What we’ve been reading, week 43

The weekend is just around the corner so here’s our weekly best of the web round-up of articles posts, and content that’s given us food for thought.

Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador

Through her advocacy, the Ambassador will help drive cultural and social change for gender equity.

Astronomer and author, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, has been named Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador. She will lead the Government’s efforts to encourage girls and women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Professor Havey-Smith will work on a national scale to raise awareness of the issues that can hold girls and women back from STEM study and work. She will increase understanding of the opportunities available to girls and women in STEM, aiming to increase their participation. Way to go, Australia!

NASA wants you to make stuff it can send to the Moon

The strategy is that these early missions will help us prepare for more complex future missions

Always wanted to send something that you’ve made to the Moon but never knew how? NASA is looking for all manner of instruments that can be sent to the lunar surface to study the natural satellite in greater detail.

“The strategy is that these early missions will help us prepare for more complex future missions such as searching for usable resources, building up a seismic network to understand the Moon’s internal structure, and studying the lunar mineralogy and chemistry to understand the Moon’s origins,” says NASA’s Steve Clarke. While it’s not something schools can enter, it great inspiration for a maker project, so what would you send?


We Make The Future: Ep02 : Maker Spaces

podcast 3

Last week we kicked off our new podcast, We Make The Future, with Dr. William Rankin. In this second episode, we talk with Nicholas Provenzano, aka The Nerdy Teacher, about maker spaces, how to fund them, and the common mistakes that people make when they build one with. We’re also running a competition to celebrate, so tune in to find out how you can get your hands on a shiny new pi-top and a copy of Nicholas’ book, ‘The Maker Mentality’.


Kids aren’t failing school – school is failing kids

Students spent more than 500 hours per school year on assignments that weren’t appropriate for their grade and with instruction that didn’t ask enough of them – the equivalent of six months of wasted class time in each core subject

We all know this story: go to school, get good grades, go to college and then join the workforce. However, the reality is that an overwhelming number of people find themselves poorly prepared for whatever path they choose despite all of those years spent in school.

“They’re planning their futures on the belief that doing well in school creates opportunities – that showing up, doing the work, and meeting their teachers’ expectations will prepare them for what’s next,” says a new study from The New Teacher Project.

According to the study, across the U.S., 40% of students who enroll in college (including 66% of black students and 53% of Latinx students) end up having to take a remedial course, where they re-learn skills they were supposed to have mastered in high school.


Dubai universities drop exams to focus on ‘the real world’

We are killing individuality and destroying the uniqueness of people. The education system should focus on people and individuals, and not just on the outcome, but also on the process

With the news of Singapore abolishing some school exam rankings and now a college in Dubai has abolished examinations in an attempt to prepare students for the workplace rather than merely “test their memorisation skills”, we are wondering if we’re about to witness the global collapse of school exam rankings.

The students will have to complete assignments to solve a real-world problem faced by a corporate or a government entity with mentorship from all parties involved, rather than memorising countless facts.


How to set up WordPress on a Raspberry Pi

WordPress is a popular open source blogging platform and content management system (CMS), it also powers this blog! This tutorial by Ben Nuttall explains how you can run your WordPress website using Raspberry Pi.


Playing YouTube videos in Python

The internet is a wonderful place to meet new people, expand your knowledge and find out that you can do things that you thought you couldn’t, like playing a YouTube video outside the web browser.

Les Pounder has written this useful article on how to use the Python library Pafy to play content from YouTube in your chosen media player.


These Indian schools are giving lessons in happiness

Education has to serve a larger moral and societal purpose and cannot be looked at in isolation from the needs of society. Even as we aim for economic equality, we must strive for ‘happiness equality’ as well.

Schools play a vital role in helping our kids develop the capabilities to lead happy lives and now pupils in Delhi’s government schools from pre-primary age up to 14 years old are receiving daily lessons in happiness, which include yoga and meditation and teaching children to take pride in their work.

Want to read more? Check out last week’s ‘best of the web’ reading list.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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