This is a waste of a word cloud. Word clouds are to convey the interconnected nature of phrases, their relativity to one another, and their popularity. This is just a messy logo and three word tagline.
But it’s not about the word cloud.
Part of what disturbs me about pushes for education technology and discussions around education technology are things like this. This jpeg is the perfect analogy for many tools that are marketed as great educational technology tools. In theory, the tools are great, but without researching and analyzing the capabilities of tools and possible uses for them, there is often a lack of great application in the education context. Take smartboards for example; they are capable of so much more than just being a touchscreen board for powerpoint presentations, but so seldom does one see a teacher using it for other purposes, at least in the schools I have seen. I’m not saying that there has to be intensive professional development for the use of education technology. In fact, there should be less professional development. Too often, professional development becomes consulting from afar or for a day, when it should be about mentorship and facilitated learning (funny, that sounds just like teaching!). And as any millennial will tell you, there’s no way to learn technology than to just play with it for a little while. Teachers should have time to just play with technology, like their students do, and be encouraged to be creative and collaborative with one another in the use of technology, not just told case uses for new tools. If we’re using education technology with the goal of helping students build 21st century skills and to not just manual readers, why are we making teachers read the manual and not use their own 21st century skills?
I just found this amazing program made by Google which is basically an interactive body for you to study the human anatomy with. I wish we had programs like this when I took human anatomy in high school instead of just random bones and plastic organs. Check it out…but it doesn’t work with Internet Explorer!
Biodigital Human is even better, in my opinion. Everyone who looks at Google Body should do a comparison for themselves: http://www.biodigitalhuman.com/default.html
The more I re-read this study, I keep coming back to two thoughts (all generalized, of course):
1) The idea of there being “feminine fields” that are non-science seems a bit sexist to me, although I am not a female and not uniquely qualified to judge such things.
2) Despite the undertones I am picking up on from the study, there does seem to be something underlying women’s reactions to science. Some sort of cognitive dissonance is setting in. Somewhere in the subconscious, their imagery (even though it may not be true imagery) of what it means to be a female scientist doesn’t match up with what they think/want/feel … on some level, anyway.
The findings come from a series of studies, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, that were undertaken to determine why women, who have made tremendous progress in education and the workplace over the past few decades, continue to be underrepresented at the highest levels of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Lead author Lora Park, associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, and her co-authors found converging support for the idea that when romantic goals are activated, either by environmental cues or personal choice, women—but not men—show less interest in STEM and more interest in feminine fields, such as the arts, languages and English. The research is described in the article to be published in the September issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“When the goal to be romantically desirable is activated, even by subtle situational cues, women report less interest in math and science,” says Park. “One reason why this might be is that pursuing intelligence goals in masculine fields, such as STEM, conflicts with pursuing romantic goals associated with traditional romantic scripts and gender norms.”
More subtle social pressures having huge effects on women’s role in STEM fields. Of course, if more of the romance of science were apparent, if the drama of the journey to discovery were made more clear, perhaps this could be different?
I mean, science (and scientists) is/are sexy, in their own way. Some people hate the use of sexy in this way, but how else do you describe the primal excitement of discovery and learning, the rush of satisfaction? And the lab coats … so hot, amiright?
The above study is evidence of past failures in the imagery of science put forth, but not an unassailable problem. We can put our hearts in this along with our minds.
The idea that there are “non-feminine fields” is sexist. The idea that there are “feminine fields” is sexist. I take just as much offense to the lack of women in STEM fields as I do the over-representation of women in teaching, secretarial jobs, and nursing. Both are sexist and add false substance to the cliche that those who can’t, teach. It also perpetuates the cultural value of vanity over substance. More people should become sapiosexual. Fortunately, there seems to be a link between physical attractiveness and intelligence.
First, let’s define what it means to be a woman in tech. To be a woman in tech, you just need to answer Yes to the two questions in this simple test:
1. Are you penis-free?
Hopefully that’s an easy one.
2. Does your work go into creating technology?
If you write code or produce…
The 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) is all about exploring the effects of real-time technology on our world and providing a platform for the social media community to listen, connect, share, and engage with each other. The #140conf in New York City had presentations about social media’s impacts on education such as Syracuse University’s Professor Anthony Rotolo’s talk about “College in Real Time.” The #140edu conference promises even more discussion about education in real time. The list of speakers covers a large range of individuals involved in education, representing superintendents, social media managers, educators, parents, activists, foundation leaders, and more. The schedule of speakers and topics has been released. The themes of the #140edu conference (as I have identified) are:
• Changing the School Model: Topics range from hacking to sustainability, but the core message is reimagining schools for the 21st century as places where students build skills and learn about what matters to the world and to them, not just a scantron.
• Building Community: Engaging communities and increasing involvement are providing outlets for education reformers, schools, and parents to have meaningful discussions and change student outcomes.
• Changing the Education Paradigm: What students learn and how students learn it is center stage at #140edu, especially with a large part of the conversation happening around the value of a college education and what the changing landscape for education outside of school means for the field of education. The cherry on top is having Chris Lehmann, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and TEDx speaker, as the partner for the event. The #140edu conference is taking place August 2nd and 3rd at the 92nd Street Y. Student tickets are $15, regular 2 day passes are $140 until August 1st, and educators can apply to purchase a ticket for $1.40. Attending the conference, regardless of the ticket price, will be well worth the cost.
My EdLab blog post about current learning analytics and adaptive learning technologies.
“I think it will be interesting to watch the development of learning analytics platforms that expand past the required NCLB data and into social interactions and personalization.”