K-12 Outreach News - 2012

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  • “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a big question for children, and knowing of only a few options can limit their future aspirations. The Telling Your Story (TYS) Workshop seeks to change that, offering children the opportunity to hear the life stories of scientists and engineers in their very own classroom. At the very least, it helps them know that scientists and engineers are interesting people with whom they might like to be friends. And some might just get that inspirational spark to pursue a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) career.

  • On May 30, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology’s (OEIT) STAR program (Software Tools for Academics and Researchers) was awarded a JFYNet Innovation Award for Technology in Education at a ceremony at the Boston State House. The award recognizes significant contributions to the cause of improving high school student achievement through the use of technology. This year’s awards were focused on innovative uses of technology in STEM education and college readiness. The awards are presented by JFYNetWorks, a Boston-based non-profit enterprise that, for the past 12 years, has helped schools effectively use technology to improve student success.

    JFYNET Innovation Award Recipients

    OEIT began a collaborative project with JFYNetWorks and a high school biology teacher at North Shore Technical High School, Shannon Donnelly, in the spring of 2010. The goal was to adapt StarBiochem, a molecular 3-D visualizer developed and used at MIT, to help high school students better understand the four basic biological macromolecules:proteins, sugars, fats, and nucleic acids – a topic that is included in Massachusetts standardized tests. This effort has resulted in the development and implementation of inquiry-based activities that enable high school students to use StarBiochem to explore the molecular structures typically encountered within Introductory Biology and high school biology curricula. Gary Kaplan, Director of JFYNetWorks explained the choice of STAR, “STAR creates vivid, colorful, dynamic online visualizations of molecules so that students can see what they look like in three dimensions [and] manipulate them.”

  • There’s a lot of broken stuff in the world. A lot of it ends up in landfills prematurely. What’s more, most of us can’t imagine opening up and inspecting a complicated electronic device, much less fixing it.