News and Announcements

BLC 2019 is now history. Alan November was, as usual, informative and thought provoking. As were the other keynotes. It is amazing to have watched the development over the 19 years celebrated in 2019!


The 2019 MassCUE/MASCD Conference held at Holy Cross was, by all the comments I heard, a success. Julie Wilson was an engaging speaker and the choice of sessions was huge. My ‘job’ was to greet and thank the vendors who displayed their wares and supported the conference.


How long has it been since I suggested this..I think I was still in high school!

Biology Class Dissections to Get Virtual Treatment

  • By Dian Schaffhauser 01/30/19

Two companies have teamed up to provide students with options to perform real or virtual dissections. Carolina Biological Supplyis working with VictoryVR on the project. The first company provides supplies for science programs in K–12 and higher education; the second company develops virtual reality content in several segments, including education.

While dissections are an integral part of most biology classes, many states now have laws in place that give students the right to opt out of animal dissections. The new solution offers schools an option, starting with a VR frog, which is expected to be available in this quarter. The companies said additional specimens would be released before the end of 2019.

The VR dissection lessons will be led by Wendy Martin, an Iowa high school science teacher, who will exist as a hologram within the virtual experience to teach students how to use the instruments and to walk them through the steps of dissection.

“Frog dissections in science class are a rite of passage for most American students, but as the times change, we are adapting with them,” said Bruce Wilcox, vice president of Carolina Biological, in a statement. “Dissections are an important part of teaching students biology at the high school level and a critical piece of teaching health professionals at the university level. We believe that virtual reality will supplement what we are doing today and be an integral part of learning tomorrow.”

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media’s education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.


The world has merged. In today’s (12/14/18) news came the announcement that Bloom’s Taxonomy is now available digitally! Please google because this new version of WordPress isn’t letting me insert the page.


On December 3, 2018, the Federal Government’s Five Year STEM Plan was presented on a conference call attended by over 200 people (imagine they took half a dozen questions!) This morning Jeff Weld sent me a copy because it was not obvious how to locate it. In an email earlier Jeff wrote “Your influence will be recognizable in it!” As soon as I locate it I will memorialize it (smile). And as soon as I have an understanding of it a little more deeply than as a result of yesterday’s “presentation” I will speak with Jeff, at his suggestion.

Of course, now, a few days later, the plan is all over the news. It is interesting to see reactions.


Given the recent panel at the MassCUE/MASS conference that I organized, this bit of news is interesting and timely.Google to offer machine learning


Please look at this flyer from MIT on Sept 20, 2018 about K-12 Maker Workshops: MIT Maker Workshops Fall 2018


On August 27, 2018, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council invited many past players and current supporters to the State House to plan MA STEM Week, October 12-16, with a follow up session at the STEM Summit in November.

I lost track of the Council and actually thought it had been disbanded…But Rep Kennedy, Sec. Peyser, Lt Gov Polito were there and two of them spoke with me! There were also many old friends.

A website has been established:


Finally, after the time, the planning, the meeting, the convincing etc, it appears that what we wished for is becoming a reality:

Tech in the Classroom


I had to learn this from an email news provider! CITGO_ Boston Red Sox


Deja vu, all over again:  Maine and iPads, redux


ASCD and Boston College and now STEM

The BC experience as a panel member was memorable, especially since ASCD indicated it plans to nurture the relationship…although I tried to connect ASCD to HGSE.

Then came this news on November 3, 2017 in the Globe. There will be a Center of STEM at BC! And note the mention of Boston University!


It gives me great pleasure to announce that the book written by Jeff Weld, my colleague from Iowa, has been published (shipping after July 30, 2017). I contributed a chapter which appears on page 162. Jeff wrote to me…Thanks so much for strengthening our message of access to — and importance of — STEM education for American kids to be life-ready! The book is available (hard copy or e-book) at

Congratulations, Jeff!


From old friends, new possibilities:TERC Hosts 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase, Funded by NSF, to Highlight Innovation in STEM


How very appropriate given the view:

CITGO Lemont Refinery Supports Local STEM Events (PRNewswire) 
During February and March, as a part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline Program, which seeks to increase access to educational opportunities in STEM, the CITGO Lemont Refinery participated in four STEM-related events for area youth. “As a company, we are committed to investing in the next generation of STEM leaders. Partnering with area schools is just one example of how we are encouraging STEM education,” said Jim Cristman, vice president and general manager of the CITGO Lemont Refinery.


And Mass. Outperforms The U.S. In Math, But Has Work To Do To Compete Globally (WBUR) 

Since the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, schools in the state have focused on strengthening students comprehension of so-called STEM topics. The first three areas depend largely on competency in the last one — math. Massachusetts students are doing quite well in the subject overall, but critical gaps remain. One benchmark is the most recent results from testing for the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. It shows the state is tops in the country in math, but when you zoom out and look globally, Massachusetts ranks 20th in the world.


Please save May 12, 2017 for the fourth annual Global STEM Education Symposium at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA starting at 7:30 am until 1 pm. The program will be posted shortly and an Evite will go out to people who have attended previously and other colleagues. If you are interested in attending and have never been involved before, please let me know ( and we will send you the necessary information.


Governor Branstad is retiring after six consecutive terms in office. The STEM Advisory Council is Lt. Gov. Kim

Reynolds’ initiative: Iowa Gov Introduces Program to Prepare Students in STEM. This is from whotv in Des Moines.


What could be better than Lexington High School and technology: THE Journal_Navigating The New Learning Landscape


Sadly, another end of an era: Coalition of Essential Schools


The physicist recommended this article from Nature Sept 2016. It brought back memories of G & T programs tried in MA and of testifying before a commission about the subject now even more interesting because of the STEM implication:how-to-raise-a-genius.


The Children’s Museum in Easton Features New, Interactive STEM Lab

Children of all ages will enjoy a visit to the new STEM Lab at the Children’s Museum in Easton at 9 Sullivan Avenue in North Easton. Through interactive, hands-on activities, children will learn fundamental STEM concepts through creation and play. Contact Outreach Coordinator Krissy Cannizzo for more information about the STEM Lab and other programs.”


This article reflects on STEM schools and what they provide: stem-success-traits.


This is a favorite topic in our household: “physics first”. Not a good sign that so few high schools in the country offer it at all according to a study reported in Ed week.    2 in 5 High Schools Don’t Offer Physics,


Another milestone, of a sad nature, from the Boston Globe: Seymour Papert, pioneer of using computers in education, dies at 88 – What is not included is that at some point he claimed that technology had not achieved its potential. That statement, in my opinion, set back progress in school technology somewhat.  I also, at the time, commented that the laptop per child program was great but why not also include the areas in the US that needed support.

This is the end of an era.


In the words of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council: School+Business Innovation Conference. My thoughts are in the Reflections/Observations page.


Iowa has been in the news:Grant helps elementary schools boost engineering enthusiasm | eSchool News and the Governor’s action:Branstad signs technical education bill at Waterloo community college | The Gazette.


The Third Annual Global STEM Education Center Symposium at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) was, according to all comments very successful! Here are the Proceedings. The video, a gift from HGSE, will be available at and at

We are planning an even more ambitious event in 2017!!!


Mursion and ASCD

This idea has enormous possibilities:” to provide simulation technology for a new institute for school leaders, featuring state-of-the-art, highly interactive simulations that support a leader’s ability to successfully engage in challenging conversations with teachers, parents/guardians, and other education stakeholders.”


On Friday, March 4, 2016, I had the pleasure of speaking about STEM education to a group of educational administrators from Kuwait at Boston University.The Kuwaiti Seminar_3_4_16


Imagine the progress! What we wanted 25 years ago, is now news about what is happening:New schools focus on technology, security, and informal classrooms – The Boston Globe


A confluence between two “goods”: Teachers are using theater and dance to teach math — and it’s working – The Washington Post TEC directions


The Boston Globe ran an article about the MA Economy: : growth/gccY9joWpqwUmeYBIAtzKP/story.html. In response Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks and David Driscoll (former Commissioner of Education wrote this letter: Response to Globe Article


Collaboration and persistence are key in science:Major new discovery allows scientists for the first time to hear the universe – The Boston Globe


The Governor’s Secretary of Education’s Office is now in charge of the STEM Advisory Council. This memorandum was circulated to inform interested parties of the changes which have/will occur: MA STEM Adv Council 2016 focus



The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted yesterday January 26, 2016 to adopt the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Standards. The Department thanks all individuals and groups that provided input, reviewed comments, and suggested edits to the standards. We are grateful for the dedication and expertise of all the educators, scientists, scholars, and other participants who engaged in this endeavor.

The final standards can be found at:

Anticipated Next Steps

  • The Board of Early Education and Care (EEC) is scheduled to vote to adopt the Pre-Kindergarten STE standards on February 9, 2016.
  • The Department will copyedit the full 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. The Frameworkincludes the standards and a variety of additional guidance and supporting materials. We expect to publish and post the completed 2016 STE Curriculum Framework in early spring 2016.

From: Eric Magers   Source: Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology/Engineering Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MSTE)


EdWeek has been a staple in my media collection since its inception. This issue contains good news for MA: 1-20-16 Quality Counts Report, Ed Week


The direction these seem to be taking is interesting:10 Products From CES That Will Impact Education — THE Journal


I have been waiting for a synopsis of the ESSA. This article speaks mainly to the tech side: How ESSA will boost ed-tech funding | eSchool News.

Thanks to ASCD there is such a chart including its own column! Here it is: ESEA_NCLB_Comparison Chart_2015

I am amazed at:

•the explicit prohibition for certain actions by the Secretary of Education.

•the elimination of individual programs, including those that support STEM

Furthermore, eSchool News stated:

“ESSA includes block grants intended for technology, among other uses. “Aside from the E-rate [3], which provides discounts on telecommunications services, internet access, and the internal connections needed to bring the internet into classrooms, schools haven’t had a dedicated source of federal funding for technology since the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program was last funded in 2010.”


This is the first I have seen of this federal department and what attracted my attention is the subject matter:


A new Ohio State University study asks: Where are all the girls? Gender roles, career stereotypes to be challenged at 3 middle schools.


Money talks, finally:Teacher Prep Gets Major Funding from Gates Foundation — THE Journal


We knew enough not to blame the technology: Current Realities Of Ed Tech Use. We also know how important money is for schools.


Another milestone reached! High Stakes Computer Testing Reaches Tipping Point — THE Journal.


Museum of Science, Boston Commits $200K to Create Scholarships for Elementary Teachers in STEM Professional Development (Business Wire)

The Museum of Science, Boston today announced a new initiative to bring high-quality professional development to elementary teachers at high-needs schools nationwide. The Museum is investing $200,000 to create a scholarship program that will help elementary teachers integrate engineering in their classrooms, using the award-winning Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) curriculum, developed at the Museum’s National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®). “We are very excited to offer elementary educators the Museum’s own scholarship program,” says Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis.


Just announced: $800K Study To Test Efficacy of Digital Learning Tool — THE Journal


And this might be helpful:Current Realities Of Ed TechUse_Infographic_ResearchBrief


This news is heartening, especially since I spoke with several people at my undergraduate alma mater about the role of STEM: Cornell_STEP program


This article seems particularly apropos given yesterday’s (November 10, 2015) MA STEM Summit:ACT meets STEM


The Boston Globe ran this article on October 27, 2015: Some states deserve better rankings.  With all the current furor around testing, this is useful information.


STEM Education Act Clears Congress. Last week Congress passed the bipartisan STEM Education Act (H.R. 1020), clearing the way for the bill to go to the President for signature. The bill would expand federal grants and programs related to STEM education to include computer science, support competitive merit-reviewed grants for informal STEM education (such as at museums, science centers or afterschool programs), and expand eligibility for the Noyce Teacher Program.

Policy Alert, AAAS October 9, 2015


And this article:New Federal Law Means Computer Science Is Officially Part of STEM – Curriculum Matters – Education Week…..Really???


Interesting and about time: An article from Education Week by Robert Pondiscio and Kate Stringer (10/12/2015) is entitled “Deans for Impact Group aims to reform Ed Schools From Within.” It would not upload so you will need to go to the EdWeek website.


This annual conference is the result of several years of collaboration between MASS and MassCUE…one of several collaborations we are working on.

Visit to sign up for the “Dare To Innovate-MassCUE/M.A.S.S. Fall Conference” at Gillette Stadium on October 21 and October 22, 2015. It is a great place to find out what is happening and could happen in schools vis a vis the use of technology.


More sad news: The “Northeast STEM Regional Network, funded by the MA Department of Higher Education and hosted by the UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education since 2004, will cease operation effective immediately due to lack of funding and loss of university sponsorship.”

More fall out from the hold placed on the MA Gov STEM Advisory Council.


The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council met on September 15, 2015. I was fortunate to fill in as a panelist that morning. The next day I spent at the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District at the invitation of the Superintendent, John Carver. One of the activities was speaking to the communications person, Keri Schatz, who was kind enough to send me the transcript of the taped interview. One of the difficulties is that we do not speak as we write and vice versa so the language is not as elegant as I would like. But the content is there and will be available in the school district and perhaps other outlets. For Immediate Release- IKZ in Iowa. You can see for yourself!

Also the Lieutenant Governor approved the creation of a Global STEM Advisory Committee to the Council which I will co-lead and which has begun formation.


Joyce Plotkin sent an email announcing the end of the program: 2014-2015 DIGITS ANNUAL REPORT


As I emailed Steve Vinter, Congratulations! It is amazing how much impact Mass CAN has had: Legislature restores full funding to computer science education initiative.


The good news is that it is a STEM school in Boston. The bad news is that a piece of history is being eliminated: City moving ahead with plan with STEM school, from The Boston Globe.


Building Learning Communities 2015, Alan November’s annual conference took place this July at the newly renovated Park Plaza Hotel. My presentation, a modification of one Jeff Weld, Larisa Schelkin and I presented in DC last year, was attended by about 50 people: States Learning From Each Other.  Please note that if you are interested in using any of these ideas, I would appreciate your contacting me.


The following is not news and yet it is: Family Income and College Major

Since JFY Networks is engaged with the Accuplacer, this news is worth reading:ACT drops popular Compass placement test, acknowledging its predictive limits.


This Report: 6 of 10 Millennials Have ‘Low’ Technology Skills — THE Journal is quite disconcerting. But Change The Equation has a take on it: VitalSigns_TechBrief



The second annual Global STEM Education Symposium took place on Friday, May 29.  The program featured many interesting and influential people in the field. The subject was Global STEM Education in an Innovation-driven 21st century Global Workforce: Global STEM Symp_HGSE_May 29_2015. More pictures can be found at

The proceedings will be available shortly. But to retain the history, here is the proceedings document from  last year: Global STEM Symposium Proceedings_May_2_2014


The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council met in DesMoines. It was a very interesting and well planned program, attended by about 600 people (including me). The Lt. Gov stayed with the Council all day and the Governor (Iowa kicks off STEM conference) held a press conference before the summit started and the stayed for half the day. Iowa is moving ahead with STEM in a deliberate, engaging and inclusive manner.


Support from the President: White House STEM Initiative 2015_NYTimes


Representative Kennedy’s leadership of the STEM Advisory Council is a positive contribution to its success. He has spoken out about the importance of including EVERYONE in the move to improve STEM education: Expanding the Conversation on STEM


The news about Net Neutrality has been all over the media. This is a brief article about it from the Washington Post: Your guide to net neutrality: Everything you need to know about today’s FCC vote.


Another view of global STEM education State of Digital Skills in the UK. Complementary to the next article.

This is not news to many of us but it is  distressing and should be motivating. U.S. Millennials Come Up Short in Global Skills Study. From Education Week.


THE Journal reported on Feb 11, 2015 that there is a movement among legislators to make Computer Science Count for Language Requirement.


George Zimmerman and I were notified on January 30 that our manuscript entitled “Where Do Our Students Encounter Materials- Everywhere and Rarely”  has been accepted for publication in the 2014 MRS Fall Meeting proceedings.

In keeping with theme, he keeps finding interesting articles to support the work of improving STEM education. This is from the New York Academy of Sciences:The Global STEM Paradox


This article from the Lowell Sun speaks for itself: Representative Kennedy stops by MCC to soak in STEM education success firsthand.

This one comes from the Southeast STEM Network and speaks to what I started. In fact, FEEE (The Foundation for Excellence in Education in Easton) which raises support in the community for technology was started on my watch. I have been invited to the anniversary celebration in March.Congressman Kennedy & Marcy Read visit Easton


The comes from our colleague on the Global STEM Education Committee of the MA Governor’s STEM Advisory Council:

Massachusetts Maritime has begun its annual sea term (600 college students go to sea for 45 days each Jan-Feb). This program is connected to MA middle schools through Massachusetts Maritime’s “Follow the Voyage” program. Although the work cuts across the curriculum, the focus is on STEM education.  (


The first of several actions from the new administration: New Gov names Ed Secretary

This is a move by the outgoing administration. It is a disappointment to me: MA Gov STEM Advisory Council 2015 and yet The Global STEM Education Committee of the MA Gov STEM Advisory Council was authorized in the fall of 2014 and had its first meeting on Sept 15 before the meeting of the whole Council. I am the chair.

We defined Global STEM in this way: STEM work now and in the future will be characterized by teamwork/collaboration across geographies and cultures and with the use of cutting edge communication and other technologies to solve critical challenges and problems faced by the world. All students need to acquire the necessary knowledge base and skills and practice them so they become proficient in all these dimensions.

For students to be able to achieve this proficiency, their teachers must be equally educated and supported: understanding and working with diversity of all kinds, with technology and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The members are: Fran McDonald, Captain at MassMaritime Academy, Antonio Pagan (CELT), Larisa Schelkin (Global STEM Education Center ED), Richard Tharin (MS, RAC, Chief Executive Officer, Eureka International Regulatory Services, LLC) and Gary Beach (Author, “U.S.Technology Skills Gap”, Publisher Emeritus, CIO Magazine, Guest Columnist, The Wall St Journal).

Through the Superintendents’ Listserv I sent this questionnaire: Global STEM Education Baseline Survey to all members and received a few responses which we will analyze and report out. We also received two offers to join the Committee.

At the moment, the Council is on hold.


This is disappointing news from two people we know who sent this to us in the JFYNetWorks email on Dec 17, 2014 : Too Few MA College Graduates from the web


iRobot builds a vacuum-free Roomba for students to hack (We know a VP at the company!!)

BY REX SANTUS, December 16, 2014

Robotics developer iRobot launched its latest “hackable” robot for aspiring developers last week.

The Create 2 might look like a Roomba — which iRobot manufactures too — but it’s actually a lookalike, one that isn’t necessarily meant for cleaning jobs.

Roomba vacuums have the potential to be a good base for robots — because of the sensors that they use to maneuver around a room, for one thing. Unlike Roombas, the Create 2 is designed specifically with robot makers in mind.

SEE ALSO: 9 jobs robots could replace in 2015 (See below in case the link dies)

The latest device is the successor to the iRobot Create, which has been available since 2007. Since it was relatively cheap to buy, the Create was a good starter option for people with a knack for robotics.

The issue with the old Create is that all of its electronic bits weren’t up to preferred safety standards, iRobot founder and CEO Colin Angle told IEEE Spectrum. That creates a pretty big problem because it couldn’t be sold outside the U.S. And 2007 wasn’t exactly yesterday, so it was due for an update regardless.

9 jobs robots could replace in 2015 (from Mashable), December 17, 2014

Cleaning person, Teacher, Athlete, Hospital worker or nurse, Sales clerk, Hotel concierge, Actor, Airplane pilots:

The question for humans is which of these jobs do we want performed by a robot?


At one time we listed the STEM labelled schools in MA. TECCA is one such. This item comes from The Journal. We still have this version: MA STEM Schools 2012. When we tried to update the list, we went to Google (which we had used before) and were overwhelmed by the number of citations currently. Something that was not available back in 2012 is a review of comprehensive high schools which offer STEM opportunities and a process to determine what makes a good STEM school. This article seems useful: What is a STEM school?


It is always good to have the President of the United States supporting a movement with you:Pres Obama_adds $28 Million for STEM Ed.


The UK has the same problem we do: Teenagers turned off ‘difficult’ subjects such as science


Joan Thormann’s and my book, The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Designing and Teaching Online Courses, was just declared a Best Book of 2014/Editors’ Favorite Books of the Year by Amazon. It is both a paperback and an ebook!!! Amazon Best Book.


On October 22, 2014 at the MA STEM Summit, this presentation was made as part of a panel about Global STEM Education. The objective was to get people engaged in global STEM education and the new committee of the Council by that name. STEM Summit present Oct 2014

Also there is now a report on the Summit: The Eleventh Summit in Photos


The Oct 19, 2014 edition of the Globe ran a wonderful article about a member of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. The article is worth reading:Wentworth educating engineers who form the backbone of innovation economy.


At the Triangle Coalition meeting in Washington, DC on October 9, 2014, Jeff Weld, Larisa Schelkin and I presented a session entitled Learning From Each Other, the story of two states’ sharing of STEM development.


At the Boston STEM Network meeting on September 17, 2014, members of the BPS demonstrated the Bee-Bots. STEM’s newest darling: Robotics. They are a delight to play with and obviously useful for teaching and learning!!!

Yet another story worth reading: Coding for Kindergarteners.


From Boston Sunday Globe, another step in the right direction:Girls flex math muscles at MIT


This is a great opportunity for students to observe and explore: The Flying Classroom to Teach STEM


The TIME Magazine edition, September 22,2014, features many responses to the Apple announcement of the new watch and the iPhone 6. On page 16 there is an article: Disruptive tech is changing how kids learn. On page 41 there is an article about Apple’s new watch and its potential impact.

And a School Committee member once questioned why the school district was buying Apple products!!!


The E-Rate program has been Revamped E-Rate Policies_EdWeek_8_6_14 by the FCC.

Also in the same issue: U.S. to Rejoin TIMSS_Ed Week


Science from Scientists  just announced a new ED and an updated website:


Given my attachment to Iowa, this news story caught my eye:

STATE OF IOWA – Committed to Million Women Mentors ( 

The state of Iowa is proud to join the national movement Million Women Mentors (MWM). Iowa is deeply committed to leveraging the strong work ethic in our state by bringing MWM to all 99 counties across the state. We are actively engaging women (and men) to serve as mentors in STEM and MWM. With that in mind, the MWM Iowa effort brings together leaders of education, government, and industry to engage girls and young women to understand, develop interest, and gain confidence so they can pursue and succeed in STEM courses, degrees, and careers. “MWM mentors can guide, encourage, and open doors for girls and young women to be fully equipped for the great jobs of tomorrow in STEM-related careers,” said Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

STEMdaily News Alert- July 30, 2014 IT Initiative Enlists Women in Computing and Google reaches out to girls.

From the Boston Globe, July, 2014: Elite male professors train fewer women biologists.

From the Boston Globe, June 30, 2014: Google reaches out to girls. This is a parallel commentary to an article appearing in Campus Technology:IT Initiative Enlists Women in Computing.

From the Boston Globe, June 16, 2014. Both Mark Racine and Leo Brehm were panelists at the CED presentation in Burlington. See Reflections and Observations.  This story is entitled: Most Massachusetts schools lack enough technology for state online testing system.


ASEE to Honor Museum of Science President Ioannis Mialoulis and National Center for Technological Literacy At its 2014 annual conference, the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) recognized Ioannis Mialoulis for his leadership at the Museum of Science, Boston and the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL). Mialoulis, who serves at the museum’s president, founded the NCTL in 2004 to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education across all levels, especially in elementary schools. ASEE President Kenneth Galloway will present the President’s Award to Miaoulis and NCTL, jointly, during a conference plenary session on Monday, June 16. (From The Triangle Coalition, June 6, 2014).


The Boston STEM Network released its first report “Assessing the State of STEM in Boston“. “The report provides a baseline measure of BPS students’ achievement and interest in STEM subjects and careers.  The report also describes system capacity to offer informal or out-of-school time STEM opportunities to BPSstudents through partnerships with community-based, higher education, and industry providers.”


EDC, in conjunction with NSF and the office of Representative Joseph Kennedy, mounted the  “STEM Smart: Pathways to Middle-Skill Occupations and Beyond” meeting on May 12at the Olin College of Engineering.

The goals were:

  • Identify and highlight a group of effective practices and resources used to promote STEM middle-skills preparation
  • Inform and support dialogue among stakeholders from CTE schools, community colleges, business, and the policy and research arenas about the substantive issues and related research and resources
  • Encourage reflection on how to integrate new information into future research and practice to impact positive change

Jeff Weld, our colleague from Iowa was present and moderated a breakout session on mentorships. Check out: ________________

STEM again in the news on April 16, 2014:Siemens donates $660M in software to Massachusetts technical schools &colleges The Boston Globe.

The news is good. The Boston Globe ran a story on March 31 about a New STEM School in Boston. ___________________

At the Metro North STEM Network (the eight MA STEM network) kick-off meeting on February 28, 2014, Keith Connors presented the  STEM Pipeline Fund History. The K-12 influencing Higher Education as Six colleges flip STEM classrooms. The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation describes how it created a Network of STEM Teacher Leaders. If you have been watching the Olympics, figure skating in particular, you will enjoy this analysis of the sport through physics.

The Boston Globe of February 18, 2014 contains a story about Representative Kennedy’s first year and includes the following paragraph: “The newest Kennedy in public life mocks his own lack of experience; casts himself as just another freshman Democrat, lower profile than most; and defers to colleagues from both parties. He is building a reputation for delving into unglamorous subjects; his favorite topic: STEM, an acronym favored by education policy wonks, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” If you want to read the entire article: Newest Kennedy in Congress charts different path from hard-charging father – Politics – The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe of February 17, 2014 contains several stories of interest to STEM educators and leaders: • Stem cell discovery highlights a transformation in biology  • Athenaeum conservators work to restore past for future reference • After criticisms, MIT vows to aid students with legal resource  • Just 2 percent of news is about science, technology US report finds  • New England slow to adopt virtual schools  __________

President Obama announced a plan called ConnectED which addresses all the elements needed to ensure successful use of technology in schools: infrastructure with “upgraded connectivity” , improving teaching (including new digital tools and educational software) and devices for kids. These are the same concepts that BEST promoted in the old days! Go to __________

From the Boston Globe, Jan 31, 2014…CEOs seek better Internet access in classrooms . Memories of the past looking forward to the future. _____________________

A sectarian high school in White Plains, NY has converted to digital texts except for books on religion. At a recent meeting sponsored by Pearson at the MIT Media Lab, the discussion centered around how to provide digital resources and from my perspective what kind of an app can de developed to help students (and teachers and parents) track growth in learning and identify areas needing more work. _______________________

Two stories from the Boston Globe, December 16, 2013 Harvard study finds learning music doesn’t make you smarter and Using iPads to understand science  ———————————

Both the MA and Iowa STEM Advisory Councils have new brand logos. You can find MA’s on page 9. You can find Iowa’s on this page.

If you want to explore the PISA results, go to We heard Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finish Lessons, speak at the NEASCD conference last week in Boston (he remembered that he missed meeting with our group of Superintendents when we were in Finland a year ago). His presentation was illuminating and underlined what we learned ourselves. It is the culture that makes the difference. _________________________

In the Boston Globe, December 9, 2013, an article about an MIT program that helps minority high schoolers: MIT and Science Students _________________________

From the Boston Globe but reflecting what we have been doing as well as part of MassCAN’s efforts, this article tells a great story about Teaching Algebra Through Computer Coding. _________________________

From Inside Higher Ed, an article about Online Learning_Credential Completion. _________________________

Now that Harvard has many students interested in Computer Science (CS50 is a CS course ), can the rest of the world be far behind? It appears that advocacy has some efficacy. _________________________

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy presented its Condition of Education in the Commonwealth 2013 DATA  at an event at the Parker House on November 21, 2013 which included: the three Chairs of the Boards of Education: JD Chesloff, ECC, Maura Banta, ESE and Charlie Desmond, HE. Chad d’Entremont, Executive Director of the Center described this as the beginning of a process to track improvement. An eloquent call from the floor reminded everyone that the data should include all aspects of child development, that is, we should be educating the whole child (an MASCD value). Secretary of Education, Matt Malone concluded the session with remarks about the movement he has seen and the sense that everyone does want to work together for the good of all our children. _________________________

The 2013 MA STEM Summit was the scene of the announcement of the 2013- Massachusetts STEM Plan 2.0, Expanding the Pipeline for All. A full strand (three sessions with a prerecorded message from Rep. Joseph Kennedy) was devoted to it. Two observations were made several times that should be reflected in v2.0: the role of parents in encouraging STEM education and the inclusion of Computer Science as part of STEM. _________________________

EdWeek reports that “most states in the US surpass the global average”: U.S. Math, Reading Achievement Edges Up, But Gaps Remain The 2013 STEM Summit at Gillette Stadium on November 13 is fully subscribed. STEM Plan V2.0 will be released and explored. The Governor is expected to be present. Purdue University seems to get it. Teaching a new kind of STEM. GTEC presented at the MassCUE/MASS Conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

From the Boston Globe the story in March 2013 about the Closing of K-8 cyber school leaves an opening for others. The Virtual High School which started in Hudson (Acton-Boxborough missed a chance to be a charter member because of a delayed phone call!!!) still thrives.

The time has come again. This will be the 17th  annual Northeast ASCD Affiliate Conference. I was involved in planning and mounting the first 16! In 2013 the theme is Learning and Leading: Excellence MattersAs usual it will be at Boston Park Plaza Hotel. On September 25, 2013 

At the Askwith Forum of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Anant Agarwal  spoke about reinventing education through edX, “the mission of which is to expand access to education for everyone, enhance teaching and learning on campus and online, and advance teaching and learning through research.”  Some elements of the platform EdX has devised allow the kind of instruction which many of us know is what is required but heretofore were not able to access through the technology. Read more:

The Boston Globe (9/30/13) ran a story entitled  Life on the other side of the Nobel Prize. I was at UMass when Craig Mello received his prize. He was extremely generous about allowing the UMass President’s Office to use his home town school (it helped that Tony Bent was the Superintendent) to tape a session with Shrewsbury high school students in the cable studio. Craig insisted on having students present and interacting with him to achieve the goal of exploring how one becomes a scientist. Thank you, Dr. Mello.

We attended  LearnLaunchx’s First Demo Day and  are excited about the organization and the ventures it is supporting.

Since we believe that starting STEM early in a child’s education, we found this article extremely interesting: How to Choose the Best Apps for Young Learners — THE Journal

Recognition is always desirable as in this case reported in EdWeek, September 10, 2013: Principal of the Year Focused on STEM, Business Partnerships 

Among the first and best served were those needing accessibility. Say it isn’t so, Boston Globe, September 9, 2013. Read the opinion piece entitled: Digital Education Must be accessible to those with disabilities. Who would have thought when we started to convince schools that computers would be great instructional tools?

The Boston Globe, September 5, 2013,  reports on Controlling ubiquitous devices. And that they would be portable and pervasive in schools?  Beyond the iPad: Schools’ Choices In Tablets Grow | MindShift

A new Digital History Museum is in the works according to Boston Globe, August 31, 2013. Some of us experienced that phenomenon ourselves as we purchased the next iteration of the device. In my case, the schools I was working in received the prior version as a gift.

STEM Summit 2013 on November 13 at Gillette Stadium included a strand about the STEM Plan V2.0 which Lance Hartford and I co-led. We are now working with Allison Scheff, the recently appointed Executive Director of STEM at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Shades of Search4STEM are appearing in many places.

“…[T]his fall the Carnegie Science Center will be giving parents their own STEM roadmap.” Look for an article entitled How to Get Your School Ready for STEM This Year available from Mind/Shift

The future of the Common Core, August 16, 2013….New education standards face growing opposition – Nation – The Boston Globe

Please look at the Eight Digital Skills Students Need for the Future

The 2013 MA STEM Summit was held on November 13, 2013 at Gillette Stadium. A major strand dealt with the MA STEM Plan v2.0. We are expecting over 1000 attendees.

Alternative routes to a teaching career  – The Boston Globe, July 14, 2013 Computer Science in MA is on the Boston Globe’s front page! July 3, 2013…See “Barriers to Broader Computer Education.” Also in June 13, 2013 Boston Globe: Technology companies go to Beacon Hill to advocate Tech COs urge CS actions Please look at #10…High STEM Ratings

From June 11, 2013 Boston Globe In the Special Projects section of this website there is a reference to TechHub. That group has morphed into MassCAN which was featured in this issue in an article headlined “Tech leaders push for computer standards in Mass public schools – Business – The Boston Globe.”

From June 10, 2013 Boston Globe Two stories are worth reading: Northeastern’s 3-D printing lab and IRobot-5ft visual

About the future of the STEM Advisory Council in MA Lt. Gov. Tim Murray announced on May 29, 2013, at a State House event for the Council, the news that Congressman Joseph Kennedy will chair the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council. “Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Murray, Massachusetts has received national recognition and has emerged as a leader in promoting STEM education.” Congressman Kennedy is currently the state’s only member serving on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The last meeting of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council during the tenure of Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray was held on May 23, 2013 at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. The Lieutenant Governor was lauded for his strong leadership of STEM in MA and he expressed appreciation for the work of the Council. One of the reports included should help stakeholders to evaluate STEM programs. A_Program_Directors_Guide_to_Evaluating_STEM_Education_Programs.Here are two articles that appeared in the local media: T

The Council prepared an assessment of v 1.0 if the state STEM plan so that v2.0 can be developed in time for announcement at the MA STEM Summit on November 13 at Gillette Stadium. Lance Hartford, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation and I were the co-chairs of this task.

This is the presentation given at the meeting.STEM Proposed Process, 5_21_13 Education Week, April 17, 2013, features an article by Larry Cuban, who has not always been a supporter of the use of technology for teaching and learning, accompanied by a slide show of ads promising that technology will be theeducational answer!

Check out the Next Generation Science Standards

News from the State House, March 5, 2013 announced at the STEM Advisory Council meeting:

1.      Pioneer Valley (aka PV STEMNET) –  Award $39,780 The Pioneer Valley STEM Network, in partnership with afterschool and informal STEM providers such as the Region I Educator and Provider Support Network of the MA Department of Early Education and Care, the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) and other youth groups such as Girl Scouts and 4H’s, will use the incentive funds towards the development of strategies to support sustainable high quality informal science and engineering education opportunities in Out-of School Time (OST) programs.  These strategies will include the creation of a database of expert consultants and volunteers who are available to the OST community; training of OST staff by academic researchers on the implementation of project based experiential learning that complements, not duplicates, the traditional school day; and extensive online resources to enable OST staff to work with students on original research projects. Funding will also be dedicated to the development of on-line resources for use by OST programs both inside and outside of the Pioneer Valley.  This model of partnerships and alignment will be written up by the Network for a larger-scale program and for efforts to obtain federal funding. The grant award is $39,780 with an additional $60,000+ secured by the Network through in-kind support.

2.      Boston STEM Network – Award $57,037    The Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) in partnership with the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) proposes to conduct a pilot study utilizing student interest and program quality evaluation tools developed by Harvard University’s Program in Education and Afterschool Resiliency (PEAR) with the primary objective to scale regional STEM networks’ capacity to promote and implement data collection strategies while also helping to advance program quality in the out-of-school time (OST) community.  This pilot project builds upon work already started by the Boston STEM Network and leverages recent Noyce Foundation & Charles Stewart Mott Foundation investments in MAP’s Afterschool & STEM System Building Grant Proposal.  This project also nicely complements the proposed project by the Pioneer Valley.   The Boston STEM Network proposal was submitted in partnership with three other STEM Networks Metro West, Northeast and Central.  The grant award is $57,037 with an additional $23,000 secured by the Network through in-kind support.

3.      Northeast STEM Network – Award $43,183 The Northeast STEM Network plans to create a distributed system for their award-winning webzine called, STEM Matters, by partnering and sharing their webzine with the other six regional STEM Networks. STEM Matters looks and feels like a website, but functions like a magazine. Each issue focuses on a specific real world theme. Thus far, the Northeast has produced and distributed seven issues on topics like the STEM of Chocolate, Music and Sports. All six Networks committed to collaborate in this effort and to take responsibility for the content of one issue each. Responsibilities will include deciding on that issues’ theme, working with the other networks to secure regional content which aligns with, and supports, the theme and working with the NE STEM Network to produce the webzine for website publication on each Networks individual websites.    The grant award is $43,183. _________________

The Pioneer Valley Network through the vigilance of Mort Sternheim, the Director, distributes information through updates daily, sometimes even more than once a day. Check out _______________________ MA State legislators launched a tech industry caucus, following a prior caucus about STEM a number of years ago. The Sunday Globe, March 10, 2013 ran two articles about the state of technology in education: Wi-Fi for schools south of Boston. The article highlighted Milton schools gear up for Wi-Fi. The community and the school district are working together in a productive campaign. I hope the Globe reviews the other sectors of the Commonwealth and their state of wifi! ___________________________________ And then there is this announcement from Amplify: ..a tablet specifically designed for teaching and learning. —————————————— The February 27, 2013 issue of Education Week  has an article EdWeek_State Councils Propel STEM Education about state STEM Councils and their impact and includes both Massachusetts and Iowa. _____________________________

Online /Digital Education In late December 2012, the MA Legislature passed the Virtual Schools Bill–  An Act establishing commonwealth virtual schools   HD4274  Alice Peisch of Wellesley, Chair of Education Comm, was the lead sponsor. From the DESE website: “On January 2, 2013, Governor Patrick signed into law Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, “An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools.” (G.L. c. 71, § 94.) The new law authorizes the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) to adopt regulations and, through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), to oversee the establishment and operation of publicly funded, high quality virtual schools in the Commonwealth. The new statute is responsive to the position the Board adopted in 2011: that there should be a stronger oversight and consumer protection role for the state than the one provided by the innovation school statute. Under the new law, approval by the Board is required to establish a virtual school serving students from more than one district. As with charter schools, the Board will make the final decision on whether to grant a certificate, based upon my recommendation.” A provision of the act grandfathers in an existing virtual school based in the Greenfield Public School System, that focuses on k to 8 students as follows: “The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield (MAVA) shall be awarded a certificate to operate a CMVS upon submission of a timely application in response to the first RFP issued. MAVA’s response must include the information specified in the new statute at G.L. c. 71, § 94(b). If the Board awards it a certificate, MAVA must enroll at least two percent of its students from Greenfield for the period of the initial certificate.” _____________

About students in High School and success in STEM… Several recent recent contradictory articles have appeared. Here is the discouraging one: Many High Schoolers Giving Up on STEM – STEM Education ( And another for contrast from Education Week, Published Online: February 5, 2013.More Students’ Drawn to STEM—But Fewer Girls _______________

At the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council meeting at Fitchburg State University on December 13, 2012, the Lt. Governor made the announcement about the next phase of @Scale project approvals. They are: ABLE 4 STEM: University of Massachusetts statewide system and the state’s Community College system        BATEC: Big Data        STEM Power Network: Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board (WIB)        Western Regional Partnership: Berkshire and Pioneer Valley        STEM Pathways Project: MCLA  The 30th Anniversary celebration of MassCUE at the MassCUE/MASS Conference at Gillette Stadium, October 24 and 25, 2012 is now history. I had the good fortune to be asked to provide a historic review for the assemblage,  numbered at 1500 people. Composing the presentation allowed me to speak and exchange emails with colleagues with whom I had not been in contact for some time, an additional pleasure.  Here are the two components of the presentation:  MassCUE 30 Anniv. Narrative and the accompanying PPT. We also gave a presentation about Search4STEM. And repeated it with an expanded section  about the MA STEM Advisory Council work at the TIE conference by Skype on January 17,2013. TIE presentation ––––––––––––––––––––

At the Triangle Coalition’s meeting in Washington DC on October 1 and 2, 2012, we presented an Overview of the MA STEM initiative and the Governance Model as part of a panel of state STEM leaders organized by Jeff Weld of Iowa.Check out this story dated December 25, 2012 about the educational value of current science toys, entitled Safer science toys leave some nostalgic for old days – Business – The Boston Globe. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––

FINLAND & SWEDEN October 2012 A group of 30, mostly Superintendents, spent a week visiting Finland and Sweden to view schools, speak with higher education representatives and meet policy makers. Led by Primary Source and supported by Education First, this was a fast paced exposure to three schools (two in Finland and one in Sweden). The schools we visited are not what I would call typical. Nonetheless, Finland is significantly different in education from the US while Sweden is much more like the US in culture and attitude toward education.


The picture was taken in front of the  Victor Ryberg  Gymnasium near Stockholm. This is a summary of my observations: Schools in Finland & Sweden 2012 ––––––––––––––––

Please check out the Spring 2012 issue of MASCD PerspectivesRe-Envisioning Education for Purposeful Learning. In addition to articles by Jon Saphier and Paul Reville, there is a piece called “Recognizing and Accessing our Past”. A colleague wrote: “On Tuesday, June 19, (2012) the Board of Higher Education voted to make two amendments to the science requirement for the admission standards to state colleges and universities. The first amendment, effectively immediately, recognizes technology/engineering courses that are taken for science credit in high school as meeting the science requirement for admission to state public higher education institutions. As part of adopting this change, state higher education institutions need to see that technology/engineering courses taken for science credit are of high academic quality. This means that such courses should meet several criteria: 1. Be significantly aligned to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and employ scientific and mathematics content; 2. Be academic and not vocational in nature; 3. Be offered for science credit after review by the district as meeting district guidelines for science courses; and 4. Be equivalent to a full year of learning. The second amendment, effective for the college freshman class entering in fall 2017, sets the expectation that all 3 science courses be designated as lab courses.The current expectation for admission to state colleges and universities is that students have 3 science courses, “including 2 courses with laboratory work.” The new standard will expect 3 science courses, “including 3 courses with laboratory work.” Please note that a similar issue with NCAA review of high school technology/engineering courses taken for science credit was resolved back in 2006. For NCAA submissions similar criteria must be addressed, particularly the inclusion of materials that clearly show the course is an academically-focused science course. These amendments recognize the innovative and necessary work districts are doing to prepare students in the range of science disciplines and engage them in STEM-oriented experiences so valued in Massachusetts. These amendments also achieve greater alignment between the state’s recommended program of studies, MassCore, and the state’s higher education admissions standards.” ––––––––––––––––

On Sunday, June 17, 2012, the Boston Globe ran two classified that reflect the work many of us have been doing for many years!

  1. Lowell PS is looking for a STEM District Support Specialist
  2. Grafton PS is looking for a Technology Teacher (Integration Specialist for 1:1 iPad program)

For those who remember BEST (Business and Education for Schools and Technology) the second represents what the group worked toward for many years. The first can be construed as a statement that the MA STEM plan is working! –––––––––––––––––––

Joan Thormann, my colleague from Lesley University and I completed work on a book, entitled The Complete Guide to Designing and Teaching Online Courses which is now available from Teachers College Press, Columbia University and It was #2 several times in the first month of publication on the list of top technology books. ––––––––––––––––

With the advent of the Massachusetts STEM ECHS (Early College High School) Initiative Schools, we updated our list of  STEM schools in MA. ––––––––––––––––

The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education released Year One RACE TO THE TOP IN MASSACHUSETTSOne development that MBAE points out is that “planning grants have been awarded to six communities to establish STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) early college high schools where students can earn credits toward, or even complete, an associate’s degree or certificate while earning their high school diploma.” The College Board has posted JFY Networks’ ACCUPLACER Readiness presentation on its website. You can view the presentation Making Meaningful Interventions––––––––––––––––––

MOVING ON THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS) Impacting the Future from the Hunt Institute sets the process in context and features four states’ stories, including Massachusetts. ARE WE USING THE CORRECT CRITERIA? ARE WE USING THE TECHNOLOGY INTELLIGENTLY This article, Technology in Schools Faces Questions on Value from the NYTimes  should make us all think again. HOW SCIENCE SHOULD BE TAUGHT  A new National Academies’ report about improving U.S. science education reflects research that suggests that science should be taught in connection to how it applies to the real world and to what scientists and engineers actually do professionally. SCIENCE LABORATORY GUIDELINES  The MA School Building Authority (MSBA) recently posted new guidelines for science labs for new construction or renovations. Their recommendations can be found on their websiteDIGITAL CONTENT GUIDE Please go to to view this publication from the Center for Digital Education, Dell and Microsoft, published in June 2011. It is also available as a hard copy booklet.

2010 SAT STEM Interest Data for Massachusetts The pdfs in this section, provided as a working draft by the Donahue Institute include: A 2010 Summary of STEM Pipeline2010 Occupations & Interest Test-takers who are Interested in STEM majors, but not quite prepared (prepared = completing 3 years of science and 4 years of math; “near prepared” = needing to add 1 more year of science and/or math coursework to become prepared); and Test-takers who are Prepared for STEM majors, but not quite interested in them (interested = a STEM field was the test-taker’s first choice for a college major; “near interested” = while the test-taker’s first choice was not a STEM field, at least one of their second-fifth choices were). Observations: interest is higher, but preparation is lower, in lower income schools. In higher income schools, interest is lower, but preparation is higher. A core of 10 high schools account for 12.6% (one in eight) of “near prepared” students. A core of 11 high schools account for 12.0% of “near interested” students. Thanks to Jean Supel and John Hodgman for this analysis. The Lieutenant Governor released the MA STEM Plan 9 28 10 (version 1.0 based on the work of STEM Advisory Council’s Subcommittees) at the STEM Summit in Sturbridge on September 28, 2010.

  • From eSchool News:

How to fix the STEM education ‘crisis’

Two reports re: science in schools & business support–

MASSIP 2009 report

From Converge Magazine

See story about Lt. Governor Tim Murray and other MA Superstars

Also see Mass Biotech Council’s Newsletter a Q & A with Tim Murray

News Archive

Please check out the news archive for past news.

Boston, Massachusetts
©2010 IKZ Advisors — all rights reserved.