Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

On Thursday, at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C., a record number of attendees, including policy makers, educators, industry leaders and others, gathered to discuss how education innovators design responsive, engaging and academically rigorous programs to prepare students to meet the demands of the U.S. economy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Congressman Rokita 2

The @Microsoft Conversation on Education, entitled “Preparing the Next Generation for 21st Century Jobs: Why STEM Education & Blended Learning Matter”, focused on the impact of 21st century STEM jobs and how educators can best prepare students for successful careers in these disciplines. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind., pictured above) delivered opening remarks, emphasizing the growing importance of the STEM fields and their necessity in keeping America competitive. Change the Equation Chief Executive Officer Dr. Linda Rosen moderated the conversation, alongside several prestigious panelists, including CityBridge Foundation President Katherine Bradley, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer for Research Ed Dieterle and Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program Senior Research Associate and Associate Fellow Jonathan Rothwell.

Panel 1 Cropped

The conversation was lively and robust, examining what types of STEM skills 21st century jobs require and exploring critical design elements of successful and innovative education programs.

Last month, Microsoft announced a $1 million, three-year grant to support the CityBridge-NewSchools Education Innovation Fellowship. The Education Innovation Fellowship introduces blended learning to a growing cohort of teacher leaders in Washington, D.C., and this grant will support increased engagement of STEM teachers. The Fellowship is an important investment in teachers—the classroom leaders who can spark instructional innovation through breakthrough uses of digital content and tools.

Following the panel, we spoke with Dr. Linda Rosen on innovative techniques educators use to enhance STEM learning in schools:

We also spoke with Jonathan Rothwell about the importance of STEM education in regards to the U.S. economy and American competitiveness:

Missed the event but want to learn more? For more on STEM education and the YouthSpark program, check out Jeremy Moore: Computer Science Star, and participate in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #STEMedu.