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Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least Ā£5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. šŸ¤“

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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Reflect On What You Have

Sometimes it is good to reflect on the opportunities that we have, by writing this post I am lucky enough to have a laptop, internet, safe, clean, and encouraging environment. Others are not so lucky, from meeting a lot of people from different background it is easy to understand how lucky I am coming from a small village in Hertfordshire where my schools were a 5 minute walking distance, I was able to get a job whilst at school to afford to run a car at 17 and then to pursue university.

Many others are not so lucky, even within the UK there are many unemployed youth, homeless communities, and the disabled who would love to be in positions with less than what I and yourselves have. At some point in your career I would encourage you to remind yourselves of these people and do something within your reaches to help. I have fortunate to have the WCIT platform to help to grow an understanding of where I can help.

What can you do to help?

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Bridging The Confidence Gap

The Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, feels passionate that it is not only about the need to encourage more girls into IT/STEM, but to help boost their confidence that their skill sets do match the skills needed for STEM. I think this is very important.

It is as much about smashing the STEM stereotype, as it is the glass ceiling.

There are many organisations like CodeFirst: Girls and Stemettes aiming to do this, but what can you?

Take a look šŸ™‚

https://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/opinion/3031171/to-see-more-girls-in-stem-we-must-boost-their-confidence-not-interest

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STEM becoming STEAM

A growing debate is regarding the placing of ‘A’ into STEM, standing for Art.

Many people are asking whether Art belongs…

As I have said in other posts, there is a definite need for aligning job roles and careers to creative interests. The example I often use is how Art skills is desired for UX Designers, and likewise for many other subjects that can feed into STEM subjects.

All industries are crying out for more STEM trained professionals, and the primary route for this is to be a STEM graduate. But it is just as important to have soft skills, the way to learn those are through creative and practical ways.

Whatever letters do or do not get added, the bottom line is that there are careers in all sectors that need both STEM training and creative skills. So don’t ever feel that you aren’t “clever” enough etc to be in an IT or engineering job, because there is a place for all skills.

Take a look at a few articles on the debate:

https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/11/18/ctq-jolly-stem-vs-steam.html

http://www.statepress.com/article/2018/03/spartcult-the-team-for-steam

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252439491/Oracle-MBX-Oracle-uses-interns-and-grads-to-encourage-others-into-Stem

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What’s The Point Of Wearable Technology?

Originating as pedometers, wearable technologies have advanced to the point where the Apple Watch Series 3 can remove the need for a mobile phone!

My Apple Watch enables me to track my daily exercise and since I’ve had it, I’ve definitely noticed how I can do more each day, even little improvements like making sure I move around a minimum of 12 hours a day and exercise enough to meet the goals that I’ve set on it. It reminds me to keep pushing myself during my daily routine.

Even better is the example of how a FitBit has helped my Nan to improve her health in the last 6 months by being able to track steps, sleep and for her to be able to track that on her phone. If she has not done 5,000 steps in a day, she takes the dog out for an extra walk and it’s great to witness how technology has aided her to do this.

There are many HCI research papers studying how wearable technologies can improve the lives by being a motivation to do more.

Wearable tech is also used in other ways… When my boyfriend ran the Berlin Marathon in September 2017, we were able to track his location on the route through a clip on his shoe laces, through an app that we could download. This made the whole day even better because we were able to know where he would be so we could go there and see him and his brother, and track their times.

The reason I love technology is because of the endless opportunities it presents and how it can help people, the better tech gets the more people it can make an impact to in little to big ways.