Thank you to all who attended talkSTEM’s very first community event at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas on August 24.  Below are some photos from the pre-screening reception.  It was wonderful to see everybody be as interested and involved in education as they are!  Let’s keep talking about the themes that came up in our post screening panel discussion and in the film we watched, Most Likely To Succeed.  Below is a list of themes that came to my mind.  Add your comments please!

My kids showing their support of talkSTEM by working on their wall coaster designs at the prescreening reception
Catching up with friends and colleagues involved in STEM outreach in Dallas. L-R: Wanda Gass (Panelist & Director of Design Connect Create), Torrence Robinson (Panelist & Director of Community Affairs and Foundation for Fluor Corporation), Koshi Dhingra (talkSTEM Founder), Quinn Vance (Exec Director, KIPP DFW Public Schools)
playing with “Little Bits” – circuit making kits
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Key Themes that came up in the film and in our Panel Discussion:

  • Depth vs Breadth:  how deep do we want our kids to go and how much breadth can we give up, given that we live in the information era?
  • How should kids be assessed in order to prepare them for 21st century employment and life?
  • Teacher Quality:  teachers in High Tech High in San Diego were passionate and deeply engaged in their own practice.  They designed innovative projects, assessments, and worked collaboratively.  In other words, they walked the walk.  How do we find spaces for teachers (and parents) to enact the spirit of the teachers we met in the film?
  • Gender:  girls are not boys and their learning styles and social pressures are different from those of boys’.  How can we be sensitive to this at home and at school?
  • Employment:  employers are looking for a wide range of people.  Technical know how and the ability to learn new methods as well as the so-called “soft” skills such as organization, communication, resilience….
  • The institution of School has not changed by too much over the last 125 years.  The factory model of School was created around the time of the Industrial Revolution when there was a need for training of workers for assembly lines.  What should School look like now?
  • Opportunity Gap:  how do we eliminate the opportunity gap that exists – so that all kids can gain experience being innovators, being engaged in meaningful project based learning, being assessed in authentic and complex ways?
  • How do we find opportunities for us as parents, teachers, community members engaged in education, to do the work that underlies the sentiment behind the film – fostering passion, creativity, collaboration so that kids see themselves as innovative STEM and STEAM practitioners?

Most Likely To Succeed takes a “firm stance against prescribing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the problem at hand. We aren’t told that every school must emulate those presented here in order to succeed. On the contrary, we are told and even empowered to formulate an innovative solution of our own. The stunning success displayed in High Tech High is simply inspiration; one way of doing things that churns out moving results.”
(from:  film review)
As the 2015-16 school year gets going, let us keep the discussion going and share ways that we have been inspired to engage our children in meaningful learning in our varied, local contexts.
Special thanks to our Panel Participants:
Dr David Chard, Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU,
Wanda Gass, President at Design Connect Create,
Marni Kaner, President of Richardson ISD Council of PTAs,
Lynn McBee, CEO of the Foundation for the Education of Young Women, and
Torrence Robinson, Director of Community Affairs and Fluor Foundation.
Special thanks also to our wonderful moderator, Mike Heaton, Regional Director of the US Fund for UNICEF
Note: If you’re interested in joining the Most Likely To Succeed community and movement, see information here: Most Likely To Succeed Film

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About the Founder & CEO

Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.


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