Mar 11

New Technology & Access- The Gap Widens

As we continue to churn out technological solutions and innovations to redefine the classroom a dilemma of including technology and key workforce skills while increasing the technology gap continues to present itself.

SXSWedu kicked off in Austin last week, highlighting some of the great educational technology initiatives and projects including the release of the new Amplify tablet. The tablet provides resources for students such as Common Core aligned homework help and multimedia as well
as tools for teachers and principals to improve instruction. The tablet is relatively inexpensive, a step in the right direction, yet a student still needs Internet access another expense.

As we move to such a heavily technology reliant workforce the demand for this usage in and out of the classroom is increasing.  A recent study from Nielsen highlights how we are globally using our cell phones to gain information and navigate our day-to-day. While a recent Pew report examines the increasing gap in access to technology. The question remains how to continue to be innovative in instruction, include technology but also not leave an entire group of students behind based on access.

Dec 10

Workforce and the Skills Gap- Bringing Ed and Workforce together

With the recent release of the McKinsey Report Education to Employment – Designing a System that Works, the discussion continues to be how academia is interfacing with the business community. Armed with some data around the bridging of post-secondary to a career the need for more opportunities to collaborate are clear and further underscore those such as Google, NASA, the University of Colorado among others who are looking to make the employment connection while students are still in school. Another example of the opportunity to inform both worlds is the innovative Studio H project which is utilizing design principles to educate under served youth through hands on projects that revive the local community. The question remains how else can these types of dialogues and partnerships be brokered in an effort to create a pipeline to sustainable, meaningful skill attainment and employment.

Oct 03

Innovation, Ed & The Fed: STEM & Innovation in Tech & Entrepreneurship

A newly forged partnership is utilizing education space in an innovative way; the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is making an unprecedented move in setting up an office on a university campus. Cornell is the new location for what Cornell President David Skorton is calling a "one-stop innovators resource center to make it even easier for New York’s tech entrepreneurs to start business and bring ideas to market.” The hope is to generate innovation and productivity in the technology sector and in creating this accessibility to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office hopefully spur resulting economic growth.   The  emphasis on engaging individuals in the technology field begs the question of how do we ensure individuals and especially youth are prepared to participate in this industry- STEM.

STEM has been a skill set that has been highlighted over the past few years.  The discussion has progressed however beyond the skill set itself to who is participating in this field and how the skills are translating into programs of study, career opportunities and sustainable wages. A recent report by the National Governors Association addresses the multiple benefits seen by attainment of STEM subject matter and skills.  "Building a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Agenda"  discusses these benefits which include having a powerful skill set to draw upon to navigate the education and workforce landscape as well as leading  to multi-sector (not just STEM related) sustainable career options and wages.

In terms of participation we know that women are under represented despite the recent headlining females who have taken leadership roles at Yahoo and IBM .  A recent op-ed in Mashable touches on these wins while examining ways to engage women earlier on in the STEM path. The  White House’s Council on Women and Girls is also dedicating time to increasing participation in the field as well as work at the U.S. State Department seen in the recent launch of the TechGirls initiative which is engaging women worldwide in technology skill development. What other ways can we continue to use innovative instruction, harness key skills and involve all population groups to foster innovation?

Sep 10

Merging the Classroom and Workforce Skill Development- NASA, LEGO, Goolge and the New Orientation Model

An interesting take on merging real-world experiences and academia is seen at  Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and their CoLab program. CoLab: Essentials of Business Collaboration and Innovation brings together industry executives and college freshmen to tackle current business issues before classes even begin. This model is unique in it’s focus on undergraduates with similar efforts taking place at the graduate MBA level. The CoLab also takes the opportunity to introduce freshmen to the qualitative skills that will equate to successful transition into the business field. The expectation is therefore set early-on that work-ready skills outside of the textbook content will be further developed and considered just as valuable to future success.

This concept certainly holds opportunity for implementation in a secondary setting. The exposure to real-world issues in a particular field and the interactions with industry professionals would be an innovative mode by which to develop work-ready skills while introducing a real-world connection to students. It also raises the bar in terms of what is truly expected of students once they leave the classroom and look to enter the professional field.  Partnerships supporting this workforce immersion and learning are already in place and continue to be forged seen in the NASA and Lego partnership to bring project-based learning to the classroom in science. Others such as Google are partnering internationally with universities to provide perspective and connection to the workforce.


Aug 06

LinkedIn’s College Pilot- Social Media to Connect Student Workforce Success and Opportunities

A new way to connect and track student success in the workforce is seen in LinkedIn’s new College Pilot Program.  Hult International Business School is one of the universities taking part in a collaborative effort to share data on career success, link alumni and share workforce opportunities and information through the social media site. Another interesting strategy to utilize social media to link education and workforce while connecting the dots in making the alignment useful for students and the higher education system.  What other implications and uses might other platforms have for sharing information and informing innovative instructional strategies?

Jul 16

The Role of Social Media & Giving Youth a Voice

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey is in the process of launching a social media site to engage youth in sharing their voice and exploring their leadership potential.  #waywire will focus on video content shared by youth and looks to provide a space for youth voice in the media and news. Mayor Booker also hopes the site will be a catalyst for youth to identify issues within their communities and take on the role of change-makers. An interesting platform which one could argue presents an opportunity for innovative conversation and collaboration that could be further expanded upon in the education context.

Jun 27

Technology the Wins and the Woes

A recent study released by the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society for Technology in Education highlights the barriers that exist to bringing technology into the classroom. The report outlines the 6 top obstacles for full integration and effective use of technology in education. While in a related area of education libraries and their struggle with bridging the gap in providing e-books is seen in the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Finally, a look at Khan Academy’s pilots in the classroom and brief analysis of educational gains attributed to the model and current issues.

Jun 26

Workforce Success – Who’s Job Is It?

The role of colleges in ensuring workforce success- A lot of attention has been placed on degree earners and their workforce trajectory or lack thereof after graduating.  Post-Secondary institutions are being called to task in their role in their graduates’ career path.  Colleges and universities are responding by creating new positions on campuses to assisting in student development and workforce preparation; tracking graduates beyond placements and delving deeper into what graduates are lacking to fully engage in the labor market.  Overall efforts are focused on better preparing, supporting and tracking individual institution’s students’ workforce success.

Career focus and preparedness is not just a concern of higher education but also seen in programs targeting younger students such as the recent inclusion of a career pathway certificate by the The International Baccalaureate program.  The certificate will further focus students on workforce preparation in culinary arts, automotive technology and engineering and will be launched this fall.


Jun 19

Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning is the current buzz word in ed and has been partially perpetuated by the upcoming Games for Change and Games+Learning+Society conferences. Check out some of the latest pilots, programs and contests to engage youth in a new context to learning.

May 30

Let’s Tweet, Write and Watch

Some major trends in information sharing and education have been seen in a few recent partnerships, virtual conversations via Twitter and the highlight of a collaborative space for youth voice. The first is the partnership of MIT and Khan Academy to engage high school students in science and engineering.  MIT+K12 will feature MIT student created content in short video form which will be accessible on a dedicated YouTube site, Khan Academy as well as a dedicated MIT web page. The project hopes to aid in instruction in science and introduce engineering to a new subset of youth.

Also furthering information sharing and learning is the website Figment.  Having youth share their writing online has been seen as the new vehicle for allowing youth to find voice as well as excel in their writing skills. Figment, an online writing platform founded by the managing editor of the New Yorker, is growing in membership and youth publications.

Finally to tweeting and the  Department of Labor’s  twitter conversation "Skills to Pay the Bills #Skills2PayBills”. The underlying theme is how to navigate the current workforce, rethink skill gain and to provide support for the younger generation of labor participants.  All three initiatives are engaging youth and perpetuating skill attainment each in a unique setting and format.





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