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Education – Investing in our Future – Series Introduction

STEM Education, Colorado Paradox and using Project-based learning to educate the next generation

I am kicking off a new series that addresses another one of my passions: Education! Readers know that I love my family, sports, leadership, and effective use of social media. However, I spend much of my volunteer time trying to be part of the solution when it comes to educating the next generation. I feel there are some outstanding initiatives going on in Colorado, and I would like to share with readers with the hopes that we can crowdsource ideas that may benefit our student populations for years to come.

This series will discuss topics like the following:

The Colorado Paradox:

  • 35% of adults 25 and older have bachelor’s degree or higher
  • National average is 30%
  • - Colorado ranks 27 out of 50 states when it comes to students graduating on-time from public schools
  • Paradox: Highly educated adult population not producing appropriately educated new graduates

Problem Areas:

  • Lack of funding
  • Reduced tax base
  • Teachers under incredible workloads and classroom populations
  • Under-equipped schools for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • Students not choosing STEM
  • Lack of continuing education opportunities

Becoming Part of the Solution:

- Organizations like the Colorado Technology Association (CTA)
- Introducing industry/business partners to educators
- Project-based learning
- Encouraging STEM education
- Students find education paths and internships
- Externship opportunities for educators

Here is the video that kicks off the series. I look forward to your contributions to the comment section as we discuss ideas to make a difference in the next generation’s education. Let’s be part of the solution!

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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6 comments
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Janet Callaway
Janet Callaway

Brian, aloha. You are such a pro with your vlogs. Love the background scenery. Big trees and twisty trees always fascinate me. Having been away from the school system for decades, I cannot speak with any first hand experience. Anything I know, I have heard from others. That being said, I do think schools have not changed enough with the times. When you spoke of wanting to teach the students to be good employees, it reminded me of the industrial complex model which is not a fit with today's business, economics and societal environments. Though I don't know if you have ever seen it, I do quite like this 11+ minute RSAnimate by Ken Robinson. You may have heard some of this talks on education on TED. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U Brian, as it happens I do know some people who live in Colordao, one of whom works for the school system. Her comments are definitely less than charitable about what happens. Look forward to following your new series. Aloha. Janet

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

I love these types of "quick draw" videos, Janet. Thanks for including it as a linked resource for this series. It was excellent, and I hope readers take the time to watch it. Great points about ADHD, the distractions that are available to them via devices/media, and our current society's focus on medicating the problem! Then the whole discussion about changing the paradigm around standardized testing and grouping by age...

Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan)
Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan)

Good for you, BV. Not easy affecting our education system. It's sort of like trying to turn a huge ship. Can't do it quickly. In my case, I'm doing my best to take care of two boys.

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

It *is* like turning a huge ship, but sometimes I feel like we are consuming knowledge resources without replenishing them - with the next generation. I've got one kid finishing up her first year in college, and another one finishing junior year in high school. Yet I find myself in other high schools and higher ed institutions beating the drum for STEM initiatives. We have to educate the people who ultimately lead our country, make decisions on entitlements, healthcare, and debt ceilings. Besides, we always want our children to be better off than we were, and that starts with education and gainful employment! If we can't accomplish this with the effective use of tax dollars, then it is time to get creative with the ultimate consumers of these resources - industry.

Bernie Zanoni
Bernie Zanoni

Brian I am working on becoming an industry partner with Cherry Creek School District and I am open to any suggestions on how to increase the odds on how to get on the committee. I have already gotten an endorsement from a Principle of one of the schools near by.

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

Thanks for stopping by, Bernie - and for wanting to be part of the solution. Cherry Creek (CCSD) is ahead of the curve in some areas relative to STEM education. In fact, I was at an Advisory panel meeting there just a couple weeks ago, and I'll be meeting with their Program Director later this week. I'll mention your name to her. Then you have to decide where to get involved. Since we both share the martial arts background, I will tell you that another school district was interested in their STEM kids seeing the "Physics of Judo". I hope to throw another industry partner (always fun), and then we discuss the physics behind momentum, leverage...perhaps even amount of force as the person hits the ground. You could extend that demonstration to brick breaking. Teach the physics behind a point load hitting a brick spanning two supports...and what happens if that point load is offset too much by one of the supports (you miss the middle of the span, and the load is absorbed more by the support). At this point, you might want to determine your audience...primary school versus middle/high school. Of course, explaining the dangers of obesity and the value of exercise and nutrition is also valuable. You also have a small business. You could reach out to their Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization to see if they would be interested in paid internships. Let them know this would be more than wiping down mirrors and vacuuming. Instead, they could also learn about marketing and sales in a dynamic environment.

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