Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Archive for February, 2012
February 29th, 2012

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wendy.murphy in

My own personal experiences and education were different before I came to P-TECH. How, you ask? Well I’m going to tell you.

I had or still have many flaws in my education, and many of those flaws come from the schools I recently attended. None of my former schools focused on the weaknesses of the students like P-TECH does. For example in my old middle school, I was struggling a lot with math. It was impossible for me to get anything done. I was constantly requesting help, but I never got the right help. It was almost like nobody cared about my problems in school. For English Language Arts , my writing was okay, but my reading was not up to the right standard. I requested tutoring sessions that were promised but never fulfilled. I was an average student, I never took tests seriously, and I thought school was a joke. But P-TECH changed all. At P-TECH, I’m getting help with my math, my ELA, and with my professional attitude towards school and the real world.

I’d hoped P-TECH would change my horrible habits in math. That’s exactly what it did, but not immediately. Nothing really changed for me until they introduced MathXL to us and began after-school programs. Math started getting easier, and I was getting the correct help I needed. My math became more accurate, and I became one of the best in my math class. I felt accomplished when I looked at my math grades, and thought I didn’t have to practice anymore. But I was wrong.

I have a ways to go before I can call myself a good mathematician. I didn’t do too well on the math Regents – not because I didn’t understand the problems, but because of the poor study habits I’d carried over my former schools. But even after the Regents, I am still getting great help. I’m even in a class with kids that have some of the same issues and need the same kind of help. I am very impressed with P-TECH, and I really appreciate the math help that I am receiving.

My ELA skills are not spectacular either. I am not very detail oriented, but P-TECH changed that about me too. I used to be a mediocre writer and reader. I hated reading, and I thought writing was boring. For the first week of P-TECH, nothing was going well for me until my first ELA teacher Ms. Kym took the time to understand me and help me improve myself in writing and reading. When I entered P-TECH, I had a seventh-grade reading level. I don’t know my current reading level, but I know it far exceeds seventh grade. I have been making major improvements in my learning and I am even studying more. Because of P-TECH, I have great study habits and I’m a really good writer. To top it off, I got an 88 on the ELA Regents. I wouldn’t have gotten such a good grade if I had studied at any other school. But P-TECH made it happen. I greatly appreciate being accepted into P-TECH and being given another chance to improve myself. I am sure that with the guidance of P-TECH, I will achieve my life goals and become a better person than what I am today.

I was never really a good student to begin with, and I thought I never would be. I felt that school was hopeless and a waste of time. But when I arrived at P-TECH and found out about the whole early college program, I felt that I could do better that I could actually find a purpose for going to school. I am a much better person and student than I was before I came to school here. P-TECH is an excellent school, and I highly recommend it. If you want get rid of bad habits and develop better habits, then P-TECH is the school for you. Take it from me. I was a horrible student until I came to P-Tech, and I hope it will change everybody else as much as it did me.

Tahmel Anderson is a ninth grader at New York’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH).

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You might have heard about quantum computers.  If not, read this entry in our favorite place, Wikipedia!  Most of known work in the area of quantum computing has been primarily done by academia.

Today, The New York Times published this article that describes IBM’s recent achievements in this important area.  Professor Scott Aaronson of MIT called I.B.M.’s work “a cause for cautious optimism” in the development of quantum computers.  Dr. Ketchen of IBM said, “it’s going take an I.B.M. in the end to put it together.”

Imagine the day that we will have quantum computing in commercial use…Are you looking forward to such a day?



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Some great ebooks are available on different technologies. These ebooks have been designed specially for beginners in Technology and are a must have for students. Some of the available popular titles are: Database Fundamentals, Understanding Big Data, Getting Started with Db2 Express-C, Getting Started with Infosphere Data Architect etc.

See the full list here:

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It was different now. The setting had shifted, and suddenly I’d started to regret my wish to graduate and leave the school that I’d attended for eight years. I remember sitting in my eighth grade classroom a week before graduation. I remember the sinking feeling in my heart when it all hit me. It was one week before graduation. With a total of over 35 students – people I’d grown up with. People that acted like another family. They were the kids I’d gotten into numerous fights with, and created numerous wonderful memories with. It had all changed.

No more Mrs. Maio, Mr. Sickora, Ms. Cruz, or Mr. Hinchen. No more praying The Lord’s Prayer at 9:00 AM. No more of the same, cozy Catholic school building that had welcomed me for the past eight years. No more of that. No more. It hurts to think about the painful experience of leaving the ones you love and spent years with. It hurts to think about leaving the people you’ve built a portion of your life around: your closest friends and your worst enemies.

That was then and this is now. Now, I attend a unique public school: Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH. It’s a unique project that’s supported by several (quite famous) groups like IBM, CUNY, and New York City College of Technology. You may have heard of them…or not. Hopefully you have, though. It’d be okay if you hadn’t, but that’s what we have the Internet for. Regardless, P-TECH is in its first year. We’re taking our baby steps. I guess you can say it’s the “make-it-or-break-it” year because if we screw up our performance, any company as big as IBM wouldn’t like to support us any longer. So the pressure is on teachers and students to do well.

The main goal for everyone here is to earn that Associate’s Degree, and with that, P-TECH comes with two free years of college. Make it or break it. In my eyes, there’s no I’ll try. There’s only do or don’t. I was taught as a child to do my very best. If my very best was an 80, I’d be proud that I reached the highest I could. However, it doesn’t hurt to aim higher, and that’s what I’m going to do in this school. It’s exactly what I’ve been doing all along. Of course, I’ve had more experiences seeing ugly numbers as grades on my paper, but that grade is a number and it could never define me. It could never tell me that I wasn’t smart enough to pass. The only thing it can tell me is that I wasn’t ready to move on from that topic we were tested on and I needed to work on it. I was taught that as a child, and my new teachers are re-teaching me that same attitude towards a grade.

My teachers are my guides. They’ve always been my guides – then and now. They teach me the things I need to know, and they help me shed the academic behaviors I need to let go. The teachers here in P-TECH were “hand-picked,” as I remember our current principal, Mr. Davis, stated during an orientation. Throughout this year, it didn’t take much effort to see why he picked them. They are all fantastic. They are funny. They teach very well, and I think they understand where we’re coming from with our troubles. What I like about them is that they work together quite well so everyone in school is on the same page. I’m happy about that. The teachers are encouraging – they’re not the teachers that give up and say “that student is hopeless.” Not once have I ever heard one of them say that, and not once have they ever portrayed the actions that they would ever think that.

You know, the students aren’t half bad. I’m not going to lie. There are those rambunctious students, but what school doesn’t have those? Even the tip-top universities are sure to have those trouble makers. It’s just natural. The majority of students here are friendly. We have a diverse student body from various cultures. We get into scats, they get settled, and that’s it. So far, everything’s okay. Everyone’s just…okay. And again, I’m happy about that. I’ll take a deep breath and remember every one of their faces. I’ll walk into school every day and smile, because now they’re the new faces that are going to eventually become old, familiar friends (or enemies, you never know – just trying to stay true).

It’s wrong for me to say everything’s alright. I miss my old school, my old teachers, and my old friends. It’s hard to pretend like I don’t miss them. Why would I even try to pretend like that? It’s strange to look up at the clock so see 9:00 AM, and not say a prayer. The feeling wears off after a while, I suppose. It’s just so… strange. I don’t like change, and the only time I do like it is when I see something wrong in a picture. However, that’s something everyone – even I – needs to get used to. With time comes reality, and with reality comes change. Reality holds gifts for everyone – gifts that we don’t even realize we’re opening. Who knew that walking into Pathway in Technology Early College High School’s orientation was the equivalent of opening life’s next present? Nonetheless, the time is now. It’s time to move on with life.

Brigette Luboa is Student Body President at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, New York.

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February 27th, 2012

Most of us use social networking software like Facebook and LinkedIn for a variety reasons.  You might have been wondering if corporations like IBM which operates in almost 170 countries and has more than 400,000 employees across the world uses the social software internally and if does for what reasons.

Once a year, I, as a guest speaker, talk to a class in Information and Decision Sciences of Carlson School at University of Minnesota about how IBM uses social software internally and its benefits for employees, IBM clients, and IBM.  If you are interested on this topic, please read   this article which describes how IBM has been harnessing social networking to foster innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency.  This practice has also been accelerating the formation of a collaborative culture inside IBM.

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