Driving STEM learning at home; dodging digital ads; fixing the VA

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

By Jason Middleton

Encouraging STEM Education

Call it STEM or STEAM, it’s really just about getting young people — elementary age whenever possible, interested in science, technology, engineering, (the arts) and math.

According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by Emerson, 2 in 5 (40 percent) believe the STEM worker shortage is at a crisis level in the United States.  

Who better to evangelize for just such an approach than a YouTube celebrity who specializes in popularizing science?

This week on Techonomics, in segment one, we host Hank Green, an advocate for a stronger focus on STEM at earlier ages.

Dodging Digital Ads

They follow us. They seemingly “know” us. And, they’re relentless. Digital advertising is a duopoly, belonging to Google and Facebook. So, to avoid digital ads, just avoid using Google and Facebook, right?

OK, if that’s a non-starter, then maybe we should add some skills to our digital life-plan. Dr Kit Yarrow is the expert we need in this time of impulse buying and late night browsing. She comes to the rescue in segment two!

Two quick suggestions she offered you can easily start implementing now:

  1. Use “wish lists” and cool off before buying.
  2. Don’t let familiarity rule — in other words,  just because you see the same ad all the time doesn’t mean you need it.

Online Schooling

All jokes about homeschooling are largely passé now. Families need the flexibility for education for various reasons, whether that be hectic schedules because of athletics or extracurricular activities, avoiding a bullying situation, or physical and/or developmental capabilities.

This week on Techonomics, in segment three, former software engineer Amar Kumar from Pearson Research joins us to discuss a new study that shows online learning is a valid augmentation, and sometimes replacement, for regular brick-and-mortar public schooling.

Kumar is a former principal and teacher who is now a leader at Pearson Online and Blended Learnings Research. All the tests and milestones are still met, just on a family’s own, personalized schedule.

Modernizing the VA’s Appeals Process

The headlines over the past few years regarding the Veterans’ Administration have been less than flattering: Long wait times, missed care, bureaucratic shuttling and nonsense.

That’s starting to change, especially with the VA’s medical appeals process. A new system should take wait times for decisions from several years to several weeks!

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 created a new system in which Veterans can choose a review, a supplemental claim or an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).

The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) is a program for the aforementioned act that is currently available.

This week, in our final segment, we chat with the director of that entire appeals process, David McLenachen, who explains how veterans can expedite their cases and move on with their lives.

Please click through any of the above links for more information. Visit our show page to view all our podcasts (see this week’s segments mentioned in the article below) or find them on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.

Have great weeks, everybody!


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