25 Years of Growing With STEM

Education at all levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—STEM—develops, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and skills that convey personal, economic, and social benefits. Higher education provides the advanced work skills needed in an increasingly knowledge-intensive, innovation-focused economy and society.”  – National Science Foundation

 

STEM education, focusing on the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, allow the subjects to be taught as a united, real world model. While the United States has overwhelmingly been a leader in the STEM fields, lately fewer and fewer students are choosing these careers. While 28% of high school freshman declare an interest in STEM-related fields, 57% of these students will lose that interest before graduating high school.

The lack of inspiration and motivation necessary for students to succeed in STEM subjects is directly related to inadequate numbers of qualified teachers in the classroom. The Obama and Trump Administrations have made specific grants to be accessed by educators to enhance and support STEM learning. Tapping into these grants to develop more engaging, invigorating science education benefits students and their future career choices.

STEM diverges from conventional science and mathematics teachings by showing students how they can apply the scientific method and scientific themes to everyday life, using STEM as a tool for understanding their world.  Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that begin at a very early age is lacking. Much of STEM education focuses on early education and the underrepresented populations in the STEM fields. Introducing STEM courses, raising awareness of the STEM occupations and fields, and igniting interested in pursuit of science are the fundamental objectives of STEM studies.

The representation gap within STEM fields is ever increasing. Male students are 3 times as likely to pursue a STEM career than female students. Within STEM graduates, male students are more likely to pursue engineering and technology fields while female students prefer the science fields of chemistry and biology. Looking further into the demographics of STEM fields, we see racial sparsity within career choices. Asian students have displayed the highest interested in STEM fields, where African American students have continuously dropped interest from being the most to least interested demographic. Work is needed by educators to ensure STEM fluency is habituated, regardless of students’ background, by delivering a quality learning environment to each child’s zip code.

STEM careers are of the most value, each focusing on applying scientific principals and problem solving.  STEM related jobs grew three times as quickly as non-STEM positions from 2000 to 2010. STEM careers are shown to be better paid, and more plentiful than many other careers. While the average salary in the United States is around $43,000, STEM occupations earn more than 12-30% across all education levels. Research shows that around 72-75% of STEM employees hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For each graduate with a STEM degree there are 1.73 jobs for each individual, compared to non-STEM occupations in which 4 individuals are competing for each job. Even so, many who hold STEM degrees work in other fields due to their competency. STEM degrees are in much higher demand, showing to be more competent in complex problem solving, troubleshooting, and reasoning.

Recent studies show that when high schools make additional science and mathematics courses available, there was no impact in the rate of which students declare a STEM college major. Teaching in traditional styles lack the effect of an invigorating educational experience. It is necessary for students to be engaged in STEM education to begat success. Hands-on science enrichment allows students to have a glimpse into what an exciting STEM career would emulate, simulating the rewarding future in the STEM fields.

High Touch High Tech was founded in 1994, long before the term “STEM” was popularized. We provide a hands-on science experience at a young age, supporting teachers in developing future STEM graduates. Today’s youth is being under served in STEM, lacking the full circle, real world implications that science supports and develops. High Touch High Tech programs reach over 16 million students annually, granting a discovery in young minds that will change the world.

 

 

Sources Cited:

Hom, E. “What is STEM Education?” Live Science, February 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html

Smithsonian Science Education Institute. “The STEM Imperative.” STEMvisions, 2019. Retrieved from: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Sawchuk, S. “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs?” Education Week, May 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/23/is-stem-oversold-as-a-path-to.html

Happy 25th Birthday! Things Turning 25 Along with High Touch High Tech

1994 was an amazing year in world news, technological and scientific advancements.  High Touch High Tech began franchising, Nelson Mandela won the presidency of South Africa, and Amazon and Yahoo were both created, and floppy disks were a thing of everyday life! Take the nostalgic trip down memory lane with us as we reminisce 1994.

 

Amazon and Yahoo

      

In 1994, the world wide web has just been created. Yahoo and Amazon were both created and grew to the internet giants they are today. Imagine the days before being able to chat with strangers thousands of miles away at any given time! Imagine being unable to order your entire grocery list from your couch through Amazon prime! These websites revolutionized our relationship with the internet, both getting their start alongside High Touch High Tech.

 

Creation of the Element 110, Darmstadtium

Darmstadtium, element 110 was first synthesized in 1994! There were several failed attempts to create element 110, and was first successfully made that year. While chemists Yuri Ganessian and Vladimir Utyonkov created the very first Darmstadtium particles through cold fusion, credit for the first successful synthesizing goes to Sigurd Hofmann, Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg of Darmstadt, Germany where the element earned its name. The German scientists created the element by bombarding lead with nickel, and their evidence was deeming more credible and confirmed by other scientists throughout the world. Darmstadtium is a highly radioactive metal, and few atoms have ever been created!

 

 

 

 

 

PlayStation

The very first PlayStation was released by Sony in 1994. While PlayStation wasn’t the sole gaming console on the market, then competing with the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, the PlayStation was game changing. With a CD format and sleek design, the PlayStation became the first gaming console to sell 100 million units worldwide! While many trends and gaming consoles have come and gone, PlayStation has remained a key player for 25 years.

 

 

Living fossil Wollemi Pine found

Before 1994, the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) was believed to be extinct, only having been seen in fossils. The plant is from a line of evolutionary plants, dating back to the dinosaurs, long believed to have been extinct. In 1994, the plant was discovered in the remote, rainforest gorge of Australia. Currently, there are about 80 mature plants and 300 seedlings. The Wollemi pine produces various types of foliage depending on the age of the leaf, and the leaf’s position on the tree. Newer foliage is apple-green in color and frond-like. As the plant develops, the foliage becomes a blue-green color, giving it a Jurassic appearance with dual leaf rows on its branches. The mature trees have a bubbling chocolate appearance, as spongy nodules develop on its bark.

 

Nelson Mandela Elected President of South Africa

Until 1994, the Apartheid government of South Africa only allowed black voters elect Bantustan or homeland candidates. The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act had stripped black citizens of South Africa of their citizenship, making them citizens of their segregated homelands, or Bantu, in the apartheid state. In 1994 these homelands ceased to exist and were incorporated into the general South African elections, making this election the first multiracial election in South African history. On May 10th of 1994, Nelson Mandela, at the age of 77, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first place president. He tirelessly worked as president to address the issues caused by the apartheid, poverty, inequality, lack of social services and infrastructure, and building a strong economy. Nelson Mandela’s presidency reconciled and strengthened the nation of South Africa, becoming a beacon of progress throughout the world.

 

 

 

Western Hemisphere Declared Free of Polio

Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as polio, was a disease which left survivors permanently disabled. Each few years polio epidemics would plague cities and towns, leaving a trail of death and paralysis behind it. Most famous of all polio survivors being President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, being paralyzed waist down by the disease at age 39. FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938, which would lead to the development of vaccinations for polio. In 1908, polio was identified as a virus by Dr. Karl Landsteiner after filtering preparations of spinal fluid of persons killed by polio. Later in 1910, Dr. Simon Flexner identified “germicidal substances” in the blood of monkeys that survived the polio virus, identifying the antibodies to polio which are the necessary agents in developing a vaccination.

Two separate teams of researchers developed early forms of the polio vaccination in 1935, both vaccinations ending in allergic reactions, illnesses, paralysis, and some deaths. For another 25 years, there were unfortunate trials and errors of an effective polio vaccination, but in the year 1960 Albert Sabin’s poliovirus vaccination for Type 1 poliovirus was licensed and formally recommended by the U.S. Surgeon general. Three years after this licensure, a vaccination for poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3 were combined creating one vaccination of the disease.  In the year 1994, polio was completely eradicated in the Western Hemisphere. While there are still cases of polio globally, there has been more than a 99% reduction of polio cases worldwide, proven the Poliomyelitis vaccination a simple and effective.

 

The Transition in Technology from 1994

So many of our everyday life depends on the internet; work, entertainment, communication, information, monetary transactions, networking, marketing, and education. In 1994, the World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee, and became the Internet we know and depend on today.

In 1994 there was no Google, no Hulu and Netflix, no smartphones, no YouTube, no social media, and no flat-screen TVs. Let’s look back at our very humble internet and technology beginnings.

The First World Wide Website

Yahoo

Program Installation via floppy disk

GameBoy Games

Before Netflix and streaming sites, you had to go to a Blockbuster or video store to watch a movie

VHS Movies, the DVD was invented in 1995

No one had an email, or much access to the internet, so faxing was the go-to for messages

Cell phones, whose battery was the size of the phone.  Free of a camera, touch screen, and texting

 

CD Players, because there were no iPods, Pandora, or Spotify.

 

 

Technology is constantly developing, and we’ve come a long way since 1994. As new inventions are developed, technology takes an increasing large role in our lives. We at High Touch High Tech believe in developing the next generation of inventors, granting us to the innovations of our future.

 

Sources Cited:

Barker, E. “25 Moments That Defined 1994.” NME, Jan. 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.nme.com/photos/25-moments-that-defined-1994-1422189

Sony Interactive Entertainment. “PlayStation, Through the Years.” PlayStation, Sep. 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/ps4/playstation-through-the-years/

Robertson, M. “Darmstadtium.” Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/110/darmstadtium

The Global Trees Campaign. “Threatened Trees, Wollemi Pine.” Fauna and Flora International, 2017. Retrieved from: https://globaltrees.org/threatened-trees/trees/wollemi-pine/

South African History Online. “The Nelson Mandela Presidency – 1994 to 1999.” South African History Online Towards a People’s History, August 2019.  Retrieved from: https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/nelson-mandela-presidency-1994-1999

History of Vaccines. “The History of Vaccines, All Timelines Overview.” The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Birthplace of American Medicine, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline#EVT_100340

Bort, J. “No Google. No Netflix. No iPhone. This is What Tech Was Like in 1994.” Business Insider, August 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-in-1994-the-year-the-web-was-born-2014-8

Feature Franchisee: Polymer Pat of High Touch High Tech Western Los Angeles County

 

 

Polymer Pat of Western Los Angeles County opened his High Touch High Tech franchise in 2007. Join us in discussing his experiences, successes, and reasons he loves his business!

Q: Why did you chose to open a High Touch High Tech franchise?

A: I used to be an elementary school teacher, and I always loved teaching, but I didn’t like the environment I was teaching in. Dealing with ornery parents, having to follow regulations and curriculum rules, I couldn’t teach the things I would like to teach. I found this franchise and had the opportunity to stop teaching as a schoolteacher, and still do the teaching I enjoyed. Quite a few things about High Touch High Tech appealed to me. First it was education based, second was I could build my business out of my home. At the time I was renting and didn’t have the funds to buy a giant commercial space. With those two important factors, I was able start my business and run it fairly easily.

Q: Why is STEM education important to you?

A: With STEM education you get this unique feedback from kids. When you’re teaching something that they enjoy and are having fun learning, there is an interaction that gives as much back to me as I impart with the students. You can feel that you’re making a difference in these little kids’ lives.

Q: What has been a success of yours as an entrepreneur? 

A: The biggest success is being my own boss. I like the freedom of it.  While High Touch High Tech is a franchise, I have the freedom to run my business the way I feel is most beneficial to my area. It’s not like a McDonald’s franchise where everything is a square peg into a square hole. I have the ability to be creative in how I implement the programs, and the way I run my business.

Q: What’s been the largest benefit of being a part of High Touch High Tech’s franchise system? 

A: I couldn’t have started this business on my own. I was able to go into a system that is already set and a business model that’s been proven successful. I was given the tools in order to get the business going. I still needed to figure out how to best serve my region, unique to the other franchises. While most of the other franchises do a majority of elementary school programs, that simply wasn’t working for me. High Touch High Tech allowed me the freedom to switch gears and find something else that allowed me to be successful.

Q: What does High Touch High Tech do well as a franchiser?

A:  High Touch High Tech provides an amazing product; the programs drive the business. I really enjoy the programs we offer and enjoy teaching them. Also, the support is really great too. The times I’ve needed to reach out for support, High Touch High Tech is on it, getting me the tools I need.

 

25 Years of Community: High Touch High Tech and Volunteering

 

We’ve all gotten the phone calls, in-person visits, and letters asking your business to donate time, or usually money to a cause or charity in the community. What is the real return on investment when devoting your money and time to these enterprises? While most people feel that the effort isn’t quite worth the response, it usually does much more for business than you’d expect! Involving yourself and your staff in charitable efforts builds morale, fosters customer relationships and builds trust within your neighborhood.

Being active and supporting your community doesn’t have to come in the form of monetary donations. One of the best ways to get involved is by engaging with your and your staff’s time. Devote one community day of action company-wide each year! Have regular blood drives or volunteer at a local shelter. It shows your clients that you’re involved and allows your employees a day away from the office!

Volunteering makes you happier and healthier, encouraging healthier employees! Volunteering is shown to increase self-confidence, sense of purpose, and decrease stress and anxiety. Even more interestingly, research has shown that non-volunteers’ to volunteers’ happiness levels are comparable to those with a $20,000 annual salary versus a $75,000-100,000 annual salary. A study among hiring influencers showed 82% of them were more likely to promote volunteers into leadership roles! Volunteering has a positive effect on your personal and business careers. Happy employees are more productive and pleasant to work with!

Your business volunteering to local organizations, or simply helping around the neighborhood is free advertising! We see advertisements all day long desensitizing us to their impacts to the point we ignore them. Giving back to the community exposes you to those who aren’t as welcoming to traditional advertising avenues. Community activism increases the chances that local media outlets hear of these happenings and grant you coverage and free exposure to a further fresh audience! Charitable efforts and volunteering put you and your business into new positions that offer new and better opportunities.

Your community, and potentially your competition, are taking notes on how to engage and participate in the community from you and your staff’s precedent. Setting an example of being helpful, being thankful and charitable makes it more likely other members within the community will do so as well. Be the reason more businesses donate and participate; you cannot succeed without your community’s success!

Take photos of these events and post about the charity you’re involved with on social media. Showing your customers that you care for your community, and so do your employees proves why your brand deserves their loyalty!

 

 

Sources Cited:

“The Advantages of Being Active in Your Community.” CorkTree Creative, July 2018. Retrieved from: https://corktreecreative.com/blog/350-the-advantages-of-being-active-in-your-community/

“The Benefits of Being Active in Your Own Community.” Managing Coummunites.com, September 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.managingcommunities.com/2012/09/03/participating-in-your-own-community/

Jenkins, J. “Health Benefits of Volunteering for the Employee Volunteer.” Community Health Charities, September 2018. Retrieved from: https://healthcharities.org/health-benefits-of-volunteering-for-the-employee-volunteer/

Charles, J. “5 Ways Volunteering Can Help Your Small Business Grow.” Small Business Trends, October 2011. Retrieved from: https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/10/business-benefits-of-volunteering.html

Playful Learning: The Role in Education

 

Children of all cultures and backgrounds play. Play is omnipresent in the developing minds of children, as well as young animals. Play is an agent that promotes early brain development, strengthens language skills, the executive functions of memory and attention, mathematic and spatial skills, scientific thinking, and emotional development. There is an evident correlation between play and cognitive progression, which grants breakthroughs in conducting education.

Guided play maintains the free and fun aspects of play, while focusing on education goals, fostering an opportunity for imaginative exploration. For children, play and activity is about make-believe, discovery, amusement, and socialization. The difference between free and guided play is gentle adult guidance to lead towards the learning goal, while allowing the creativity to be nurtured.  This innovative approach to making learning an active experience has shown to be a successful pedagogical tool in a variety of subjects, particularly mathematics and science.

Parents, educators, and policy makers want to ensure that today’s youth will grow into tomorrow’s successful adults. The time for childhood development is short, and the expectations are increasingly high. Traditional learning is direct instruction, typically using flash cards, repetitive lessons, and over explanation with a lack of discovery.  Playful learning through guided play supports children taking a lead in their instruction, while being directed to the points and concepts that are vital to education standards and goals. Current and expanding research shows that guided play provides and delivers the same outcomes in children’s learning as traditional teaching, while being a more effective teaching tool.

Research finds that children who engage in guided play activities were more likely to learn target information. Additionally, they are more likely to retain abstract themes than the children who were given direct instruction, while children engaging in free play, without any adult support, overall are less likely to stumble upon the same realizations. A study with preschool aged children taught about shapes using guided play, free play, and conventional instruction. The children who engaged in guided play lesson were able to identify more atypical shapes than those who participated in direct lessons, and more shapes overall than those who participated in free play. The role of adults in guided play is to support the children’s choices, asking open-ended questions to gently shape behavior without controlling it.

Here at High Touch High Tech, we see the value of a hands-on, discovery style of learning. Each day we get to see students come to realizations, all the while using an active imagination. Teachers and the curriculum they abide by have yet to admit guided play and aren’t given the tools to do so. Our students lead in their own education, and it provides them an autonomy of their actions. Students are just learning how the world operates by using their imagination to dream of the possibilities and discovering new information each day.  STEM education is the key to making sense of our world, thus being the single greatest influence on the innovations which will change the world.

 

 

 

 

Sources Cited:

Hassinger-Das, B. “The Case of Brain Science and Guided Play: A Developing Story.” Naeyc, May 2017. Vol. 72, No. 2.

Weisberg DS, Zosh JM. “How Guided Play Promotes Early Childhood Learning. “In: Tremblay RE, Boivin M, Peters RDeV, eds. Pyle A, topic ed. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Retrieved from http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/play-based-learning/according-experts/how-guided-play-promotes-early-childhood-learning