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Echo360 Raises $18 Million to Accelerate Growth of SaaS Active Learning Platform

 
Echo360, the global leader in digital technologies that improve learning, today announced it has closed a Series C growth equity round co-led by Duchossois Capital Management and a private family office.  The financing will be used to accelerate deployment of the newly launched Echo360 Active Learning Platform, a SaaS learning and analytics solution for higher education.
 
“We believe Echo360 is poised to make a significant impact by improving education with learner analytics generated by the Active Learning Platform,” said Rohit Seth of Duchossois Capital Management.  “Echo360 has the scale and product to make a difference, with 625 universities and colleges as customers, and over two million students using their digital learning platform.”
 
Higher education’s economic and delivery model is undergoing drastic change built around the core tenets of disruption: online media, mobile access, SaaS software, cloud storage, big data analytics, and social networks.  These trends have driven the reinvention of the classroom led by the products from Echo360 including multimedia lecture capture, flipped classes, blended and distance learning.    Realizing that critical needs are not being met, especially as all students are now digital-centric, investment in educational technology is estimated to increase dramatically from its $13 billion last year.
 
Echo360 recently announced the availability of its new Active Learning Platform that moves institutions from the analog lecture to the latest interactive teaching models.   Using the Echo360 SaaS data platform, institutions can now easily execute the best in digital teaching methodologies with flipped classrooms, peer-to-peer learning, MOOCs and distance learning. Echo360 also pioneers new ways to measure student performance in the classroom and turns big data and student analytics into learning insights that improve student success and academic performance.
 
“We were fortunate to find a syndicate of investors co-led by two leading private equity firms that are passionate about changing education to improve learning outcomes,” said Fred Singer, CEO of Echo360.  “With our next generation platform just launched, we now have the necessary funding to achieve our goal of having thousands of universities and tens of millions of students having the advantage of our technology.”
 
Additional funding in the syndicate included SWaN & Legend, CNF Investments, and existing investor Revolution Growth. The co-lead investors will each appoint a representative to join the Echo360 Board of Directors.
 
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The Maker Movement: Milestones and Momentum TownHall is Starting Now

Watch here on the blog, join the Hangout on Google+ and comment, and/or Tweet with us using #MakerSTEM!

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New WestEd Study Shows Education Technology’s Impact on California Students

This is a press release from the Mind Research Institute

Significant Gains in State Test Scores Shown Among Users of MIND Research Institute's ST Math

Irvine, Calif., November 12, 2014 | Just one year of education technology in classrooms can move a school that was performing at the 50th percentile in the state up to the 66th percentile in the state according to a study released today by the independent education research firm WestEd and the nonprofit MIND Research Institute.
 
WestEd measured the impact of MIND’s ST Math® program in 209 second through fifth grades – including more than 19,980 students at 129 California schools across California – that fully implemented the program in a blended learning environment.
 
The report used several models to measure ST Math’s impact. Those grades using ST Math for one year exhibited 6.3 percent more students scoring proficient or better on the CST, compared to those at similar schools without the program. Getting students to score proficient on the state test meets the No Child Left Behind requirements. Remarkably, the study found that almost all of the improvement was reflected in increases in students scoring advanced, not merely proficient, on the tests. Students in those classes using ST Math exhibited advanced CST math scores at a rate that was, on average, 5.6 percentage points higher than others.
 
“It’s now a given in education that we will somehow put digital devices into the hands of every K-12 student in every classroom in America, yet people still wonder if technology can actually improve student learning at scale, and there is a dearth of research in this area,” said Andrew R. Coulson, chief strategist at MIND Research Institute. “This report provides compelling evidence that technology indeed helps students learn and, importantly, show results on high stakes assessments – at least if you have a pedagogically effective approach, properly designed software, and teacher support for faithful implementation.”
 
The ST Math program exemplifies a blended learning approach which not only has students use computerized math lessons, but makes the teacher the central hub of the digital learning ecosystem. Teachers received training on how to use ST Math to supplement their core curriculum and connect the visual puzzles students encountered on the computer to the math concepts and standards they were teaching in their classroom lessons. Additionally, schools received year-round support from MIND’s educational consultants.
 
This WestEd study measured the impact of ST Math using a statistical term called “effect size,” which is basically a measurement of how strong an impact of an input (in this case ST Math implementation) has on an outcome (such as test scores). The larger the effect size, the greater the impact. WestEd found ST Math’s effect size across the grades in California to be 0.47 – well beyond the federal What Works Clearinghouse criteria of 0.25 for “substantively important” effect. The What Works Clearinghouse, part of the Institute of Education Sciences, gives educators information about what education programs, practices, products and policies actually work.                                                                                                                            
 
“We have to move beyond educational technology just being innovative and exciting, it needs to demonstrate a measurable impact on student learning and ST Math continues to do just that,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector. “Showing results that increase advanced math proficiency is especially important, as employers are seeking more and more graduates with strong skills in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.”
 
The rigorous WestEd analysis, which adhered to federal What Works Clearinghouse specifications, reinforces and expands the findings of an earlier WestEd study focusing specifically on ST Math usage in Los Angeles Unified School District. In that study of high-need LA schools, the effect size of ST Math implementation was 0.41.
 
MIND’s ST Math program provides visual math puzzles that support deep, conceptual understanding of concepts covered by new college and career-ready state standards. Because the math program doesn’t rely on language proficiency or previous math success, it’s accessible for English language learners and children with learning disabilities. And because it provides innovative visualizations and progresses to highly challenging puzzles, it also avoids shallow rote memorization and challenges gifted students. Students use ST Math on computers or tablets, with teacher facilitation, in a blended learning environment. The teachers are trained on how to connect the visual puzzles to their conventional texts and classroom math lessons, and coached on how to guide children through challenging sections by getting them to express their thinking, rather than simply telling them the solution.
 
Some of the highest need schools included in the new WestEd study were philanthropically funded by MIND’s partners including generous corporate, foundation and individual donors.
 
For more details about the WestEd study, click here.
 
About WestEd
WestEd, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency, works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. WestEd has 16 offices nationwide, from Washington and Boston to Arizona and California. Its corporate headquarters are in San Francisco. More information about WestEd is available at WestEd.org.
 
About MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social benefit organization, dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND's programs currently reach over 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 2,500 schools in 40 states. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.org.
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Ray Dempsey, Jr. of BP America

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Ray Dempsey, Jr., vice president and head of external affairs and president of the BP Foundation at BP America.

Ray Dempsey, BP America

Ray Dempsey, Jr.
Vice President and Head of External Affairs, President of the BP Foundation
BP America

Ray Dempsey, Jr. is Vice President & Head of External Affairs for BP America and President of the BP Foundation. Since joining the company in 1990, Dempsey has held a variety of management and operational roles in engineering, environmental, strategy, finance, and external affairs in the US and abroad. Dempsey speaks often on STEM and related issues, and is a tireless advocate for increasing participating of under-represented minorities in STEM disciplines. As part of his current role, Dempsey is responsible for stewarding BP’s support for STEM education programs and activities across the US.

A long-time member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Dempsey is the Executive Sponsor of the BP NSBE Advisory Board. Dempsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. Dempsey and his wife Alysia have four daughters and reside in Vienna, Virginia.

About BP

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and provides enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Over the past five years, BP has invested nearly $50 billion in the US – more than any other energy company. Employing approximately 20,000 people in all 50 states, BP supports more than 260,000 total jobs throughout the U.S. BP’s commitment to America includes doing our part to make sure that America has a secure energy future. We recognize that tomorrow’s energy innovations will come from today’s students. From engineers and geologists to computer scientists and offshore drillers, BP is committed to fueling the next generation of innovators. That is why BP has invested more than $45 million over the last two years to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across the United States. BP has supported STEM education in the U.S. for 40 years and is proud to continue that commitment today.

Ray on Diversity and STEM

How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?

Closing the gap that exists for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields is an urgent national challenge. We have to start early on, by first making sure that parents and teachers of young girls and children from communities of color are well prepared to expose their kids to STEM subjects. We can encourage them to continue their study as they get older by helping them to see the kinds of career choices that can be enabled by STEM disciplines. Today’s technology world presents a terrific opportunity to connect the “gadgets” kids use to the science and engineering that make them work. From there, broadening their awareness of the everyday application of STEM disciplines can create fun possibilities. Young women and underrepresented minorities need to see successful people in STEM careers that look like them, that can relate to their life experiences, and can let them know that they can be scientists and engineers. In high school, we have to challenge young people to take the courses that will best prepare them for STEM disciplines in university. Finally, we can continue to support programs on campuses that provide the support needed to successfully navigate through STEM studies. We have to encourage – and challenge – our young people at every step of the way.

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?

The energy industry depends heavily on STEM disciplines in our workforce. Engineers, geologists, and computer scientists, are among the core disciplines driving the cutting edge technology in our business. Over the past 2 years, BP America has invested over $45 million in STEM programs and initiatives across the US. Additionally, we invest nearly $100M million each year with universities across the US, in areas ranging from research and development, to programs that support new energy technology. All of these efforts are linked to ensuring that there is a future workforce with the skill sets we need to continue to meet the world’s energy challenges.

What is the key to smart STEM investments?

I’ve been involved in efforts to increase participation in STEM fields for more than 25 years. My company has worked with many organizations – like the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) – for as long as 40 years, supporting their efforts to create an engineering workforce that looks like America. The challenge is not new, yet the gaps in STEM participation persist, especially for young women and underrepresented minorities. We have to ensure that our efforts now are targeted and effective. Therein lies the key to smart investment: We have to be disciplined about measuring performance and impact – we have to invest in those things that work. And when we find programs and initiatives that work, we have to encourage cooperation and collaboration that will allow those approaches to be applied at scale.

What counsel would you provide around “collaborating to achieve success” in STEM education and the workforce?

Given the growing awareness of the challenge to increase participation in STEM disciplines, there has been a proliferation of programs and organizations that are focused in this area. It is terrific that there is so much activity and so many programs aimed at increasing participation and closing achievement gaps. However, there is the reality that many of these programs and organizations are competing for the funding and talent they need to pursue their mission. Their ability to grow and to serve more young people is limited by their organization’s capacity, whether a function of geography, staff, or money. No doubt, there are regional and other differences in the approaches that yield the best successes for students. That said, I believe that there is an opportunity to better apply the concept of partnerships and “joint ventures” among the organizations that exist to bring successful programs to more students, in more places.

FIRST® in Texas announced as beneficiary of Freescale Foundation fundraising efforts at 2015 Austin Marathon

This is a press release from FIRST® in Texas Foundation & the Freescale Foundation

FIRST® in Texas announced as beneficiary of Freescale Foundation fundraising efforts at 2015 Austin Marathon 
Nonprofit partnership brings STEM education and hands-on robotics learning to youth across the state of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – Nov. 10, 2014 | Today the FIRST® in Texas Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding, training and supporting FIRST® Robotics programs across the state of Texas, announced it will be the sole beneficiary of funds raised by the Freescale Foundation during the 2015 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, presented by Freescale. The Foundation proceeds will help FIRST® in Texas, which is managed by Austin-based Skillpoint Alliance, address the growing demands of the STEM workforce and inspire young students to become future science and technology leaders.

“We are excited to partner with the Freescale Foundation to raise money and awareness for FIRST® in Texas teams and events,” said Jessica Galfas, Director of the FIRST® in Texas Foundation. “We believe that just as running is fitness for the body, robotics is fitness for the mind. This partnership will help us reach our vision that every Texas student, no matter their gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, has the opportunity to participate in FIRST robotics, a program that celebrates STEM teamwork just like sports.”

According to Wanted Technologies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top technology job openings with the most hiring difficulty throughout Austin and surrounding areas include a vast range of engineering-focused careers, such as software quality assurance engineers and testers, web developers, and computer systems engineers and architects.

“By fundraising or running for the Freescale Foundation, participants are helping to increase our program's reach to communities across the state. Through their engagement with robotics, students are inspired to become our future leaders and high tech superstars,” continued Galfas.

Designed to ensure every student in Texas has access to robotics and hands-on learning that build science, engineering and technology skills, FIRST® in Texas programs impacted 3,000 students across the state in 2013 alone and provided 4,180 students with the opportunity to compete in robotics competitions at state and national levels.

As the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, Freescale’s mission is to work with organizations like FIRST® in Texas to further inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields, as well as foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

“The Freescale Foundation looks to support local organizations that are shaping the next generation of innovators and scientists,” said Alan Campbell, chairman of the Freescale Foundation. “We are excited to name FIRST® in Texas as our beneficiary for the 2015 Austin Marathon fundraising efforts and look forward to contributing to the expansion of US FIRST®’s unique and highly impactful robotics programs. Our organizations are both heavily committed to inspiring the next generation of innovators.”

To sign up to run with the Freescale Foundation in support of FIRST® in Texas in the 2015 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, please register at youraustinmarathon.com. During race registration, participants are asked if they would like to fundraise and if so, for which charity. For further information see http://youraustinmarathon.com/austin-givesmiles.

ABOUT FIRST® in Texas Foundation
The FIRST® in Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports FIRST® Robotics teams and events across Texas with a focus on increasing accessibility for low-income and underrepresented students. FIRST® participants are significantly more likely to attend college, major in science or engineering, and be outstanding employees and citizens. FIRST® in Texas is managed by Skillpoint Alliance, a 501(c)(3) social enterprise based in Austin, Texas that builds human capital through STEM workforce training programs. To disperse hundreds of thousands of dollars in team grants each year, FIRST® in Texas works closely with US FIRST®, which inspires young people to be science and technology leaders. US FIRST® engages students in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

ABOUT FREESCALE FOUNDATION 
Founded in 2013, the Freescale Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for K-12 students in the communities where Freescale employees live and work. Whether it is unveiling the fun science behind model rockets, the engineering that enables robots or the technology that drives automotive advancement, the foundation aims to empower the innovators of tomorrow.

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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Lloyd H. Dean of Dignity Health

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Lloyd H. Dean, president and chief executive officer at Dignity Health.

Lloyd Dean, Dignity Health

Lloyd H. Dean
President/CEO
Dignity Health

Lloyd H. Dean is a nationally recognized leader within and beyond the field of health care. He is President/CEO of Dignity Health, and responsible for the organization’s nearly $14 billion in assets, overall management, governance, strategy, and direction. He has led Dignity Health through significant strategic, operational, and financial transformations and has brought the organization to its current status as a leading health care organization recognized for high quality, compassionate care, operational excellence, and strong financial results. A strong advocate for health care reform, Mr. Dean directly participated in health care reform discussions with President Barack Obama and has been appointed to the California State Healthcare Cost Commission charged with developing practical state policies to contain health care costs in the nation. Mr. Dean holds degrees in sociology and education from Western Michigan University, and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of San Francisco.

About Dignity Health

Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, is a 20-state network of nearly 11,000 physicians, 56,000 employees, and more than 380 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Annually, we hire approximately 10,000 individuals with the vast majority of these hires in clinical roles where skills in the science and technology fields are crucial. We offer an array of skilled nursing positions (i.e., Registered Nurses) as well as Respiratory Therapist, Registered Dietitian, and Occupational Therapist careers. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In 2013, Dignity Health provided nearly $1.7 billion in charitable care and services.

Lloyd on Diversity and STEM

What is the key to smart STEM investments?

The key to smart STEM investments is to embrace and promote change. Between the sweeping policy reforms, the influx of technology, and the care model innovations, health care doesn't resemble the industry it was even five years ago. In 2013 alone, physician and hospital use of health IT more than doubled. Embracing innovative approaches and entrepreneurial endeavors that improve care delivery, system infrastructure, and patient engagement in the near-term are now business strategies critical to the long-term success and viability of health care organizations. Today's decisions will determine which health care companies and systems will thrive tomorrow.

What STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud of?

Dignity Health has built several strategic and innovative partnerships that are improving the connection between doctors and patients. It’s most recent entry into this arena is a partnership with Augmedix and Google Glass that has doubled the amount of time physicians can spend with their patients daily, rather than filling out charts. Dignity Health has also joined the effort to bring more transparency to the industry. A current partnership called Shared Clarity brings together UnitedHealthcare and other leading health providers to analyze the performance of medical devices. Dignity Health has also launched a Telehealth Network that brings together highly specialized physicians and state-of-the-art technology to offer rural patients immediate access to life-saving medical care.

How is your company infusing diversity with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?

Dignity Health recognizes the importance and value of building and maintaining a diverse workforce in sustaining its mission and core values. Primarily, the organization understands the importance of being representatives of the communities served by the health system. Dignity Health has established programs that identify diverse candidates for internal positions, both currently available and for future placement. Additionally, Dignity Health employs an array of recruitment and sourcing methodologies to ensure that the organization attracts diverse candidates for all open positions. As of 2013, at Dignity Health 76.1 percent of employees were women and 46 percent of its employees are racially and/or ethnically diverse. Nearly two-thirds of all managers at Dignity Health were women, and of managers, 19.7 percent were racially and/or ethnically diverse.

How do you translate your work into innovation?

From using telepresence robots to expand access to medical specialists in its hospitals to sponsoring developer challenges with leading technology companies like Box, Dignity Health is working to transform the way care is delivered and information is shared between patient and physician. Dignity Health fosters innovation by developing and promoting inventions and methodologies that are of value to the local or the global community. Its Strategic Innovation function works with and invests in entrepreneurs and companies developing emerging technologies to accelerate organizational performance, improve quality, and reduce the cost of care.

Beyond standards, what are the first steps that we should take to curb the STEM education crisis?

Experience is a key aspect of securing a career in a STEM related field. Gaining experience which allows a new graduate to compete in the job market can often be difficult; therefore, it is important for employers to offer STEM education programs so students can obtain as much practical experience as possible. For example, establishing an “experience bridge” and allowing experienced professionals to teach skills and techniques in the class room not only provides students an advantage early on in their career, but employers ultimately benefit from a more experience graduate pool. This support, along with on-the-job experience with internships and fellowships such as the Dignity Health Fellowship Program, offers a way to encourage and excite students to see hands-on application and rewarding opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

2U, Inc. Adds Recognized Higher Education Leader Edward S. Macias to Board of Directors

The following is a press release from PR Newswire.

2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU), a leading provider of cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions for nonprofit colleges and universities to deliver online degree programs, today announced that Edward S. Macias, provost emeritus and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences for Washington University in St. Louis, has joined its board of directors.
 
Macias, PhD, was chief academic officer at Washington University for 25 years, before stepping down from his position as provost and executive vice chancellor in June 2013. Following his tenure as provost, Macias was most recently tapped by Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton to lead the school's effort to explore its approach to online education and to leverage advances in education technology to enhance its reach and impact. 
 
"As one of the longest serving and most respected administrators in higher education, Ed Macias knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities that universities confront as they look to integrate technology and online degree programs into their traditional offerings," said Chip Paucek, chief executive officer and co-founder of 2U. "Ed is a long-time supporter of 2U, and his guidance and unique perspective will be invaluable as we continue to pursue our growth strategy."
 
"We're honored to welcome Ed to the 2U board of directors," said Paul Maeder, director and chair of the board of 2U. "With his unmatched knowledge and experience in higher education, as well as his proven commitment to leadership and innovation, he is an excellent addition to the board and we look forward to working with him."
 
"Through its innovative approach and technology, 2U is transforming the perception of online degree programs and I believe it represents the future of higher education," said Macias. "I welcome the opportunity to join the 2U board and to help the company demonstrate that, when done right, the online experience can more than match the rigor and successful outcomes of traditional on-campus programs."
 
Macias, who served in many leadership roles at Washington University over the past 44 years, joined the Arts & Sciences faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became a full professor in 1984. In the 1980s, he added administrative roles to his full-time teaching and research, serving as the director of the Summer School program and chair of the Department of Chemistry.
 
He was appointed provost in 1988, and in 1995 was named executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences. He stepped down as dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences in June 2008. During his tenure as provost, in January 2013, Washington University and 2U launched the @WashULaw online master's degree program from the Washington University School of Law.
 
Widely recognized as an academic leader, Macias has been called upon to assist national and governmental institutions, including the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences where he chaired the Committee on Nuclear and Radiochemistry. He also regularly serves on accreditation and review teams at other universities in the United States.
 
Macias holds a bachelor's degree from Colgate University and a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Students of Today Help Design Learning Tools of Tomorrow With KidsTeam at Pearson

The following is a press release from Pearson Education.

Every week, a team of eight 2nd-7th graders arrives at Pearson’s offices in Chandler, Arizona, ready to work side-by-side with the company’s designers and developers. They are KidsTeam at Pearson, part of an initiative announced today by the company’s Research & Innovation Network, which transforms learners into co-designers of the digital tools and solutions that they and their classmates may learn with in the future.
 
Pearson’s KidsTeam works collaboratively to create solutions with “real world” applications, while building skills in subjects such as technology and math through hands-on learning. The initiative is the result of Pearson’s long-term collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Human Computer Interaction Lab, where the KidsTeam approach to technology design was launched in 1998.
 
The students meet regularly throughout the school year in the Pearson iDEA Innovation Center, a digital laboratory focused on user-centered design, usability testing and user experience research, where they use various co-design techniques to provide insight and input into innovative products and learner experiences. Each week the students have a different design challenge – from building a new interface for a learning management system to sharing insights on what makes digital curriculum engaging.
 
“KidsTeam has taught me about researching things and how technology works,” said Briana Jamerson, 5th grader at Riggs Elementary. “Before I didn’t know about the process for making apps, but now I know you have to go through trials over and over again until you get it perfect.”
 
By involving kids in the design process for technologies that will be used by students, Pearson aims to better understand what students want from new learning technologies in terms of features, functionality and overall experience.
 
“Who better to help design learning tools than learners? Through the KidsTeam initiative, we are encouraging collaboration, creativity and a passion for knowledge among the participating students, while we gather great first-hand insights into the next generation of our solutions,” said Lisa Maurer, manager, product design research, Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network Center for Product Design Research & Efficacy.
 
Best of all, these kids are building skills that will prepare them for success in school, college and career. According to the U.S. Department of Education, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and the United States is not producing enough candidates to fill them. The creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills that Pearson’s KidsTeam members are building gives them unique preparation to pursue higher education and careers in the STEM fields.
 
“I am always really excited to go to KidsTeam because we do a lot of fun and creative stuff in order to create apps,” said Matt Mularoni, 7th grader at Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School.
 
Pearson’s KidsTeam program launched in summer 2014 with a one-week summer camp session, where the students worked on synchronous project collaboration features for Pearson Realize, a next generation learning management system launching in K-12 classrooms. During the upcoming school year, the KidsTeam will work on an early literacy mobile application, geometry game design and enhancements to a library of reusable, interactive instructional components used across multiple solutions.
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EverFi and the NAM Launch Future Careers Initiative

This is a press release from National Association of Manufacturers

Program to Focus on Critical Skills Shortage

Washington, D.C., November 6, 2014 | EverFi, Inc., the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and The Manufacturing Institute have launched a national initiative to develop and market career opportunities in manufacturing to students across the United States. EverFi will work with the NAM’s more than 14,000 member companies and the Institute’s Dream It. Do It. network to bring digital learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and other critical skills areas into schools across the country. 
 
This initiative will utilize EverFi’s interactive digital learning courses to introduce students to the technical skills needed to be competitive in a rapidly evolving global economy. Students with access to EverFi’s immersive digital learning platform will learn about exciting, high-growth careers in manufacturing and understand the pathways to get there. EverFi’s courses are deployed in 9,000 K-12 schools and 500 higher education institutions throughout all 50 states.
 
“Through this national partnership, EverFi will provide NAM members with the ability to significantly spotlight modern manufacturing as a high-tech industry,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Inspiring an interest in STEM and manufacturing can create prosperous career opportunities for individuals, strengthen our communities and drive America’s economy forward.”
 
The collaboration among EverFi, the NAM and the Institute will contribute to the growth of the manufacturing sector. The initiative promotes good-paying, upwardly mobile and skilled manufacturing jobs that can create significant career opportunities for today’s students. Manufacturing is a major driver of the U.S. economy with the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.32 is added to the economy. In addition, manufacturing employs more than 12 million workers. Since the recession, manufacturing has been critical to the national economic recovery with 700,000 jobs created. 
 
Despite this growth, 80 percent of manufacturers have difficulty finding skilled workers, and this challenge is expected to increase in the coming years. Industry leaders are working to meet the challenge through this initiative and others, such as the NAM Task Force on Competitiveness & the Workforce, to improve workforce capabilities; the #WeAreMFG social media campaign, to promote the manufacturing industry as a whole; and the most recent annual Manufacturing Day, when more than 1,500 manufacturers opened their facilities to the public to demonstrate the industry’s exciting career opportunities.
 
“Manufacturing has undergone a dramatic transformation and now includes some of the most technical and fastest-growing careers today,” said EverFi CEO Tom Davidson. “The NAM, the Institute and their thousands of innovative members have the opportunity to profoundly change the game on the future economic opportunity of an entire generation of students, and we’re excited to bring the power of our network to make that happen.”
 
“We are very enthusiastic about the partnership between EverFi and our Dream It. Do It. network,” said Institute President Jennifer McNelly. “We will work to address the skilled labor shortage employers face by building quality education pathways for the next generation of manufacturing leaders.”
 
About the NAM
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.08 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for two-thirds of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers, please visit www.nam.org.
 
About the Manufacturing Institute
The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a nonpartisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers. The Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification and development of world-class manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.
 
About EverFi, Inc.
EverFi, Inc., is the education technology innovator that empowers learners with the skills that prepare them to be successful in life. With backing from some of technology’s most innovative leaders including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Twitter founder Evan Williams, EverFi has built the most comprehensive critical skills platform focused on STEM Readiness, Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying, Entrepreneurship, Alcohol Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness. EverFi’s Education Network is powered by over 1,000 partner organizations across all 50 states and Canada and has reached over 9 million students. Learn more at www.everfi.com.
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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Deborah Dean of Dassault Systèmes Americas

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Deborah Dean, vice president, general counsel at Dassault Systèmes Americas.

Deborah Dean, Dassault

Deborah Dean
Vice President, General Counsel
Dassault Systèmes Americas

Deborah Dean is currently Vice President, General Counsel-Americas for Dassault Systèmes. Ms. Dean joined Dassault Systèmes in 2006 through the acquisition of MatrixOne, Inc., where she served as General Counsel for several years. Prior to joining MatrixOne, she served as counsel to several technology companies. Ms. Dean received her B.A. from Wellesley College and Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. Ms. Dean leads Dassault Systemes’ WIN (Women’s Initiative) in the Americas whose mission is to provide career support and growth for female employees of the company, as well as to support the education of girls in Rwanda. She also serves as a director on the Board of WEST (Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women in STEM.

About Dassault Systèmes Americas

Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, provides businesses and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Its world-leading solutions transform the way products are designed, produced and supported. Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative solutions foster social innovation, expanding possibilities for the virtual world to improve the real world. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is a business experience platform. It provides software solutions for every organization in a company – from engineering to marketing to sales – that help companies, in their value creation process, to create differentiating consumer experiences. Dassault Systèmes brings value to 190,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 140 countries. The company has more than 12,000 employees globally, with approximately 3,000 located in North America. Among the company’s STEM initiatives in North America are a summer internship program called Teachers at Dassault Systemes (TADS), and a partnership with Georgia Tech that includes a STEM-oriented summer camp for high school students.

Shirley on Diversity and STEM

Where do you see the biggest area of opportunity in advancing STEM jobs careers?

As a legal professional working at a high tech firm, I’m keen to show all of the possibilities within STEM careers so that we can illustrate how there are unexpected opportunities in industries that many young people may not have thought of. Twenty years ago, 37% of those enrolled in computer science in college were women, but as recently as 2012, that number had fallen to just 18%. In recent years, we have seen stagnant progress, with fewer and fewer women following that path. There is a great opportunity to achieve meaningful impact advancing STEM careers, through programs that present the broad range of opportunities that exist. That’s where I think companies like Dassault Systèmes can provide truly inspirational examples, simply because of the range of industries we serve.

What is your vision for the future of STEM careers, through diversity?

First, I think it starts with making sure that those in power appreciate the benefits to fully understanding and leveraging the strengths of both genders. It is not something that people should feel threatened by, but they should be embracing diversity goals as an opportunity. There is growing evidence to show that a true commitment to diversity can impact profitability and the overall economy in a positive way. But we have to go further to figure out what it is about careers in STEM that seems to attract men more so than women. Our advantage at Dassault Systèmes is that we work on a lot of really cool, exciting stuff. In recent years, we’ve added more customers in retail and the fashion industry because our 3DEXPERIENCE is touching those industries in ways that it never has before. But to really make the best of this, we have to align who we are as a company and who we are selling to. As we grow the diversity of our leadership, we will find ourselves able to better represent the customers we serve.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

I know I have always benefitted from mentoring, particularly from more senior managers early in my career. My avenue for mentoring has come through the Women’s Initiative or WIN program and through my participation as a Board member for WEST, the Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology organization. One of the key activities of WIN is to invite speakers with concrete advice on how to thrive in a male dominated industry. Through WIN and WEST, we reach a large number of women and provide them with a platform to help them grow individually. We have been able to invite speakers that really help people articulate and contextualize their challenges and give them actionable steps they can take to solve those challenges. One speaker we have hosted with a hugely transformational message is Barbara Annis. Barbara is a true leader in the field of gender intelligence. She has a unique approach that uses brain science to help men and women understand why they think so differently, and how to and leverage each other’s strengths. Becoming a gender intelligent organization can be a catapult to both short term and long term success.

How does STEM leadership with a focus on diversity help your company compete?

For companies that are able to take a long term view of business, ensuring there is a talent pipeline for our industry is critical to the growth of our business, and key to our ability to continually innovate. It’s a business imperative for us to seek out the best talent, and make this a place that the most talented diverse candidates would want to work. The long anticipated shortage of skilled workers has been well documented. By 2030, McKinsey projects shortages of about 40 million college-educated workers (half in industrial countries), equivalent to an eighth of the 300 million college-educated workers expected in the global labor force. This labor shortfall is a real challenge for companies like Dassault Systèmes in North America, but it shouldn’t require us to go elsewhere in the search for the right talent. The potential to tackle this shortfall exists on our own shores. Simply by getting more women interested in STEM careers, and focusing on the talent that exists here, we can solve this issue and create a solid pipeline of talent.

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