Teachers to Curriculum Creators: Give Us the Real World
Burbank, CA — October 8, 2008: When asked, “What characteristics are most important in a curriculum resource?” more than two thirds of math and science educators surveyed selected “Shows real world connections.” Notably, in view of the high stakes testing climate created by No Child Left Behind, the characteristic of “Raises test scores” was lowest ranked, at only 4%.
These results were part of a nationwide survey of 800 math, science and technology educators conducted by The Futures Channel. The survey follows a recent report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association, which called on teachers to promote the possibilities of the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) oriented careers, in order to change student attitudes towards the study of math and science.
The Futures Channel survey suggests that U.S. math and science teachers do understand the importance and effectiveness of promoting STEM careers but are looking to curriculum coordinators and providers for the resources they need to carry it out.
The Futures Channel, through its web site at www.thefutureschannel.com, provides educators with short video documentaries that take students behind the scenes at workplaces across the U.S. to see professionals using math and science in a variety of careers. Since 2006, there have been over 15 million student views of The Futures Channel’s online movies, according to Jenna Bowles, the video channel’s Chief Operating Officer.
With movie topics ranging from robotics engineering to cell phone design and wildlife conservation to space architecture, teachers use The Futures Channel’s resources to answer the perennial question asked by students, “Why do I need to learn this?”
Lorrie Kester of Goldsboro, North Carolina uses those videos in her middle school math classroom. “The Futures Channel shows real people working real jobs and it reinforces what the student is being taught in the classroom,” Kester explained. “The Futures Channel also illustrates the diversity of math and science and that they are truly everywhere.”
“The education system as a whole needs the real world connection. The world of high-tech science is looking for creativity and talent, which test scores do not always measure,” said Dr. Richard Shope, a professor of science education at Loyola Marymount University and science research analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “STEM-savvy curriculum developers can help teachers by making these connections.”