TED Conversations

Mary Saville

Educator - STEM, ACTS Homeschool Teaching Support

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Did you see CNN's documentary Don't Fail Me by Soledad O'Brien? What was your response?

I didn't mean to stay up and watch the re-airing of CNN's Don't Fail Me: a documentary about the state of STEM education in America. It just sucked me in. Even though I'm in the STEM ed field doing what I can, it made me feel crazed to do more, innovate more, reach more students. What's your takeaway? What did you learn? What did you find out that was true, which you thought was false? What steps would you take to advance STEM education in the US?


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    May 26 2011: Melissa, I haven't had the chance to see the O'Brien report, although several people have mentioned it to me. You are entirely correct that, as a culture, we do not seem to encourage our children to see being smart in the same way we encourage them to, for example, be able to throw a long football pass. However, I do think this has been changing somewhat in the last decades. Nerd still has a negative connotation, but the rise of the comuputer set has led to the adoption of the word "geek" as a more acceptable label, one that many young professionals and programmers start proudly using as early as grade school. Perhaps all we need is to find that new label without the past baggage (unfortunately geek, as a term, has a long past history as well, and I'm not sure it's the perfect term either) for society to embrace as we attempt to change everyone's attitude regarding what it means to be a smart kid.

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