Posts belonging to Category STEM



Thomas Edison Advocated Movies in the Classroom

Thomas Edison Advocated Movies in the ClassroomThomas Edison Advocated Movies in the ClassroomThink how students learn in the classroom today, using smartboards where videos and various science and math oriented animations help them to grasp complicated information and relationships. Seems so futuristic compared to how classroom information was explained 20 years ago. We all learn so much from the blizzard of videos available through our smartboards, cell phones, computers and tablets—think YouTube and the many other sources of cyber videos out there.

In 1910-1912, Edison was expanding his motion pictures industry and making great overtures about how movies would be making great inroads in the classrooms of tomorrow…even trying to get some local schools to work with him. Thomas Edison envisioned an end to textbooks, in favor of movies that explained not only educational subjects but showed how commonplace items were made from raw resources. Today, you can watch on various cable channels how things are made and brought to our tables…..something very few teachers and students grasp even today, seemingly removed from how our whole economy works.

Edison on the cover of Scientific American 1909. His motion pictures would do for the eye what his phonograph did for the ears.

Edison on the cover of Scientific American 1909. His motion pictures would do for the eye what his phonograph did for the ears.

While Edison seems to have been right on the mark about the power of visual learning in the classroom, his ideas created quite a storm from educationalists of the day. His boat rocking was not so well received. He was way ahead of his time, with an interview that appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in late 1912, entitled “Going to School at the ‘Movies’.

Thomas Edison said, “If I were a school teacher, I would put lazy pupils to studying bees and ants. They would soon learn to be diligent.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison’s Secret Labs: Animated STEM – Adventures for Kids

It’s all rolled together in the show called Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab® with the following story line … ”Unknown to the world, Thomas Edison had a secret lab where he invented a virtual version of himself and a nearly-completed robot to show kids how fun science can be! The secret lab, Edison’s virtual alter ego, and his prototype robot remained hidden until a 12-year-old prodigy cracked the secret coded message that Edison left behind. The young genius and her friends moved into the lab and added a virtual link for kids everywhere to join in their hilarious adventures”. The show has magic from the Big Bang Theory, a touch of Inspector Gadget, and a dash of The Jetsons.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Labs: Animated STEM - Adventures for Kids

The series combines clever comedic concoction of wild visual experiments and inventions with crazy characters getting caught up in amazing adventures. Meet the cast!

Thomas Edison’s Secret Labs: Animated STEM - Adventures for Kids

In various articles appearing on this website, we have discussed numerous times the powerful connection between Thomas Edison and the highly popular STEM learning paradigm now so visible in our nation’s middle schools. Several years ago, Genius Brands International in partnership with the Edison Innovation Foundation developed an animated STEM-based comedy adventure series for young students.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Labs: Animated STEM - Adventures for Kids

Check it out on YouTube

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Thomas Edison said, “My desire is to do everything within my power to free people from drudgery and create the largest measure of happiness and prosperity.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison Holds a Pitch Contest

Middle school student teams recently showed their ability to be both innovative and articulate as they pitched new product ideas to a panel of judges and competed for top honors in the Edison Innovation Foundation’s new Thomas Edison Pitch Contest. All this happened on a Saturday morning at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park [TENHP] in West Orange, NJ.

The winners and their teacher mentor pose near the historic desk of famed inventor Thomas Edison on display at TENHP.

The winners and their teacher mentor pose near the historic desk of famed inventor Thomas Edison on display at TENHP.

Competing teams from Heritage Middle School, Grover Cleveland Middle School, and Glen Rock Middle School put it all on the line to extoll the virtues of their ideas; and then answer tough questions about the viability of their designs. Here is how it all boiled down:

  • First Place- $1,000 to Heritage for the “Ultimate Air Quality Sensor”
  • Second Place- $500 to Glen Rock for the “Charging Solution”
  • Third Place- $250 to Grover Cleveland for the “Motorized Brush Cleaner”

With the award money, the teams can now develop prototypes of their product ideas, and will report on their success by the end of the school year in a written report back to the Foundation. The contest exemplifies how in the STEM-rich business world new ideas are first conceived, funding is obtained for their development [the pitch] and how actual prototypes are built and evaluated.

The three finalist teams and their teacher mentors enjoying a group photo at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park where the contest finals were held.

The three finalist teams and their teacher mentors enjoying a group photo at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park where the contest finals were held.

From the very desk in the photo above, Thomas Edison launched his famous invention factory concept which later became the foundation for R&D labs worldwide and the STEM process our children study in school today. It was not unusual for Edison to manage 30-40 new product development teams all the time.

Based on the success of this pitch contest, the Foundation plans to significantly increase the size of this contest in the near future.

Thomas Edison was there in spirit to listen to what these young entrepreneurs had to propose. That you can be sure of! He would have hired these talented future leaders.

Thomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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