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Problem-solving

Social behavior and success

An article recently published details the results of a study showing that pro-social behavior among kindergartners is a strong indicator of which children will be successful later in life--E. Jones, Mark Greenberg, and Max Crowley. (2015). Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness. American Journal of Public He...
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The path to excellence

On August 25th 2015, STEM3 Academy will open its doors to students with social and learning differences, grades 9 through 12, in time for the 2015/16 academic year. The first of its kind in the country, STEM3 Academy is unique in providing a rich and varied curriculum designed to develop the natural skills and abilities of its students, to provide real-world experiences by way of hands-on projects...
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STEM in the real world

How do modern successful companies prepare for future workforce needs? How do they guarantee that there will be a steady pipeline of qualified candidates ready to fill the burgeoning demand for technically trained individuals? If you’re the Ford Motor Company, you start an initiative called Next Generation Learning to bring real-world problems into the classroom, problems that demand collaboration...
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Education’s Modern Face

The face of education is changing rapidly to meet the demands of modern enterprise and industry. Just over the last few years alone, there have been new CCSS (Common Core State Standards), Next Gen (Next Generation Science Standards), and we have seen the rise of STEM and STEAM and their variants, some focusing on art, some on architecture, some on the design process in addition to science, techno...
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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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Coding and Curriculum

It has become commonplace to acknowledge the shortage of qualified computer science professionals, the scarcity of programmers, both in the general population, but particularly among those traditionally underrepresented: girls, ethnic minorities, and those on the autism spectrum or with other special needs. One school in Brookline, Massachusetts is aiming to reduce that shortage by integrating cod...
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A Progress Report on STEM at Village Glen

Last week, Village Glen had a visitor, someone who had heard about our programs and about STEM at Village Glen in particular. He himself runs a school in England for students with special needs, so it was a rare opportunity to see how someone unconnected to and unfamiliar with our school would view us. His impressions were uniformly positive. He was amazed by middle school students milling about ...
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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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STEM and Universal Design

One of the most powerful Universal Design principles is that students with disabilities, like those without, benefit from having material presented to them in a variety of ways: aurally, visually, and kinesthetically. Similarly, students do best when given a variety of ways to engage the material, when they have a choice between giving a presentation, building a model, or writing a paper. The prin...
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