The mouse of the future? Your eyeballs

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picture of person using their eyeball to control their mouse

By Katharine Schwab

Most of us control our technology using our fingers and hands, whether that’s through touch screens or a mouse. But for years, individuals with disabilities have used their eyes as a way to control digital interfaces.

Tablets like the Tobii Dynavox EyeMobile+ give people with cerebral palsy and other conditions the ability to use the internet, communicate, and even play games using just their eyes as a mouse.

Now, researchers are experimenting with ways to bring eye-tracking technology to general users. At the annual ACM Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) conference last week, scholars presented three new methods for able-bodied people to take advantage of a user interface that has mostly stayed within the realm of assistive technology. The experiments show how using your eyes as a tool to control a computer could make everyone more productive, not just people who are disabled. It’s an example of the power of inclusive design: When technologies are built to accommodate users who have disabilities, everyone else benefits, too.

Proofreading emails–or any other chunk of text–with just your eyes

One of the most annoying things about writing is typos: They’re inevitable, but they’re a pain to go back and fix. Academics at the University of Auckland and the University of Bath presented a research paper at CHI that proposes using your gaze to fix those pesky little mistakes and navigate a chunk of text. First, you look at the typo you want to fix (something you’re probably doing anyway). Then, you start typing. The program, called ReType, identifies the word you’re trying to change based on your gaze, and replaces it with whatever you type. Then, you just have to press enter to continue, enabling you to keep your hands on the keyboard as you continue to edit your mistakes. Your cursor then stays in the location you just edited, enabling you to insert or delete text there. It turns your eyeballs into a mouse.

The study included a variety of keyboard users, some of whom had used gaze-tracking technology before, and the researchers showed that the method was able to match and sometimes beat the speed of using a mouse. Plus, users liked it: “We were very pleased to hear from a number of users that they expect ReType to be helpful in addressing and preventing repetitive strain injury,” Gerald Weber, a computer science lecturer at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, tells Fast Company via email, referring to the musculoskeletal damage that’s caused by small repetitive tasks like clicking, typing, and using a mouse. Currently, Retype is just a prototype, but the research team has patented it and wants to turn it into a product.

Navigating through code without ever using a mouse

Studies have found that developers spend about 35% of their time navigating through their code while they’re working. When they’re debugging, they spend about 50% of their time looking for information–something that slows them down considerably.

Using eye tracking to communicate with colleagues

As more people work remotely, collaboration across distance can be difficult. But a study from researchers at Pomona College that was presented at CHI shows how eye tracking could act as a collaborative tool. The researchers focused on the challenges of collaborating on a piece of writing while working in different places, something that has become common with the popularity of tools like Google Docs. They conducted a study with 20 pairs of academics, each of whom had an eye-tracking device at the bottom of their screen that showed their collaborator where they were looking within a digital text editor. After completing writing tasks where they did and did not have access to the location of the other person’s gaze, the study participants reported more mutual understanding, higher joint attention, greater flow of communication, and increased awareness of what their co-author was doing when they could see where their partner was looking. (The eye-tracking technology only shows up within the text editor, so collaborators wouldn’t be able to spy on each other’s eye movements outside of that context.)

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

The hidden factor that’s keeping people out of STEM jobs

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Mans hand appearing to hold a 3-D image of a STEM collage

Job growth in STEM fields is currently outpacing overall job growth in America. That means that 2.4 million STEM jobs in the U.S. are going unfilled. But, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, universities are only expected to produce one-third of the graduates needed to fill those roles. That’s a vast gap in STEM talent. The leak in the pipeline happens to be in a place no one is talking about: in advanced math classes. Calculus, to be specific.

For thousands of students, calculus is a frustrating barrier to a STEM career. Roughly one-third of students fail or drop the course out of frustration. According to the National Institutes of Science, women are 1.5 times more likely to drop calculus, simply from a lack of confidence rather than ability. Yet nearly every STEM job requires at least one semester of it.

Unfortunately, there is no fast track to learn math, nor is there a shortcut to creating the logical connections in the brain that we acquire over a lifetime of problem-solving and critical thinking. Math skills can be developed if people are willing to spend the time and do the hard work.

The solution isn’t simple, but the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) can change the way people learn difficult subjects such as calculus. AI offers a range of applications for education and can be used to power more efficient, dynamic, and personalized learning.

For example, teachers face the challenge of providing personalized feedback at scale across a classroom or in multiple classes. When people have gaps in understanding, AI has shown the ability to identify patterns and offer the most relevant hints and instructional help. As students learn and progress, AI can adapt to each of their individual learning styles and preferences. Over time, AI may resemble the work of the best teachers, becoming a virtual aide for them to reach students in a different way both inside and outside the classroom, hopefully proving itself as an effective teaching tool.

More than a year ago, I formed a team of data scientists, engineers, and learning specialists to figure out how we can use AI to solve some of the world’s most intractable learning challenges. We considered tackling a number of hard subjects, such as algebra or the English language, where advanced AI techniques would allow us to deliver individualized learning experiences. This would be a first for education and a really impactful application of AI for good.

We kept coming back to calculus because of the frustration it causes for students and its potential to make a massive difference in the STEM economy. We also knew that if we could crack the code on the most difficult math discipline first, we could scale the technology across nearly any subject where people struggle to learn. The result was Aida Calculus, the first AI-powered mobile calculus tutor.

At the outset of our project, we knew some key things about how people learn math, and that learning pedagogy and cognitive science would prove critical to the application of AI. For example, students have a lower mental load if they can work on a math problem by hand on paper. We also realized that calculus learners understand math better if they know how it is applied in real-life situations.

This is where the application of AI techniques, including deep learning, computer vision, and reinforcement learning, can help. AI has the ability for personalized instruction, to measure effectiveness, as well as provide one-on-one tutoring. When faced with a difficult equation, a student would just have to take a picture of their handwritten work. AI can recognize handwriting, analyze the problem, provide step-by-step instruction, and offer examples of real-world utilization while adapting to each student.

When all of this works well, it feels like magic. It’s also a way we can show people the beauty and joy of math in our world. The goal is to engage anyone—student or adult—who is curious about how to apply math in their daily lives. By making calculus relevant and relatable we can begin to instill the confidence people need to take on STEM careers.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

T.D. Jakes Launches Foundation To Bring Greater Diversity And Inclusion To The STEAM Workforce

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African American collge students taking notes in a lecture

Globally recognized entrepreneur and faith leader T.D. Jakes announced the launch of his new nonprofit organization, the T.D. Jakes Foundation, which focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, workforce preparedness and job training. The foundation’s goal is to increase diversity and inclusion, and gender equity, and connect corporations to new, highly skilled pools of talent amid increasing global competition.

With the launch of his eponymous foundation, Jakes is building on his many decades of work serving the Dallas community through programs like the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.), which has received federal, state, city and community awards for its success in preparing former inmates convicted of non-violent crimes for the workforce, and a leadership conference focused on female empowerment. He plans to tap into his many connections in the business world to help level the playing field for women and people of color who have traditionally been underrepresented in high-paying, in-demand STEAM fields.

“Throughout my life, I’ve had the great fortune to work closely with so many different communities,” said Jakes, who will serve as Chairman of the Board. “I hope that, through this foundation, I can build bonds and create connections between businesses and people from different backgrounds—so that every person—regardless of age, race, gender or ethnicity—can achieve their full potential. This isn’t just about creating opportunity for tomorrow, next week or next month. This is about creating generational change—work that will continue for decades to come.”

To serve people of all ages and provide businesses with a trusted voice within new communities, the T.D. Jakes Foundation will focus on three core areas:

  • Business Partnerships—Connect global businesses with the talent and resources to succeed in a highly competitive environment.
  • Workforce Readiness—Provide people with the skills to compete in a rapidly changing workforce both by reskilling the existing workforce and developing the future workforce though programs like STEAMLife, a summer camp program that exposes students, ages 5 to 16, to hands-on projects.
  • Community Building—Create Dream Centers to bring people together to provide a wealth of services, education and life skills, including financial literacy, apprenticeships and more.

“Increasing diversity and inclusion, and gender equity, in the workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a business imperative,” said Hattie Hill, President and Chief Executive Officer of the T.D. Jakes Foundation. “For companies to win the war for talent, they must bring in people with new and different perspectives. In 30-plus years of global experience, I’ve seen that a business’ competitiveness is directly linked to its culture and people.”

The T.D. Jakes Foundation’s focus on STEAM education and training is designed to level the playing field in science, technology, engineering, arts and math occupations, fields where women and people of color have been historically underrepresented. According to the Pew Research Center, women in computer occupations have declined since 1990, from 32% to 25%. African American and Latino workers represent approximately 29% of the working population but comprise only 16% of the advanced manufacturing and 12% of the engineering workforces.

About the T.D. Jakes Foundation
The T.D. Jakes Foundation is committed to building bridges to opportunity in the United States and around the world. For 40 years, T.D. Jakes has connected diverse communities across socio-economic divides. With the launch of his eponymous foundation, Chairman Jakes is harnessing decades of resources and connections to prepare people for success in the 21st-century workforce, lift underserved populations and connect corporations to new, highly skilled pools of talent amid increasing global competition.

SOURCE The T.D. Jakes Foundation

Diversity in Tech is More Important Now Than Ever — Here’s How I’m Helping Make it More Inclusive

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Fatim Mbaye pictured sitting on short wall outside of her Qualcomm office

In celebration of Black History Month and International Women’s Day, Qualcomm is proud to feature Fatim Mbaye, who has been extremely influential in recruiting and empowering African and African American employees.

Fatim Mbaye, a program manager based in San Diego, has always been an advocate for diversity in the tech industry, which gets a bad rap for being very white, very male and very unable to reconcile its shortcomings.

But at Qualcomm, she has found an entire community dedicated to representing, recruiting and supporting African and African American employees.

And from attending her first event with the group, she’s understood the diversity and inclusion work being done at Qualcomm is the real deal.

Qualcomm is Hiring! Browse Opportunities.

“Leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture,” Mbaye shared. “I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires.”

We spoke to Mbaye about how her work with Qualcomm’s African and African American Diversity Group (QAAAD) has made her everyday work feel more meaningful, how the group is approaching intersectionality in tech and how Qualcomm’s support has made their campaigns feel worthwhile. She also shared her best advice for women who want to do inclusion work within their organizations — and spoke to the recruiting event that she was able to participate in years after it supplied her an early-career internship.

How long have you been in your current role and what were you doing previously?
I have been in a Program Management role at Qualcomm for four and a half years. Prior to that, I was a Program Manager at Texas Instruments for supporting new product development of high-performance analog products.

How and why did you first get involved with Qualcomm’s black affinity group? Did the group draw you to Qualcomm?
I was not recruited by QAAAD, but I looked for them as soon as I joined Qualcomm! I have always been an advocate for diversity and was an active member of the Black Employee Initiative, as well as Women’s Initiative, at my former employer. Once I reached out to QAAAD, the group was getting ready for their main annual recruiting trip at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) convention and I volunteered to join them.

NSBE holds a special part in my heart because I was very involved as a university student and was the secretary of my school’s chapter while completing my graduate studies. I actually got my first internship through a NSBE conference! I was so excited to go full circle and talk to candidates at the Qualcomm booth, hopefully opening the doors to their first job or internship.

I came back from that trip feeling like a part of the QAAAD family and accepted the invitation to be part of the Operating Council. I’ve been serving on the board ever since.

What have been the benefits of getting involved with your affinity group? Who have you met? How have they helped you in your professional journey?
There are so many benefits! From networking with peers and senior management to making an impact in our local community through event sponsorships to hosting middle and high school minority students and inspiring them to pursue STEM to being part of a mentorship program. Ultimately, there’s a feeling that there are others around you with a shared experience.

What has the affinity group accomplished that you’re most proud of?
I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires. And with the support of our Diversity and Inclusion team, the Qualcomm University recruiting team added two new universities that are historically black to their list of targeted campuses for their annual recruiting campaigns. We are already seeing an increase in our numbers.

What’s the #1 thing you think you colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about the group?
The talent is there — we need to go to it. Diversity in a technology field is very important and QAAAD can be a powerful tool to help attract black talent. With the emergence of AI, it is even more important to ensure that all voices are at the table to come up with better solutions and counteract unconscious bias.

How does the black affinity group engage with or collaborate with other affinity groups? How has this intersectionality created value at Qualcomm?
One of our goals this year is to collaborate more with other diversity groups and I am looking forward to it. Our first effort of synergy will be with the women affinity group, Qwomen. We are co-sponsoring a symposium organized by the San Diego Commission on the Status of Women and Girls on human trafficking. The topic is very timely and both organizations want to raise awareness within our community. The event will be held on the Qualcomm campus and is open to the public.

How are your company’s affinity groups reflective of the overall culture at Qualcomm?
I’ve personally noted that leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture at Qualcomm.

What is your advice for women who want to make the company they work for more inclusive?
It starts with women! We need to be more supportive of each other and mentor and sponsor our junior colleagues. In addition, we need to recruit more male allies, as this cannot be done without their support. As a longer-term strategy, there is power in numbers; we need more women to pursue engineering and STEM in general. So, let us inspire all young girls through mentoring and school visits to show them that the possibilities are endless. I truly believe in reaching out to the youth because representation matters and can make a difference in what someone can dare to dream of.

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SACNAS will be hosting the 2020 National Diversity in STEM Conference coming to Long Beach, CA

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SACNAS Partner Reception

The Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans (SACNAS) is excited to be hosting the 2020 National Diversity in STEM Conference in Long Beach, CA on February 25! Come learn about partnership opportunities and ways to optimize your presence.

Your partnership is critical to the conference success and engaging diverse students and professionals in STEM.

We anticipate 5000+ attendees and are developing the partnership advisory group consisting of local and regionally based institutions and companies to help guide programming.

In addition, we have developed a cultural advisory committee to ensure that we take into consideration the cultural context of the region. Our goal is to continue to serve as a bridge for academia, government, and industry in achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For more information, visit sacnas.org

Adelfa Callejo sculpture, Dallas’ first of a Latina, expected to land downtown in Main Street Garden park

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bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo

The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.

A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.

Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.

The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.

Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.

“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.

Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.

Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.

Continue on to the Dallas Morning News to read the complete article.

NMSI and UNCF to Launch STEM Teacher Preparation Program with HBCUs in Six States and the District of Columbia

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Focused young African female college student working on a laptop on some stairs on campus preparing for an exam

The National Math and Science Initiative has received a planning grant from the Fund II Foundation to design UTeach STEM teacher preparation programs at up to 15 historically black colleges and universities in six states and the District of Columbia. The Dallas-based non-profit has partnered with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to support the universities as they design their programs.

“NMSI and UNCF are nationally recognized leaders in the advancement of American education,” said Fund II Foundation Board President Robert F. Smith. “I look forward to supporting them to develop strong programs that meet the unique needs of students at HBCUs. I’m also excited to see how this new work allows more young people to reach their highest potential in their personal lives, professions and communities.”

NMSI, UNCF and the UTeach Institute are working with academic leaders at potential program schools. Those institutions include Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Claflin University Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Talladega College, Tougaloo College and Tuskegee University. The institutions that move forward with the program will work with the program team to design their new STEM teacher preparation programs.

The new programs will be based on UTeach, a renowned university-based STEM teacher preparation program founded at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, NMSI has worked with the UTeach Institute to expand the program, which provides math and science undergraduates at 45 universities with teaching skills, classroom experience and continuing support in their early teaching careers.

UTeach teachers average longer classroom careers than graduates of other teacher preparation programs, and nearly 70 percent of UTeach graduates teach in Title 1 schools. Based on standardized testing, their students perform as if they had almost six extra months of science and four extra months of math instruction.

“Addressing STEM teacher shortages and ensuring that all students benefit from teachers of diverse backgrounds is critical and core to NMSI’s mission,” said NMSI CEO Bernard A. Harris, Jr. “Expanding the UTeach program to HBCUs will benefit students across the nation.”

The initiative comes just after passage of the FUTURE Act, providing permanent federal funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and providing significant STEM-focused funding for those schools.

“As a two-time graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, a professor of 40 years at Bennett College for Women, and the author of the FUTURE Act, which guarantees permanent federal funding for HBCUs to prepare the next generation of diverse STEM professionals, I applaud this effort from the private sector to supplement that effort,” said U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). “In 2017, when my office introduced the HBCU Partnership Challenge, my hope was to encourage the private sector and non-profits to view HBCUs as key to accomplishing industry diversity goals, particularly in our STEM fields. Through this STEM teacher diversity initiative, we are seeing an example of true private investment and engagement with these producers of top diverse talent. I commend Robert Smith, the Fund II Foundation, NMSI and UNCF for their efforts in diversifying our workforce by helping prepare our diverse leaders of tomorrow.”

A 2017 study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that having at least one African American teacher in third through fifth grades increased African American students’ interest in attending college by 29 percent and reduced the probability of dropping out of high school for male African American students from very low-income families by 39 percent.

“Research clearly shows the powerful impact black teachers have on black students. HBCUs already are punching above their weight in the production of STEM graduates – generating 24 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees earned annually by African Americans,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The nation continues to have incredible need for math and science teachers of color, and students of color deserve to have educators who look like them.”

ABOUT NMSI
Founded in 2007, NMSI’s mission is to advance STEM education to ensure all students, especially those furthest from opportunity, thrive and reach their highest potential as problem solvers and lifelong learners. The nonprofit organization helps develop new STEM teachers through its Teacher Pathways programs, and supports schools, teachers and AP students through Laying the Foundation, the College Readiness Program and other research-based programs. Learn more at nms.org.

ABOUT UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization and for 75 years, it has supported private HBCUs and hundreds of thousands of deserving students, strengthened its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocated for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 17 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Learn more at UNCF.org.

About Fund II Foundation
Fund II Foundation makes grants to 501(c)3 public charities in five areas: 1) preserving the cultural richness of the African-American experience; 2) safeguarding human dignity by giving voice to the voiceless and promoting human rights; 3) conserving the environment, promoting the benefits of the great outdoors to people of all ages and backgrounds; 4) affording music education to nourish both talent and the soul; and 5) sustaining the American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and innovation. For more information, visit: fund2foundation.org | @Fund2F

About the UTeach Institute
The UTeach Institute works to improve secondary STEM teaching and learning through national expansion of the UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation program to colleges and universities. Over a decade, the Institute has developed and employs a comprehensive approach to successful program development in higher education settings and serves as the national hub to a networked community of 45 universities implementing UTeach programs.

3M and Discovery Education Search for America’s Next Top Young Scientist in 2020 Premier Middle School Science Competition

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Group Of Teenage Students Collaborating On Project In STEM Class

Discovery Education, the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms, recently announced the opening of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist). The annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge recruits students in grades 5-8 to compete for an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist, the $25,000 grand prize and earn the title of America’s Top Young Scientist. Competition entries are accepted at Young Scientist Lab until the April 21, 2020 deadline.

The nation’s premier middle school science competition enters its thirteenth year of fostering a new generation of students who are inspired to improve the world through science and innovation. Each year, the program recognizes 10 finalists and up to 50 state merit winners nationwide who have demonstrated a passion for solving everyday problems. Previous challenge finalists have collaborated with 3M scientists to create solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, including water conservation, noise pollution, energy consumption and public transportation efficiency. Last year’s winner, 14-year old Kara Fan, invented a first aid liquid bandage to reduce antibiotic overuse.

It’s easy for students to enter the 3M Young Scientist Challenge – it only takes an idea to get started and no prototypes or fancy labs are required. Students are invited to create a one to two-minute video communicating the science behind an idea aimed at solving a problem that positively impacts them, their school, family or community. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras. Entries will be evaluated based on their creativity, scientific knowledge, and effective communication skills.

In June 2020, ten finalists will be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program, where they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist. Each finalist will also receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., to compete at the final event in October 2020.

“At 3M, we are passionate about the application of science to improve our everyday lives.  The Young Scientist Challenge and its summer mentorship program is a unique, immersive experience for students to explore innovation and nurture their ideas from concept to working prototype,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president, corporate affairs at 3M. “Year after year, it’s a true to pleasure to work alongside young leaders as they imagine and discover what is possible through the power of science.”

Since its inception, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. 3M Young Scientist Challenge learning resources, including classroom interactives and family activities, are available at no cost at YoungScientistLab.com

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with 3M and power a program that shines light upon the innate curiosities and wonder of young scientists,” said Lori McFarling, president of Corporate Education Partnerships at Discovery Education. “As we collectively embrace unknowns of the future ahead, we look to our youngest leaders to inspire change for the betterment of our world – and ultimately open our eyes to the change that can result from student innovation, commitment and passion for innovation.”

To learn more about the challenge and submit entries, please visit YoungScientistLab.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education through social media on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest @DiscoveryEd.

 

About 3M:

At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $33 billion in sales, our 93,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at 3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.

About Discovery Education:

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through its award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia resources, immersive STEM experiences and the largest professional learning network of its kind, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning and improving academic achievement around the globe. Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms and primary schools in the U.K. and reach over 5 million educators and 51 million students in more than 90 countries. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to empower teachers with customized solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com.

Job seekers, these are the 10 best jobs in America right now

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Diverse business team looking over online security

If you’re not actively looking for a job, there’s a good chance you will be before the month is out. January is the most popular month for job searches, with a 22% increase over any other month, according to Glassdoor.

With that in mind, Glassdoor just released its annual ranking of the 50 best jobs in America. And while it’s no surprise that nearly half are tech jobs, there are a few surprises among the mix.

When scored for salary, number of openings, and job satisfaction ratings from members of the platform, these were the top 10 jobs:

1. Front End Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 13,122
Median Base Salary: $105,240

2. Java Developer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 16,136
Median Base Salary: $83,589

3. Data Scientist
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.0
Number of Job Openings: 6,542
Median Base Salary: $107,801

4. Product Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.8
Number of Job Openings: 12,173
Median Base Salary: $117,713

5. DevOps Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 6,603
Median Base Salary: $107,310

6. Data Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9
Number of Job Openings: 6,941
Median Base Salary: $102,472

7. Software Engineer
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.6
Number of Job Openings: 50,438
Median Base Salary: $105,563
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8. Speech Language Pathologist
Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.8
Number of Job Openings: 29,167
Median Base Salary: $71,867

9. Strategy Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.3
Number of Job Openings: 3,515
Median Base Salary: $133,067

10. Business Development Manager
Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.0
Number of Job Openings: 6,560
Median Base Salary: $78,480

This is the first time in four years that data scientist didn’t top the list. “While data scientist remains a thriving role, we’re seeing high demand for front end engineers with over 13,000 open roles, nearly double the number of data scientist open jobs,” Amanda Stansell, Glassdoor’s senior economic research analyst, wrote in the report. “In addition to numerous open jobs, front end engineers report competitive salaries and high job satisfaction.”

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

The Global Search for Education: Global Create-a-thon Makes the “A” in STEAM as Important as Every Other Letter

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A group of sudents pose at the Global Create-a-thon

Creative problem solving is as important as STEM, and a day-long hack-a-thon based in California is putting the focus on creativity instead of coding.

A developer in today’s world needs more than engineering, math and tech skills. The process of creating product is also about design-thinking, creativity and communication competencies.

While attending an Adobe Education Leader summit, educator Lisa Gottfried came up with the idea of producing the first-ever Create-a-thon to showcase student creative work.  With sponsorship from Adobe, she was able to launch her initiative, a day-long design challenge workshop in which the best creative work was ultimately presented at the Napa Lighted Art Festival. Students were given an entire day to explore, create, make and share their works of art with international artists in the festival. Gottfried is now in the process of expanding the program.

Lisa Gottfried is recognized internationally for innovation in education. She is an Adobe Education Leader and teaches Digital Design at New Technology High School. She is also an adjunct professor for Touro University, California in the Innovative Education Master’s program.

The Global Search for Education welcomes the Founder of Global Create- a-thon, Lisa Gottfried.

Lisa, what makes Global Create-a-thon unique to other programs like it?

This project is completely student created and student-run. All important decisions are made by the leadership team or the entire class. I, as a teacher, do not own the project as much as I collaborate with the students throughout the program. I and their mentors help the student leaders to navigate the entire project.  This means that the rigor for this project goes up tenfold. Students really own the success of the project and own their own learning in a way they have not experienced with other projects.

Also, where else can students get the chance to have their artwork seen by over 20,000 visitors on a 70-foot-long wall?  It’s one thing to make artwork for your teacher, but when the stakes have been raised this high and the risk is this big, the payoff in student buy-in is palpable.

We’ve made a big effort to make creating artwork as accessible as possible to all students, no matter their skills in art or their skills in digital design.  This project can be done with paper and pencil, or with computers and advanced Adobe software skills, which makes it an exciting way to collaborate with students from around the world, regardless of their access to technology or their technical skills.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced getting schools to participate in your program?

We have had so many educators express interest in participating in our project with their students that recruitment has not been an issue. The challenge has been in getting all our ducks in a row so that we have the right supportive tutorials and clear directions for how to turn work in.  Establishing systems for receiving the work so that we are ready to curate a show has meant that students in charge of the event have had to really think through all the ramifications for every systems decision they make. Our long-term vision for the future is that our show tours different lighted art festivals in major cities around the world.

Continue on to CM Rubin World to read the complete article.

Designing a Safer Football Helmet

LinkedIn
image showing the new design of a football helmet

Private company VICIS and its academic partner, the University of Washington, have created a football helmet that aims to make playing the sport safer.

Designed with a soft shell that acts like a car bumper and vertical struts inside the helmet that bend and buckle, this product seeks to mitigate the forces that lead to concussions and brain injuries.

The innovative project is one of three final winners in Head Health Challenge II, which was part of the Head Health Initiative, a four-year, $60 million collaboration between the NFL, GE and Under Armour to accelerate diagnosis and improve treatment for traumatic brain injury.

The project has received two grants totaling $750,000 for continued research and development.  “Current helmets were designed against skull fracture, they were modeled primarily after motorcycle helmets,” says Dave Marver who is CEO and co-founder of VICIS.

The company started the project as a collaboration with the University of Washington to develop what they called the Zero1 Helmet.

Marver says current versions of football helmets “are not optimized to prevent or mitigate traumatic brain injury or concussion.” He says: “They don’t slow acceleration, which is the force that’s thought to cause concussion.”

The Zero1 helmet has passed the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment tests, which means it can be used on NFL fields. “The Zero1 helmet is designed to address not just linear forces acting upon football players’ heads but also angular and rotational acceleration,” Marver says. “The idea is pretty simple and rooted in physics. If force is the product of mass and acceleration and you can’t change the mass of a football player (football players can deliver up to one ton of force), a helmet must address acceleration if it’s going to impact force.”

Product Features/Technology

  • LODE Shell – Deformable Outer Shell

o Absorbs impact load by locally deforming, like a car bumper. Automotive safety engineers

have used local deformation to protect people for decades.

  • RFLX Layer – A Columnar Structure That Mitigates Impact Forces

o A highly-engineered columnar structure that moves omni-directionally to reduce linear and

rotational forces. This proprietary layer of columns bends and buckles upon impact, making

it effective against both linear and rotational forces. The columnar geometry used in the

RFLX layer is based on principles first described by 18th century Swiss physicist, Leonhard

Euler.

  • Field of View – Industry Leading Field of View

o The VICIS ZERO1 provides a wider field of view than traditional helmets. In laboratory

testing, the ZERO1 was shown to offer players a 212-degree field of view, nearly the

maximum of human peripheral vision (220 degrees). This is nearly 5 degrees more than the

next best traditional helmet and 13 degrees more than another popular traditional helmet.

  • AXIS Fit System® – Custom Fit, Superior Comfort

o One of VICIS’ founders is a neurosurgeon and some of the world’s preeminent neurosurgeons

serve on the company’s scientific advisory board. We incorporated feedback from these neurosurgeons and scores of elite football equipment managers to develop the VICIS AXIS Fit System®, which incorporates head length and width measurements to determine a player’s optimal helmet size.

Source: VICIS