The preconference for Webwise ( began today in downtown Baltimore, MD.  The preconference had different tracks, one more focused on data curation and the other on Engaging Youth in STEM Learning. I attended the STEM preconference. The first talk was by by Milton Chen from the George Lucas Education Foundation. His talk is titled Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our School.

Dr. Chen began the talk by pointing out that there are a lot of jobs out there involve skills that are students are missing such a data mining and technology. He suggested that we need to create an educational learning that give these students these skills.

He pointed out statistics that illustrate that our students are behind, such as:

  • 50 1st-grade students behind in reading, 44 still are behind in 4th grade.
  •  A high school student drops out every 26 seconds (Touch Choices or Tough Times, 2006).
  • California students are 1 year behind US. Schools can’t do it alone.

 One interesting point he brought up was that we need to redefine our vocabulary for the 21st century. What should our new words and vocabulary be?

He highlighted several examples of students engaged in learning with technology. One that I enjoyed the most was called NatureMapping Takes Kids and Technology Outside into Active Learning – from Washington . You can watch the video on the website. While watching it, Dr. Chen asked us to think about the diiferent roles people in the video were taking.  As you watch, notice that there are co-teachers, such as  the community farmers, graduate students, some of the parents, and the students themselves.

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