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Living in a Digital Age

We live in an age of driverless cars, thought-controlled biomechanical limbs, and robots shifting heavy pallets of goods across warehouse floors. These were all dreams of yesterday, and each was supposed to take decades to be realized, if it could be realized at all. But here they are. Google’s driverless cars routinely glide along the 101, nimbly slowing to evade the sometimes erratic driving of ...
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STEM across disciplines

Humankind is beset with problems of its own making: runoff of chemicals from industrial agriculture risks polluting the water table; human overpopulation taxes the environment to produce sufficient food, to supply enough potable water, and results in massive production of waste; and the energy industries (coal, oil and nuclear) have had a significant environmental impact on air, land and water. Th...
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The path to success

“Houston, we’ve had a problem here”. So rang out those chilling words on April 13th, 1970, when the world first learned that the Apollo 13 manned mission to the moon was in jeopardy. An oxygen tank had exploded, resulting in a loss of oxygen, battery power, and water, all this with the spacecraft and crew roughly 200,000 miles from the earth. One oxygen tank had completely emptied, and the second...
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Learning and experience

The path from Piaget to Papert to project-based learning is a direct one. It was the Swiss psychologist, Piaget, who argued that children don’t learn by being passive receptors of information from the environment, but by actively confronting it. His student, Papert, who went on to be a founding faculty member of the MIT Media lab, followed in Piaget’s footsteps, arguing too that children learn by ...
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Work and self-worth

Increasingly, we are what we do and say, what we make and communicate. We know Einstein by his physical theories, Walt Whitman by his poetry, Dali by his art just as Mark Zuckerberg is synonymous with FaceBook, Jeff Bezos with Amazon, and Steve Jobs with Apple. On average, we work a third of our lives, some very much more. Work provides us not only with our livelihood, but friendships too, sometim...
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Putting STEM to work

“When people think of an industrial factory, they think dark, dirty and heavy lifting and it’s not that way anymore…People don’t understand that…it’s meant for somebody with higher analytical skills and higher troubleshooting abilities [as well as for somebody] who can turn a wrench.” http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/01/12/apprenticeships-could-provide-a-pathway-to-the-middle-class?int=a4...
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Foundational Skills and STEM

In the 19th century, the foundation of a good education was grounded in reading, writing and arithmetic. In the 20th, the mandate was to provide a sound liberal-arts education. Though we only have early returns to go on, the voting for the 21st century seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of a STEM education. This is not to say, of course, that literacy and numeracy are defunct concepts with no pla...
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Data in a digital age

We are awash in a sea of data. When you accessed your smart phone to navigate from home, your location and destination were tracked by satellite. When you bought something online, or ran a search as part of your research, those data were recorded. That exponentially growing pile of data includes medical records, financial records, educational records, and criminal records, to name but a few. Consi...
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From start-up to take-off

We are a nation of explorers and inventors. We are driven to dive leagues into the oceans and fly deep into space; we've unraveled the mystery of our own DNA; we discover, invent and create. This independence of spirit, this drive to understand, create and succeed is common to us all, and is nowhere more evident than among our own students. Those on the spectrum are increasingly drawn to innovate,...
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