Episode 12: Districts of Innovation

AW0913EminenceInd10667Kentucky recently introduced the Districts of Innovation program, which seeks to mimic the success of charter schools by allowing schools (or school districts) to be exempt from certain regulations and education policy. Schools can apply to change the school schedule, to use competency-based learning, to explore new pathways to graduation, etc.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with David Cook – Director of Innovation at the Kentucky Department of Education – and Gary Houchens, an associate professor at Western Kentucky University, about the new program and where charter schools fit into the discussion.



Jack Andraka, the Teen Prodigy of Pancreatic Cancer

Jack Andraka
Courtesy of Smithsonian.com

A Maryland high-school sophomore who reads science journals for fun may have invented a new diagnostic test for a deadly form of cancer.

That’s how the Smithsonian magazine teases its story about Jack Andraka, who won the $75,000 grand prize at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as a freshman this past spring. The story is an insightful profile of a brilliant young innovator and emphasizes the importance of creativity in scientific discovery.

Click here to read the full story and be sure to watch the video, which is embedded below.


Episode 11: Discover Tech Engineering Exhibit

Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library in Glasgow, KY
Courtesy of Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library

The Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library in Glasgow received a traveling exhibit, Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference. The exhibit will open on December 17 and close on February 20. It will include informative panels, hands-on activities and sessions with special guests who specialize in engineering.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Martha Nell Thomas, outreach coordinator for the library, about the work that went into securing the exhibit and what the benefits are for those who choose to attend.


GEMS Outreach Event Attracts Over 250 Participants

GEMS outreach event participants
Courtesy of UK College of Engineering

From the University of Kentucky College of Engineering: “On November 10, the University of Kentucky College of Engineering and the Girl Scouts hosted the eighth annual Girls in Engineering, Math & Science (GEMS) event. The collaborative effort was once again a huge success, attracting 250 grade school and middle school girls from central and eastern Kentucky.”

Click here to read more about the event.

Episode 10: STEM Education in Frankfort

The Kentucky State Capitol buildingSTEM education is alive and well in the state capital, and Mark Harrell and Rebecca Logan are proof of that. Mark is the District STEM Coordinator while Rebecca is a 5th grade STEM teacher at Elkhorn Elementary. Both educators implement Project Lead the Way curriculum that integrates science with engineering, and both have seen great results in their classrooms.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Mark and Rebecca about their experiences with teaching STEM, what activities they’ve had success with and why increased STEM literacy is vital to Kentucky’s future.


CNN’s Best Jobs in America

Biomedical Engineering LaboratoryCNN has released its “Best Jobs in America 2012” rankings and four of the top 10 are outright STEM jobs, while the case could be made that STEM is vital to each of the top 10 professions. With each passing year it becomes clearer that STEM jobs are the highest-paying, most rewarding jobs America has to offer.

See the complete list by clicking here.

Romney and Obama’s education plans

Education is the foundation of a strong economy and STEM education will be the driving force behind America’s 21st century economy. So what are the education plans of the presidential candidates? A new article from SHEKNOWS Entertainment looks at the plans of both candidates in detail. Before you vote on Tuesday, be sure to give this article a read and figure out which education plan would be best for America’s future.