“Blow Minds, Teach STEM” Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation of Great STEM Teachers

“Blow Minds, Teach STEM” Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation of Great STEM Teachers

09.29.2014

The UTeach Institute, 100Kin10, and Dozens of Partners Launch the Blow Minds Campaign

Austin, TX. The UTeach Institute, together with 100Kin10 and dozens of partner organizations, has launching “Blow Minds, Teach STEM,” a coordinated, co-funded campaign to inspire undergraduates and recent graduates with strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to become teachers. 

The US ranks 27th in math and 20th in science among industrialized countries, slotting in somewhere between the Slovak Republic and Lithuania. There is no way of turning around these dismal results without great math and science, tech and engineering (or STEM) teachers in our nation’s schools. Because of this, President Obama called for 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in his 2011 State of the Union Address.

100Kin10 is a network of 200 multi-sector organizations responding to this exact need. The UTeach Institute, which coordinates a national network of 39 university-based UTeach STEM teacher preparation programs, was among 30 100Kin10 partners who worked closely with Cultivated Wit to design the campaign, which introduces STEM teaching as an impactful, even mind-blowing career option for STEM majors and recent graduates, while amplifying the importance of STEM teaching to a much broader audience.

Kimberly Hughes, Director of the UTeach Institute, remarked on the unique, collaborative nature of the initiative. “It is exciting to be part of this grass roots movement to highlight the role that great teachers can play in transforming all of our lives. I’m hopeful that, together, we can encourage more talented college students studying STEM to take up this challenge and consider teaching.”

In a generation marked by competition and division, this campaign stands out as a marquee example of collective action. Working together as allies, 100Kin10 and its partners are demonstrating the strength of solving big problems together. In the words of the campaign, “In an era of fierce corporate competition and stark party-line politics, this movement stands as a pretty remarkable example of collaboration in the name of the greater good. Imagine that, educators setting an example for collaboration and teamwork. Whoda thunk it?”

The campaign presents the excitement of STEM and celebrates the power of STEM teaching. As the call to action on the website explains, “The future of everything you love (like iPhones and baby pandas and online food delivery), and everything our nation needs (like bridges and not-cancer and cleaner energy) depends on having excellent STEM teachers ASAP.”

An animated music video, featuring a teacher-turned-rockstar who captivates her class with mind-blowing examples of STEM, such as pulling off her own arm and replacing it with a bionic one, and a significant social media presence drive attention and traffic to the robust web-based hub that includes resources for potential STEM teachers, mind-blowing STEM-focused stories and news, and entertaining elements such as a career quiz and shareable GIFs.

“Blow Minds, Teach STEM” has garnered significant national attention from a range of supporters. Over 700 backers participated in the coordinated launch on Tuesday, September 16, amassing a social reach of over 12.7 million.

Singer-songwriter John Legend, actor Michael Ian Black, co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, human-centered design firm IDEO, media firm GOOD, “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf, Time’s first Person of the Planet Sylvia Earle, and the United States Department of Education have lent their voices to “Blow Minds, Teach STEM.” They are joined by multitudes of parents, educators, scientists, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs, alongside a chorus of passionate citizens.

You can join in this effort to bolster and grow our national STEM teaching force by visiting www.blowminds.org.

About UTeach and the UTeach Institute. The UTeach program began at UT Austin in 1997. UTeach answers the challenge to train more mathematics and science teachers through a program designed to combine rigorous STEM degrees with secondary teaching certification. UTeach enables students studying mathematics, science, or computer science to receive both a degree in their major and teaching certification without additional time or cost.

The UTeach program model calls for a unique collaborative partnership between the colleges of science, liberal arts, and education in preparing teachers who have deep content knowledge in their STEM discipline, are proficient in core scientific and mathematical practices, and are able to apply appropriate STEM pedagogical strategies to promote student mastery of core concepts, principles, and practices in mathematics and science.

The UTeach Institute was established in 2006 at UT Austin to support replication of the UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation program at universities across the country and to lead efforts toward continuous improvement of the UTeach model. UTeach programs are now active on 39 campuses across the country with a total current enrollment of more than 6,700 students. To date, more than 2100 graduates have been produced nationally.

About 100Kin10. 100Kin10 is a multi-sector network responding to the national call to train and retain 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021. 100Kin10’s 200 best-in-class partner organizations each make a unique commitment to improve STEM learning for all students by increasing the supply of excellent STEM teachers; hiring, developing, and retaining excellent STEM teachers; and/or building the 100Kin10 movement.