ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Apple Will Supply 114 Schools With iPads, MacBooks, Apple TV.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer  (10/28, O’Donnell) reports that Apple announced Monday that “every student at Orchard STEM elementary school will receive a free iPad from Apple Inc.” and each teacher will “receive an iPad mini and a MacBook laptop computer, while each classroom will receive an Apple television.” The company is spending $10 million to “provide technology equipment and support to 114 schools in 29 states,” according to Apple spokesperson Rachel Wolf who said the company’s effort is part of the ConnectED program announced by President Obama. In addition to Orchard STEM, John F. Kennedy Elementary in Maple Heights and the Chaney STEM school in Youngstown will also be outfitted.

The Youngstown (OH) Vindicator  (10/27) reports on the Chaney STEM school being among the 114 schools benefiting from the Apple contribution to ConnectED.

Reuters  (10/28, Farr) also reports on the Apple announcement.

Fortune  (10/27, Mangalindan) quotes Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking in Montgomery, Alabama on Monday, saying, “Today, too many kids are denied access to a quality education in pursuit of their American dream due to the ZIP code they live in.” He announced the decision by Apple To “help 114 schools across 29 U.S. states.”

The Albuquerque (NM) Journal  (10/28) reports that six New Mexico schools will be part of the program.

Higher Education

Coalition To Launch Effort To Boost College Enrollment Among Qualified Low-Income Students.

The New York Times  (10/28, Leonhardt, Subscription Publication) reports on an “ambitious new effort” by “a handful of institutions” to boost access to higher education for “top-performing students from the bottom half of the income distribution.” The effort, led by Michael Bloomberg, involves hiring “130 full-time counselors” and recruiting “4,000 college students as part-time advisers” to create a “support network” for these students to encourage them and help them apply to “any one of 250 colleges where low-income students graduate at a high rate and with manageable debt.”

University Of Maryland Eastern Shore Strives To Place Minorities In STEM Jobs.

The Delmarva (MD) Daily Times  (10/27, Cox) reports on a collaboration between the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better connect minority graduates with STEM jobs. The NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions utilizes a $14 million budget to promote STEM education through programming, scholarships, internships, training, and research affiliation. Of the 800 UMES STEM graduates to respond to tracking surveys, 24% reported working in STEM fields, with another 10% (81) hired by the NOAA. A “keystone” science education forum hosted by the two organizations this week at UMES is expected to draw 400 college students, leaders, and researchers.

Illinois Community College STEM Students Tell Scholarship Success Stories.

The Aurora (IL) Beacon-News  (10/27, Bilyk) reports on Illinois State Rep. Robert Pritchard’s recognition of the STEM Scholarship Program at Waubonsee Community College during his recent visit, a program providing 18 Waubonsee and local high school students scholarships and one-to-one faculty mentoring through a National Science Foundation grant. Ninety percent of participants go on to transfer to four-year institutions. The piece highlights the success of three different scholars.

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Research and Development

Akron Global Alliance Launch Starts Series Of Annual Conferences On Water Technology.

WKSU-FM  Kent, OH (10/28, Rudell) reports on the Akron Global Alliance Launch event held at the University of Akron. The event was the result of “four years of preparation by the city of Akron and the University of Akron.” Attending are “planners, engineers, and business leaders from around the world” for the first “annual water technology leadership gathering.” University of Akron engineering professor Chris Miller said that the realization of Akron’s watershed led to a common effort to “capitalize on that asset.”

Vanderbilt Researchers Work With Police To Examine Crime Data.

The Tennessean  (10/25, Tamburin) reports the use of data by Vanderbilt engineers. The article focuses on cooperation between Vanderbilt University researchers and Metro police “to analyze crime data alongside weather forecasts, property assessor records and other environmental information, including the locations of pawn shops and gas stations.” The goal is to “use that web of data to predict where and when crimes might take place.” Engineering professor Ken Pence said, “A lot of crime theories are based on little more than anecdotal evidence,” adding that the effort “is going to look at much larger elements and see where there might be correlations that we’ve never seen before.” It is being led by computer engineering professor Eugene Vorobeychik.


Women In STEM Fields Disagree Over Best Strategy.

In its “Shots” health blog, NPR  (10/27, McEvers) reports on Caltech biotechnology professor Frances Arnold’s ascent to scientific prominence, her advice for women in the sciences to “lean in” to the obstacles women face, and disagreement among many over advocating that strategy. The piece features comments from a bioengineering PhD candidate, who describes herself as introverted and unable to employ the “just do it” strategy, arguing there are better alternatives for some women. The piece closes on an International Baccalaureate student in Maryland who resents the special treatment she receives as a young black woman interested in a STEM career.

Watchmakers Recruit Among Students Having Some Trouble In School.

The Wall Street Journal  (10/28, Hollander, Subscription Publication) reports on a program recruiting watchmakers in the US from among students that are struggling in school. One student explained his pleasure at learning how a watch works and how to repair it.

Industry News

GM To Bring Chevy Volt Production To US.

The Wall Street Journal  (10/28, Bennett, Subscription Publication) reports General Motors announced on Tuesday that it will be bringing production of its Chevy Volt’s electric drive to the Warren transmission plant in Michigan. The move shifts production from its current location in Mexico and will be part of more than $300 million the company will make in Michigan.

Small Battery Start-Up Touts Big Prospect For NC Jobs.

The AP  (10/28, Fahey) reports start-up company Alevo Group said yesterday “it would create hundreds of jobs when it moves into a massive, former Philip Morris USA cigarette plant to build batteries that it says will help power companies save energy and work more efficiently.” On Tuesday, officials in North Carolina “are expected to hear Alevo Group representatives discuss plans to manufacture the utility-scale batteries at the factory site in Concord, where more than 2,000 were employed before it closed in 2009,” according to State Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo. The company “believes that as the U.S. and other nations work to reduce emissions of gases that are contributing to climate change, its energy-saving technology will become more valuable.”

Engineering and Public Policy

President Obama Announces Executive Actions Aimed At Boosting Manufacturing.

The US News & World Report  (10/27) reports that President Obama outlined several executive actions “aimed at boosting manufacturing” through encouraging innovation, cultivating a skilled workforce and improving the business climate. The plan involves several government agencies investing a total of $300 million to help develop emerging manufacturing technologies and provide grants to develop manufacturing apprenticeship programs. The plan is based on a report from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee.

Elementary/Secondary Education

University Of Nebraska Professors Build New STEM Curriculum For Youth.

The Daily Nebraskan  (10/28, Hanson) reports a $1 million National Science Foundation grant will fund the University of Nebraska’s development of a new STEM curriculum using wearable technology for fourth- and sixth-grade students, intended to “bridge formal classroom teaching.” The piece details a handful of activities included in the curriculum as well as the technologies they showcase. The project is a collaboration between Nebraska 4-H Extension, the UN-Lincoln’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, UN-Lincoln’s Biological Systems Engineering, UN-Omaha’s College of Education, and the Nebraska Department of Education’s Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Center grants program.

AVID Students Praise Program.

The Tyler (TX) Morning Telegraph  (10/28, Waters) reports on the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, which “many” Tyler ISD students say has “helped them earn better grades, as well as overcome problems.” The program is “a college or career readiness system” from elementary school to college. It “trains educators to use proven practices in order to prepare students for success in high school, college and a career.”

Missouri Board Of Education Holds First Hearing On Replacing Common Core.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch  (10/28, Stuckey) reports the Missouri Board of Education has held the first of three public hearings on replacing Common Core, with each of the eight work groups offering different views on how to proceed. Four groups are responsible for K-5 math, science, social studies, and English, respectively, while the other half each have a subject area in grades 6-12. Many have studied Missouri’s prior standards with the intent to improve them, while others have looked at other states such as Indiana and Massachusetts, sparking criticism due to those states’ utilization of Common Core and heavy standardized testing. Seven of 13 speakers at the hearing either serve or facilitate one of the work groups; the work groups will make recommendations by October 1 of next year, with new standards implemented by 2016-17.

The AP  (10/28, Ballentine) reports the hearing was “dominated” by debate over how the work groups were revising standards, rather than what those standards included, particularly with respect to math and English. A lack of compromise and the education department’s involvement in the review were also criticized.

New Mexico Fully Adopts Common Core Standards.

The Santa Fe New Mexican  (10/28) reports on New Mexico’s full adoption of the Common Core this year, briefly explaining the cooperative development of the standards and their focus on how material is taught, rather than what is taught, offering more freedom. The piece also overviews the varying resistance to Common Core in Southern states.

Mankato, Minnesota’s iPad Initiative Transforms Special Education.

The AP  (10/28, Bies) reports a new one-to-one iPad digital learning initiative for all Mankato, Minnesota students is giving the district’s special education students more independence, allowing those with cognitive disabilities to meet the school’s standards at a simplified form through the app Educreations. The app provides both audio and visual representations of lessons for targeted learning, as well as allowing students to leave text or video annotations on work or dictate text to the device for those with writing disabilities. Teachers argue the multimedia devices keep students engaged, allow them to supplement their educations with the Internet in real time, and reduce costs such as paraprofessional aids and printing.

Monday’s Lead Stories


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