A Call to STEM Teachers: What’s Your Plan for Back to School?
August 25, 2010 — Tasha Dunaway, Academic Marketing Coordinator
It’s back-to-school time in the U.S., and we’re starting our trips to meet with educators ranging from the high school to post-graduate level. Many schools will be hearing about Mathematica for the first time, while others have requested specialized training to expand Mathematica usage in their work and in the classroom. Several schools are taking advantage of a program created in response to a recent domestic focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education called the STEM Education Initiative.
Domestic efforts on the STEM front are influenced by a report posted by the U.S. Department of Labor stating that the gap between jobs that require an advanced education and those that do not is widening. Not only are there fewer positions available to those without an advanced degree, but over 70% of the positions that are available involve significant knowledge in STEM fields.
Since high schools are the fastest growing Mathematica user group, some STEM programs are geared toward high school educators. For example, the 30 Minutes to Mathematica program, originally launched in April 2009, has already helped over a thousand teachers get started using Mathematica in the classroom.
Through this program, educators at the precollege and community college levels watch training videos to learn how to use Mathematica and can then purchase Mathematica at a discounted rate. The program takes less than 30 minutes to complete, making it efficient and affordable.
Other grants have been created recently to supplement the National Science Foundation’s STEM Pathways II program, which supports the expansion and adoption of tools received through funding. For example, through the Wolfram Technology Training STEM Grants, we will match 100% of the funds used to license Mathematica with in-kind donations of training, up to $5,000 (US).
The Wolfram Precollege Student License STEM Grants give existing programs a boost. Precollege schools that license Mathematica for their campuses may also apply for specialized grants to give students free home-use Mathematica licenses for continued learning at home. By more fully integrating technology into students’ lives, we hope to better prepare them for future academic and professional pursuits.
We are thrilled to be able to offer these opportunities to new Mathematica users, both at home and overseas. Schools with funding issues or a lack of training opportunities, like many precollege schools and schools in developing countries, are the most exciting for us. Now, more students can prepare for college using the same software that’s present in each of the world’s top 200 colleges and universities in subjects like math, physics, engineering, biology, chemistry, economics, and even sociology and music.
As you prepare for the coming school year, keep these programs in mind. We want to know what other programs would be beneficial to your staff or students. How can Wolfram Research help further STEM education at your organization? Email to tell us about similar programs we could help support in your territory.