Helping teachers spark students’ interest in science and math

Yesterday I had the honor of representing Intel in a small meeting with President Obama, the Vice President and Dr. Biden (a professor of English) prior to the public announcement around the “Educate to Innovate” campaign. The President met with just three technology companies and two University representatives to thank us for our continued commitment to STEM education in the U.S. All of us in the room recognize the importance of public/private alignment and cooperation if we are truly going to turn the tide on science and math education in our country. U.S. 15 years olds rank 21st among nations in Science and 25th in Math achievement and we all recognize that our future – the future of U.S. competitiveness, our standard of living and the health of our companies depends on improvement. The President and Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan plans on continuing to shine a light on this issue and the administration is taking bold steps to turn the situation around. “…our future depends on reaffirming America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation.” This meeting was specifically about Teachers and their preparedness to spark young people to engage with science and math subjects and careers. Intel’s long standing commitment to teacher training and educational improvement is a perfect fit with the administration’s vision of increasing the quality and quantity of qualified Math and Science teachers and to making “rock stars” out of young people who demonstrate excellence in science and math.

We affirmed our commitment to teacher training, science competitions, and our other work to engage, inspire and recognize the next generation of innovators. I was proud to be part of the celebration and I’m proud to know the President recognizes our work and supports private sector collaborative efforts.

I think the biggest challenges remain around educating parents and young people about the importance of attaining science and math literacy at an early age and sticking with rigorous curriculum so that many doors will be open when they decide to choose a career. How can we get this topic to the forefront of the national dialogue? Where is the sense of urgency that is needed to take bold steps? I think that’s a challenge we all need to take responsibility for helping to solve. I would love to hear your ideas.

For more information please click on the following links:

- Intel Teach Program

- Intel Math

- Intel science competitions

You can also read more about the Educate to Innovate campaign in the White House Blog and listen to President Obama’s remarks from yesterday’s announcement:

4 Responses to Helping teachers spark students’ interest in science and math

  1. Anshul Sonak says:

    Strong Maths Science education is important for both building country/global competitiveness as well as building individual learner capacity to be a good citizen and successful person in life. this commitment and effort is v bold step in that direction

  2. Shelly,
    May I first congratulate you on the commitment you and Intel have in supporting STEM in the USA and the world. It’s awesome that you were invited to such a great event. I’ve observed fewer students showing a high interest in math and science. My opinion is that students must be engaged and encouraged in studying these subjects.
    I worry that many science curricula have so much material to learn that students must memorize the facts to prepare for their required testing. Such a curriculum often only does not put a focus on labs or student inquiry. My personal opinion is that students must actively be involved in doing science to become interested in considering a career in a STEM area.
    I’ve recently wondered if STEM education might benefit with an appropriate National curriculum. Such a curriculum should dramatically change how these subjects are currently taught in many areas. A major difference I perceive would shift from mandated textbooks. Math, Science, Engineering and Technology could be interwoven rather than being taught in separate classes. This should model how professionals work together in these careers. I think it would take a great deal of change to create National Standards everyone could agree upon.
    I envision a set of standards and objectives at each grade level that are NOT memorization oriented. These should contain verbs requiring students be actively involved in their learning. In addition, there should be a strong technology component interwoven into each grade level. Ideally, technology should support the rest of such a STEM initiative and be used in a way that it is NOT interpreted as an “add-on”.
    I am appreciative of Intel Teach and others who have provided funding and appropriate training for teachers. The generous support of Intel’s training has been seen in my school, classroom, district and state. I know many teachers who have changed their method of instruction to include more technology as a result of attending such training. I envision additional training would be necessary to prepare teachers to integrate STEM subjects.
    I look forward to hearing from others on how teachers can be encouraged to spark their students’ interest in math and science.

  3. Inspiring, Great to see all the players & stakeholders aligning to build scale, momentum and coherency under such inspiring leadership in such a critical area. Great affirmation for what Intel and CAG has been doing for so long in the STEM arena