SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

News & Product Updates

Developing the STEM Education Pipeline

The ACT National College Admission Test is administered to more than one million high school students each year and gathers a student subject interest inventory, as well as both math and science assessments. ACT recently published its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Policy Report to share the outcomes of their survey. According to the report, “The results are clear – interest in STEM careers is declining, and most students are not adequately prepared to succeed in college-level coursework.”

Among the sobering findings – fewer than half (41 percent) of ACT-tested 2005 high school graduates achieved or exceeded the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in Math. The students most likely to major in STEM fields in college and persist to earn their degrees are those who develop interests in STEM careers through early career planning and take challenging classes in high school that prepare them for college-level science and math coursework. (ACT – Academic Testing Services) Read more

CIRTL Releases Literature Review

Addressing the problem of recruiting and retraining more students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), promotes the development of a national faculty in STEM, committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences.

CIRTL has created a 158-page bibliography, funded by the National Science Foundation, that identifies, abstracts, and classifies multiple research reports and case studies focused on practices of recruiting, teaching, and evaluating the success of STEM instruction. (CIRTL) Read more

Software Teaches Troops Valuable Cultural Skills

The University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute has developed Tactical Iraqi, a cultural awareness program for use by the United States Army and Marines. In Tactical Iraqi, players navigate a set of real-life scenarios by learning a set of Arabic phrases, culturally relevant gestures and taboos. Following each lesson, the player is asked to interact with other characters using speech and gestures, while a speech-recognition system records and evaluates the responses.

Accurate responses allow the soldier to build a rapport with other characters and advance to the next level. Although the game was developed for the military, it contains no weapons or combat situations. The story line involves a civil affairs mission in which soldiers must gain the trust of the people they interact with in order to rebuild communities. (WiredNews) Read more
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