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Scaling Innovations in STEMx Education – Big Ideas from the HP Catalyst Summit
by Jim Vanides


It’s amazing what happens when educators from around the world get together to share and collaborate. The 2013 Catalyst Summit is yet another example…

Scaling promising innovations in STEMx learning and teaching was the overarching theme of the 2013 HP Catalyst Summit, where more than 120 delegates from over 65 organizations in 16 countries came together as a learning community in São Paulo, Brazil. Through three-days of roundtables, workshops, keynote panels, and face-to-face collaboration and networking, the august group of education leaders from around the world, including representatives from Ministries of Education, non-profit organizations, schools, colleges, universities, policy makers and education reform experts, identified and explored four big ideas related to STEMx education transformation.

Excerpts from the HP Catalyst Summit Communique:

 

To transform education, teachers must be “agents” of change, not objects to be changed.

This idea came from Niel McLean, Head of Center at NFER Futurelab in the UK. Niel is also the leader of the HP Catalyst “Pedagogy 3.0” consortium that is exploring the future of teacher training. As a keynote panelist discussing “Innovations, trends, and challenges in teacher professional learning”, Niel said, “Teachers are not the OBJECTS of change – they are the AGENTS of change”. He elaborated, saying that, ““The problem is not technology infrastructure and teacher training; it’s a school change and leadership opportunity”…and when teachers are involved, great transformations are possible.

 

Global collaboration is a powerful catalyst for education transformation.

The HP Catalyst Initiative was launched with this belief in mind – and now the evidence supports the claim. International collaboration, student-to-student, teacher-to-teacher, or between institutions, can lead to remarkable improvements. In the words of Stephan Vincent-Lacrín, OECD’s Senior Analyst, the recent case study on HP Catalyst confirms that “International collaboration creates inspiration and an environment for innovation.” To download the free report, “Sparking Innovation in STEM Education with Technology and Collaboration,” go to: www.bit.ly/OECDcatalyst.

 

Technology is truly transforming student success and opportunity.

We see this in formal education institutions, and we see this in informal education institutions.

For example, in 2012,HP Catalyst Initiative grantee, the Committee for the Democratization of Information (CDI), in Rio de’ Janeiro produced 92,084 graduates in information and communication technology (ICT) and held active citizenship courses across 780 CDI community centers in 12 countries. Today, in Brazil, CDI is collaborating with ReachTheWorld.org to focus on underprivileged youth in Rio de Janeiro, enhancing their English language, technology and hospitality skills so that they are ready to meet the world when it comes to their country for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Initiatives, such as CDI’s and those of the other HP Catalyst Initiative grantees, are changing the socio-economic prospects for the students they engage in learning and, ultimately, changing families and communities.

 

A fresh approach to professional development and teacher recognition is required for scaling education innovations.

The launch of the HP Catalyst Academy at the Summit marked the next stage in the evolution of the HP Catalyst Initiative. The new HP Catalyst Academy for STEMx teachers provides a fresh approach to professional learning for busy educators around the globe. Free online mini-courses, designed by innovative educators known as HP Catalyst Academy Fellows, aim to inspire and transform teaching practices. Starting with beta-testing in June 2013, mini-course topics include digital fabrication, social media for STEMx, how to Flip your STEMX classroom and environmental science in action. To learn more and sign-up, visit www.catalyst-academy.org

 

These are exciting times to be an educator – and a student…

Jim Vanides is currently a Program Manager in Philanthropy for Hewlett-Packard, responsible for worldwide higher education grant initiatives (www.hp.com/go/hied-blog). He also teaches an online course offered through Montana State University for elementary teachers on the Science of Sound (www.scienceteacher.org). He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.



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