Ed News: VR Is Great, But Here’s Why Hands-On Learning Can’t Disappear

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This week in education news, hands-on learning can’t disappear; new data shows that the U.S. teaching force has grown by 13 percent in four years; STEM instruction offers workforce benefits beyond the traditional fields; a new survey shows more than 530 teacher vacancies in Oklahoma schools; new research suggests that opportunities for engaging diverse U.K. students outside of the science classroom are few and far between; many principals have very little knowledge of what the ESSA law actually means; and video gaming is changing education.

VR Is Great, But Here’s Why Hands-On Learning Can’t Disappear

With 80 percent of teachers reporting that they support the use of technology in the classroom, it is important to integrate tools that best fit with a child’s learning abilities, as well as school curriculum. With the help of technological tools and toys, children can now engage with worlds that they could have only experienced before in their dreams. However, we must find a way to teach children to utilize these tools to interact with the world around us, not just the digital world. Click here to read the article featured in eSchool News.

Teaching Force Growing Faster Than Student Enrollment Once Again

The number of U.S. teachers has grown by 13 percent in four years, according to new data from the federal government, and has far outpaced the rise in student enrollment over the same time period. The new data show that there were about 3.8 million K-12 public school teachers across the country in 2015-16. That’s up from about 3.4 million teachers in the 2011-12 school year. That jump is much larger than the increase in student enrollment over that time. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

STEM Instruction Offers Educational, Workforce Benefits Beyond Traditional Fields

With more jobs opening up requiring a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), industry leaders worry there will not be enough qualified applicants to fill the pool. K-12 and higher ed institutions have responded by focusing on building the education-to-workforce pipeline in these fields, and have often found there’s an added benefit. For students who end up in non-STEM careers, instruction in STEM still gives them the skills they need for college and career readiness. Click here to read the article featured in Education DIVE.

Going Old School

Students at St. Helen Catholic School in Vero Beach are in for a treat this year. Their middle school science teacher and department head of science, Giancarlo Cetrulo, is introducing a new way of teaching. It’s called argument-driven inquiry, a method he learned at a National Science Teachers Association fellowship last year sponsored by Lockheed Martin and the Bayer USA Foundation. Click here to read the article featured on TCPALM.com.

Survey Shows More Than 530 Teacher Vacancies In Oklahoma

A new survey shows Oklahoma schools are beginning a new year with more than 530 teacher vacancies and more than two-thirds of the state’s superintendents saying the teacher shortage is worse than last year. Click here to read the article by the Associated Press.

Fewer STEM Activities For Students From Diverse Backgrounds

According to research published in the International Journal of Science Education, opportunities for engaging diverse students outside of the science classroom are few and far between. Observing data from nearly 6,000 secondary schools in the U.K., researchers determined that students from less privileged backgrounds were less likely to attend science-related school trips or forums conducted by visitors from this concentration. Click here to read the article featured in Engineering 360.

Stemming The Tide Of Girls Leaving Science, Math

Aniyah Baker and Ahijah Corey are sixth-graders at Raymond Park Middle School in Indianapolis and, like the rest of the girls in their class, they love science. “All the girls are interested in science,” said Aniyah, who wants to be an engineer. “There are more girls than boys in our (science class).” While programming a computerized robot car at an all-girls STEM event last week, Aniyah and Ahijah said they’ve never had anyone tell them science, technology, engineering and math – STEM fields – aren’t for them. Not too long ago, that wouldn’t have been the case. Click here to read the article featured in the Indy Star.

On ESSA, Many Principals Have Little Idea What The Law Actually Means

One of the recurring themes from principals around ESSA implementation has been, “Well, I’m just going to wait for my superintendent to tell me what to do.” Actually, according to experts from the National Association of Elementary School Principals who shared at the 2017 National Principals Conference in Philadelphia and spoke on background for this article, the law was designed to be much more bottom-up than previous laws, and you should reach out to your superintendent with plans you’d like to see implemented in your school to help improve outcomes for all learners therein. Click here to read the article featured in Education DIVE.

Here’s What States Are Doing With Their ESSA Block Grant Money

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants—or Title IV of ESSA—only received about a quarter of the funding the law recommends, $400 million for the 2017-18 school year, when ESSA will be fully in place for the first time.To help get bigger bang for the fund’s considerably reduced buck, Congress gave states the option, for one year only, to give the money out through a competitive process, allowing for fewer, but more-ambitious projects. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

Believe The Hype! How Video Games Are Changing Education

To draw a parallel between video gaming and education may cause the more traditional educators to balk at the thought, but recent developments in the field of video game research reveal dramatic correlations between playing video games and the ability to learn. 1.2 billion people play video games worldwide. This is a rather significant portion of the population and if we ignore the negative consequences for the moment, which include addictive qualities and deprioritizing of school work, we can delve into the beneficial correlations between gaming and education. Click here to read the article featured in eSchool News.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) team strives to keep NSTA members, teachers, science education leaders, and the general public informed about NSTA programs, products, and services and key science education issues and legislation. In the association’s role as the national voice for science education, its CLPA team actively promotes NSTA’s positions on science education issues and communicates key NSTA messages to essential audiences.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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