2012 STEM Education Conference

Did everyone have a good holiday? It always seems a shame that MLK Day follows so closely on the heels of semester break.

I hope that everyone who attended the 2012 STEM Education Conference in Galveston this year had as much fun as I had. I love conferences that provide ideas for what you can do in the classroom. And I liked being on the coast so that we could have some great seafood. We have fish in the Texas panhandle, but it just isn’t as fresh. Thanks to UTMB for sponsoring the event. Did anyone else attend?

Let’s talk about a couple things I read today.

A year or more ago, I watched a PBS movie about Temple Grandin, who has a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. In the movie, she created a kind of cattle chute for herself, which she called a “squeeze box,” that provided her with a contained space that calmed her down when her senses became overloaded. Today I read “Engineering Class Creates Safe Haven for Child with Autism” about students at the Community College of Baltimore County who helped a child with autism by creating two spaces in his home that he can retreat to when he’s threatened with sensory overload. How wonderful it is when student projects can help people.

And, to end on a note near and dear to my heart…iPads. I read a Wired Campus article, “What I’ve Learned from Teaching with iPads,” which points out strengths and weaknesses and gives suggestions for using iPads in school. When I was teaching, I knew that many students wouldn’t be as interested in technology as I, but that was a long time ago. Now I have a tendency to see students as tech savvy and to assume that they all know more than I. The article points out that that ain’t necessarily so. And the comments from readers provide a range of feelings about using technology. Have you used iPads or other technology in your classroom?

That’s all for today. Because I’ve been out of the office, my thoughts are a little random. Next week I’ll tell you about the Kelton students who came to tour campus.

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