Google tests your spelling acumen with Spell Up

Spell Up from GoogleHere’s a description of the latest Google Chrome experiment: 

Today we are excited to introduce Spell Up – a new word game and Chrome Experiment that helps you improve your English using your voice and Chrome’s Web Speech API.

We worked with game designers and teachers to make Spell Up both fun and educational. The goal of the game is to correctly spell the words you hear and stack them to build the highest word tower you can—letter by letter, word by word. The higher the tower gets, the more difficult the word challenges: You’ll be asked to pronounce words correctly, solve word jumbles and guess mystery words. You can earn bonuses and coins to level up faster.

Spell Up works best in Chrome on your computer and on Android phones and tablets. (It also works on iPhones and iPads, but you’ll need to type rather than talk.) Whether you’re just learning English or you’re already a pro, check it out! And if you’re a teacher, we encourage you to try it out in your classroom. Learn more here.

5 Suggestions for Better STEM Education, From Students

STEM education classFrom Mashable: Although demand for workers with STEM qualifications has only grown in recent years, a minority of students elect to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in high school and college. To spark a discussion about how US schools can motivate more students to The USA Science and Engineering Festival brought together its youth advisors for a Twitter chat on April 17th. During the discussion, several themes emerged — suggestions about how to improve STEM education from the very people who stand to benefit from that training.

Schools are focusing too much on memorization and not enough on problem-solving, killing student interest in STEM topics early.

“It would be great if schools allowed kids to solve real problems, to learn by doing,” said Erik Martin. “My education did not aid interest, or work at all—huge failure there.”

Click here to read the full story.

Study finds lectures are boring, ineffective

Lecture hallFrom Science Insider: Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods.

“Universities were founded in Western Europe in 1050 and lecturing has been the predominant form of teaching ever since,” says biologist Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. But many scholars have challenged the “sage on a stage” approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, arguing that engaging students with questions or group activities is more effective.

Click here to read the full article.

Meet Code Hunt, an educational Web game for learning programming

Microsoft_CES_2009From The Next Web: Microsoft Research today launched Code Hunt, a browser-based game for anyone interested in learning how to code by playing. The premise is straightforward: the player must write code to advance in the game.

The built-in tutorial introduces you to the game:

Greetings, program! You are an experimental application known as a CODE HUNTER. You, along with other code hunters, have been sent into a top-secret computer system to find, restore, and capture as many code fragments as possible. Your progress, along with your fellow code hunters, will be tracked. Good luck.

Click here to read the full story.

Episode 31: Kim Huston, Small Town Sexy

Kim Huston Quote CardDespite what many believe, you can live large in a small town. The new realization is that technology has advanced to the point where you do not need an office tower in Big City USA to do a million dollar deal when you can do that deal from Main Street USA.

Have you ever had the thought of returning to your small town roots and doing great things like own your own business or become mayor? Kim Huston speaks from experience as author of Small Town Sexy and Director of Economic Development for Bardstown, KY (named one of the best small towns in America). She will fill your head with ideas that may lure you to small town America where you can be a big fish in a small pond.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Kim delivers her talk from IFBG entitled “Small Town Sexy.”


Canvas Network offers free STEAM Camp course


This MOOC is designed for teachers who may be interested in creating their own STEAM CAMP based upon a proven model created by Jennifer Miller and Sandra Wozniak. Their STEAM CAMP incorporated NASA MMS Challenge curriculum, authored by Jennifer Miller, Sandra Wozniak, and Tom Chambers, along with other NASA MMS fabrication resources.

To be successful in this course, participants should plan to spend approximately 3 hours per week completing activities and interacting with others. The primary audience for this course are those who wish to conduct their own STEAM Camp or after school STEAM program.

This MOOC consists of five one-week modules full of NASA MMS student resources that can be used during STEAM related educational experiences.

Click here to learn more about this exciting course.

Developing New STEM Teaching Methods

STEM Robot ClassFrom U.S. News: As universities continue a national push toward investing in STEM education, administrators and faculty are witnessing firsthand the challenge for teachers.

At the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, academic leaders agreed that traditional approaches to science and math education, such as large lectures with little attention to hands-on work, have not proved successful in recruiting and training students for a future in STEM fields. “We have not done a good job of engaging the students in their classes,” said Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities. “We’ve been lecturing at them and giving them tests.”

Click here to read the full article.

Papa John’s Founder to speak at National Small Business Week event

Papa JohnWASHINGTON, D.C. – Papa John’s Founder, Chairman and CEO John Schnatter will lead a panel discussion on May 15 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the Washington, D.C. leg of National Small Business Week hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

During the panel discussion, Schnatter will discuss entrepreneurship, running a business in a competitive marketplace, and the challenges of starting and growing a business.

In 1984, Schnatter opened his first Papa John’s restaurant and the company has been going strong ever since.  Today, Papa John’s is a recognized restaurant leader with more than 4,400 restaurants in all 50 states and 35 countries.

Every year since 1963, the SBA salutes outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S territories during National Small Business Week. This year, in addition to other SBA regional and local small business week events being held around the country, the cities of: Boston, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C. are hosting national events the week of May 12-16.

The Washington D.C. event scheduled for May 15-16 will also feature entrepreneurship workshops, panel discussions, award ceremonies and business matchmaking sessions for small businesses to market their goods and services to federal agencies and prime contractors.

For more information on the national events please  Sessions will also be live-streamed on SBA’s website at

The Magical, Musical STEM Connection

Argonne_lab_educationFrom US News: “Looked at from afar, science is magical. It’s transformed our planet and our civilization. It’s the foundation for much of the joy of modern childhood and is manifest in every detail of a kid’s life, from their candy to their smartphones. What child wouldn’t want to learn the secret spells that make candy tingle on her tongue, or lead to the creation of immersive games like Minecraft?

Even as adults, science and technology bring out the kid in us, filling us with a sense of wonder and awe. In a study of the most emailed articles in The New York Times, science articles were much more likely to make the list than any other type of article appearing on the homepage.

But we are failing as a society to inspire kids to learn science and math; only one in three students that graduates from high school is ready for college-level science. I believe this is because our STEM classes are just as boring today as they were when I was a child.”

Click here to discover the solution to boring STEM classes.

10 Talents That Drive Entrepreneurial Success

8935785129_e1a0cd98f3_zFrom Gallup Business Journal: “What separates successful business owners from less successful ones?

What are the traits and behaviors that drive an individual to start, sustain, and grow a successful company?

Do entrepreneurial attitudes toward autonomy, risk, work, and income affect business outcomes?

Intrigued by these questions and many others, Gallup studied more than 1,000 entrepreneurs to understand the actions and decisions that lead to venture creation and growth. After years of research and hundreds of interviews, Gallup has identified 10 specific talents that drive business success — 10 behaviors we consistently observed in highly successful entrepreneurs.”

Click here to find out the 10 behaviors.