectedness? Our newest insight report, The Importance of Belonging, helps us explore this complex and critical question.

Our partnership with the United Way Worldwide, NFL and Verizon gives us the chance to reach tens of thousands of students through Character Playbook. The course surveys provide us a deeper understanding of students’ sense of belonging and also helped us identify additional characteristics that students who don’t feel that strong sense of belonging possess.

Our analysis uncovered some really interesting findings:

  • 29 percent of students report a weak or negative sense of belonging to their school community
  • There was a positive linear correlation between students who felt less connected and their likelihood to help others and treat people with respect.
  • Students who felt a weak or negative sense of belonging were less likely to identify and intervene in abusive or unhealthy relationships.

We know educators work tirelessly every day to create safe, joyful, and inclusive learning environments where all students feel a strong sense of belonging. We take an enormous amount of pride in supporting thousands of schools’ social-emotional learning work through the implementation of Character Playbook. This report confirms previous research that says these efforts are critical to students’ long-term success and are worthy of further support and evaluation.


Interested in building a stronger sense of belonging amongst your students? In addition to checking out Character Playbook, here are some additional strategies that can help you with this work:

  • Through the clear articulation of a shared language and terminology, a school can help students understand what the school’s core values mean in everyday behavior and grasp the reasons why some behaviors (e.g., doing your best and respecting others) represent good character and are valued while their opposites do not (Character.org).
  • Consider “Warmth and Support” Practices. Warmth and support refer to the academic and social support that students receive from their teacher and from their peers. The teacher creates a classroom where the students know that teachers care about them. Teachers can demonstrate that they care about their students by asking students questions (academic and non-academic), following up with students when they have a problem or concern, providing the teacher’s own anecdotes or stories, and acting in ways in which students know that taking risks and asking questions are safe in the classroom (CASEL/American Institutes for Research).
  • Integrate school climate and our social-emotional learning data with existing work. By leveraging instructional data and survey responses alongside suspension rates, absentee frequency and academic performance, educators can better identify and understand the breadth of the school connectedness challenges their students face (National School Climate Center).

 

 


 

Steve Sandak is a member of EVEFI’s Research team. His work focuses on the impact of our K-12 learning platform. Steve is a former high school educator, and is based in our Boston office.

November in Canada is Financial Literacy & Career Month

Happy Career Development Month! This month, we are highlighting resources…