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Topic: True STEM Preparation?
Replies: 8   Last Post: Sep 18, 2012 10:54 AM

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Paul A. Tanner III

Posts: 5,920
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: True STEM Preparation?
Posted: Sep 16, 2012 3:37 PM
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On Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM, Wayne Bishop <> wrote:
> For the uninitiated, STEM, means Science, Technology, Engineering,and
> Mathematics with a strong national push for properly educating many more US
> students to be competitive in these areas and, of necessity, the teachers to
> meet that need.
> Focus on the essential mathematics, careful reading, and science courses?
> How simplistic; that's what Legos are for. Crossfile under, "some things
> that are impossible to make up" and "some things that are impossible to
> parody".
> Wayne

You have said that you want US to follow East Asian education. But
your above that ridicules what is going in the US seems to ridicule
what goes on in East Asia. In the below, but one example of what can
be found on the Internet, note all the international robotics
competitions - for k12 students, and note the references to Lego.
These kids have to learn all this stuff somewhere. Yes, you will no
doubt claim that including such things in k12 education will destroy
math education in East Asia, but so far all the East Asian countries
or school districts that take TIMSS are still in the top group by
themselves by far:

Quote: "Rulang Primary School (Chinese: ____) is a government primary
school located in Jurong West St 52, Singapore."



"In line with MOE's direction of 'Teach Less, Learn More' (TLLM),
Robotics has been introduced and integrated into Rulang Primary
School's formal curriculum to complement the shift in focus of our
education system from quantity to quality teaching and learning since
2005. The school's Robotics education comprises different programmes
catering for different purposes: mass participation, interest groups
and talent development. It empowers pupils to learn through experience
and exposure, along with specially-planned activities to enable talent

Rulang has clinched many awards at different international platforms
such as International Robot Olympiad (South Korea, Australia, China
and Singapore), International Robocup Junior (Italy and Germany), VEX
Robotics World Championship (USA), World Robot Olympiad (China) and
First Lego League Open (Japan and Norway). The school has also
sustained a positive trend from 1 award in 2002 to 37 awards in 2009
at international level.

In view of the good track records, the school has been awarded the
status as the Zonal Centre of Excellence for Robotics West Zone (COE)
in 2008. We aim to provide leadership in pedagogical applications of
robotics as well as facilitating the development of robotics skills
competency of teachers and pupils in Singapore schools. In
additional, as a COE, we also provide the opportunities for schools to
explore the possibilities of using robotics to complement teaching and
learning. Rulang also shares her resources such as playfields,
equipment and human resources to facilitate learning for staff and
pupils from schools in the West Zone.

Singapore was the host country for the Asian Robotics League Vex
Championship (ARL) in 2008. Rulang in Singapore collaborated with the
ARL organisers to host this international competition.Rulang supported
the ARL event in terms of publicity, infrastructure (playfields and
accessories) and judges and the West Zone (W4/ W6/ W7) secondary
schools provided student leaders to lead the international
contingents. Representatives from countries in the Asia Pacific
region launched their local or regional Vex competitions within their
countries and top winning teams were invited to join the ARL. This
competition had attracted more than 420 participants from countries
such as China, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Together with LEGO Singapore and Science Centre Singapore, the school
has been hosting the LEGO Conference cum Robofest since 2009.
Professor Chris Roger from Tufts University and Dr Chew Tuan Chiong,
CEO of Science Centre Singapore, were the two keynote speakers for
Robofest 2008. In 2009, Kristen Bethke
Wendell, Research Assistant and Programme Manager from the Tufts
University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach was invited
to be the keynote speaker. She shared how robotics and design
activities can enhance the teaching and learning of science and
engineering. Pupils, teachers, parents and even overseas delegates
from countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea attended the event.

Rulang has been collaborating with educational institutions like
Millennia Institute and Fuhua Secondary in organising these events for
Singapore schools. The school has also collaborated with external
agencies to promote robotics to schools which are trying out robotics
for the first time. Since 2008, Rulang has been co- organising the
'Robotics for Math and Science' workshops with ETD. Robotics education
is an excellent platform to generate interest and to engage pupils in
developing useful skills and values to meet future challenges. Rulang
would continue her mentoring system to mentor more primary schools to
take on Robotics as a formal CCA by acting as a focal point to
maximise expertise and resources."

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