Women, Girls and STEM Education

First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced a National Science Foundation​ initiative to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and provide flexibility to working parents in research fields.


This fact sheet takes a look at why bringing girls and women into STEM fields is so important—and what President Obama and his administration are doing to help.

Girls, Women and STEM Education

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation Launches 'The Voice' in Pediatric Hospitals in Atlanta and Philadelphia

image from rsf.bwmmedia.com Ryan Seacrest, known in Hollywood circles as the busiest (and nicest) man in showbiz and host of American Idol, has launched the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF).

The mission of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) is to enhance the quality of life for seriously ill and injured children through unique programs that utilize multimedia and interactive platforms to enlighten, entertain and educate.

image from rsf.bwmmedia.com
RSF’s first initiative is to build broadcast media centers, named THE VOICE, within pediatric hospitals for children to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media as well as contribute positively to the healing process.


The Voice media centers have already opened in Atlanta and Philadelphia, with plans to eventually build up to 10 of the broadcast centers at pediatric hospitals around the country.


In addition, RSF will also reach out to the community and involve students from local journalism schools, colleges and universities to provide them with the opportunity to gain first hand experience in broadcasting, programming and operating a multimedia center.

There's lots of research in the educational media space on how the use of multimedia, social and digital technologies allows young people see themselves as an active participant, in the pilot's seat or director's chair, as they chart new connections between diverse and often unpredictable worlds of knowledge.

This is especially important for children who are critically ill. They spend so much time in the hospital letting doctors, nurses and other medical techs deciding what and when they do just about anything.

To be critically ill means giving up control. A lot of control. 'The Voice' project is important because it's the only part of a child's stay in the hospital where they--not the doctors or nurses--are in control.

They get to decide what song to play. They get to decide what button to push. Most importantly, it's a part of their day that doesn't revolve around heavy life threatening decisions, medicines, needles or any of the hard work of being a patient.

It's just fun. And that's the best medicine of all.

Connect with the Seacrest Foundation on Twitter and Facebook

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Goes High Tech

image from youth.unicefusa.org Those cutle little "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF boxes are going high tech!

Thanks to a partnership with Microsoft TAG, kids can now ask you to scan the barcode on the side of the box with your smartphone and donate any amount--on the spot.

No smartphone? No problem. You can also contribute $10 by texting the word "TOT" to UNICEF (864233).

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF just for teachers 

Exchange 2.0: The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration

image from www.connectallschools.org The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration was developed to help teachers use the Internet to "reach out" globally. 

In his address to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2010, Secretary Arne Duncan stated:

We must improve language learning and international education at all levels if our nation is to continue to lead in the global economy to help bring security and stability to the world and to build stronger and more productive ties with our neighbors….We have never been more aware of the value of a multiliterate, multilingual society, a society that can appreciate all that makes other cultures and nations distinctive, even as it embraces all that they have in common.”

This Guide has been prepared as part of the Department of Education's effort to expand global awareness through collaboration between students and teachers in the US with their peers around the world.  

On these pages, teachers will find many projects and suggestions to begin or expand classroom projects that reach across the globe and enable students to learn WITH the world, as well as about it.

In each section of this Guide we have also provided links to elementary, middle and high school projects and links to organizations that are involved in international education via the Internet and Web 2.0 tools.

Trend Watch: Twitter Finds a Place in the Classroom

Students tap away at their cell phones, laptops and iPads during Enrique Legaspi's high-tech history lesson.

In some grade schools, pulling out these devices during class would result in a one-way ticket to the principal's office. But Legaspi encourages this behavior, as long as the kids are using Twitter.

A technology enthusiast, Legaspi learned how to incorporate the social network into his 8th-grade curriculum while attending the annual Macworld convention in San Francisco earlier this year.

"I had an aha moment there," he said. "I said to myself, 'This is going to really engage my students.' "

Teachers across the country have been incorporating Twitter into classrooms for a few years, but the site's adoption by educational institutions appears to be limited. Read More >>>

Related: Facebook for Educators



Facebook DC Live: Facebook for Educators

FacebookDC Join Linda Fogg Phillips, co-author (along with myself and BJ Fogg) of the new Facebook for Educators guide, Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, and other panelists for a discussion of how teachers and administrators can connect safely and appropriately with students on Facebook and other social media sites to extend learning outside the classroom.

Facebook will also discuss some recent efforts both on and off of Facebook to thank teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.

To watch at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, click the "FB DC Live" navigation link on http://www.facebook.com/FacebookDC or go directly to: http://www.facebook.com/FacebookDC?v=app_141125442599532.

Ask questions for our guests on the wall of this event.

Study: One in Four Young Adults Say the Education System Has Little to No Understanding of Their Values and Goals

image from www.getschooled.com As part of its commitment to education, Viacom partnered with The Associated Press to conduct "Young Adults' Perspectives on American Education 2011," a groundbreaking study based on a combination of peer-to-peer interviews and a large-scale poll of more than 1,100 American 18-24 year-olds.

Viacom and The Associated Press approached the study by looking at 18-24 year-olds as "core consumers of education" and evaluating how the education system is meeting their needs.  

According to the study, young adults are optimistic that high schools and colleges can prepare them for the working world, but also feel these institutions aren't adapting quickly enough to meet students' changing needs.

As a result, more and more 18-24 year-olds are taking a less traditional approach to higher education, via self-directed curricula, internships and self-teaching.

Recognizing the important role young people can and should play in reaching their goals, Viacom launched Get Schooled, which provides the tools and guidance young adults need to succeed in today's competitive environment.

The full "Young Adults' Perspectives on American Education 2011" study is available on the Get Schooled website at www.getschooled.com or on the Get Schooled Facebook Page.

According to the study, students are increasingly creating individual, self-tailored curricula by cherry picking schools and courses. They're also taking longer to graduate because they feel that, by combining school with work and internships, they stand a greater chance of finding a desirable job.

Young adults are relying more on themselves, their families and friends and less on community or religious organizations and high school counselors when it comes to education decisions.

Detailed findings from the study include:

  • Overall, 27 percent of young adults say the education system has little to no understanding of their values and goals. More than a third (36 percent) report it is ambivalent to their values and goals.
  • Only 37 percent say the education system mostly or completely understands them.
  • Among those surveyed with a high school diploma, but no college experience, 33 percent say the education system has little to no understanding of their values and goals.  

How College Leads to a Better Life is Unclear

The most consistent theme among those interviewed – from those with no college experience to those with bachelor degrees – is that college should prepare one to join the workforce.

But today's pragmatic, goal-oriented young adults are unsure that the education product being offered to them will deliver the job or career that they want.

  • More than half of young adults say it's more worth the money to get "an education that is focused on success in the world."

Young Adults' Perspectives on American Education 2011

Skype In The Classroom: An International Social Network For Teachers [VIDEO]

image from tctechcrunch.files.wordpress.com Skype realizes full well its software is used by many school teachers and students from around the globe, and today announced that it has built a dedicated social network to help them connect, collaborate and exchange knowledge and teaching resources over the Web.

This morning, the company launched a free international community site dubbed Skype in the Classroom, an online platform designed to help teachers find each other and relevant projects according to search criteria such as the age groups they teach, location and subjects of interest.

How to create a profile and find a teacher from Skype in the classroom on Vimeo.

The platform, which has been in beta since the end of December, already has a community of more than 4,000 teachers, across 99 countries.

Teachers need only sign up with their Skype account at the website, create a profile with their interests, location and the age groups they teach and start connecting with other teachers by exploring the directory, where they can also find projects and resources that match their skills, needs or interests.

A members-only community, Skype in the Classroom lets teachers easily add each other to their Skype contact lists or message one another.

via TechCrunch

Global Youth: How Kids Can Help Japan


On Friday, March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake struck Sendai, Japan, resulting in a devastating tsunami that ravaged the coast just 180 miles from Tokyo.

In response, Students Rebuild has partnered with DoSomething.org, to ensure students worldwide have a way to support their Japanese peers.

Help Japan by making paper cranes

These simple yet powerful gestures will trigger a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation - $2 for each crane received - to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan.

Once we reach our goal of 100,000 submissions, the cranes will be woven into an art installation - a symbolic gift from students around the globe to Japanese youth.

Why Cranes?

Cranes are sacred creatures in Japanese culture. According to legend, anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

While anyone can contribute to the virtual mosaic on Facebook, our goal is to collect 100,000 origami cranes from young people to represent 100 wishes of support and healing for Japan. A list of wishes will begin to appear when we receive the first 1,000 cranes by mail.

Related Resources

Chicago Students See Success Hitting the Gym, Then Hitting the Books


At Naperville Central, a public high school of nearly 3,000 students, educators believe exercise will not only get kids fit, but will improve learning and academic performance.

And they're putting that idea into practice for a group of students who struggle in reading and in math. At 7:45 a.m., these freshmen and sophomores start the day in the gym.

This excerpt tells the story of an academic transformation that began with a gym teacher.

Related: More Strokes Hitting Young, Middle-Aged

When snow hit, one American U class moved to Facebook

Networking_T "Setting up this Facebook page was one of the first things I did after I created my spring syllabus for this class, International Public Relations. It wasn't my idea; it was something I learned from students and junior colleagues when I returned from sabbatical.

After eight months of being in research la-la land, stepping back onto a high-speed, wi-fi campus was like moving from the cave wall paintings to, well, digital walls.

I attended a one-day university-sponsored teaching symposium and zeroed in on technology sessions to get myself up to speed. The line that really stuck with me was: "If you want to fish, go where the fish are." The fish, is seems, were all on Facebook, and I wanted to cast my net."

via voices.washingtonpost.com

Pearson Learning Study: Social Media in Higher Education [PRESO]

General Social Media Stats From the Pearson Study


  • There are over 500 million users on Facebook with over 50% logging in at least once per day.
  • In the United States alone there are, as of February 2010, 108 million users at a growth rate of around 5 million new users per month. That is a 35% penetration rate of the total US population.
  • The average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook.


  • At the end of 2009 Twitter had approximately 75 million active users with a growth rate in Q4 of between 6-8 million new users per month.
  • There are over 50 million tweets per day as of March 2010. This is up from 3 million tweets per day in March 2008.


  • On YouTube alone, there are over 1 billion views per day.
  • There are 20 hours of video uploaded every minute. That’s the equivalent of 130,000 full-length Hollywood movie releases every single week.
  • YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world.
  • Approximately 82% of Internet users in the USA view videos online.


  • There are over 60 million registered users on LinkedIn with about 100,000 new users per week.


  • There are approximately 126 million blogs as tracked by BlogPulse.

Google Global Science Fair for Teens


At Google, the only thing we love as much as science is science education. We want to celebrate young scientific talent and engage students who might not yet be engaged with science.

So, in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic, and Scientific American we’ve created an exciting new global science competition, the Google Science Fair.

Students all over the world who are between the ages of 13 and 18 are eligible to enter this competition and compete for prizes including once-in-a-lifetime experiences, internships and scholarships.


We’ll be accepting submissions from 11 January to 4 April 2011. Students who make it to the finalist stage will be invited with a parent or guardian to our celebratory event at Google headquarters in California in July, where they’ll be able to showcase their project and meet some of the brightest minds in science today. We will select and announce our winner at this event.

The competition is open to students aged 13 to 18 from around the world working on their own or in a team of two or three. For more details, visit the Science Fair Rules page.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Direct students to the sign up page to register either as individuals or teams of up to three.
  2. Discuss project requirements and entry process with students.
  3. Get familiar with Google Sites so that your students are prepared to complete their project submission. Their Google Site will become their official project submission. The Materials section is full of resources for using Google products to help students illustrate their work.
  4. Start immersing students in the scientific method using some tips from the table below and in our Science Resources section.
  5. Assist students in developing their project and learn along with them!
  6. Review the contest rules and FAQs with your students

via Google Science Fair