Penn Manor students are some of the first in the country to create a virtual reality tour using technology that is growing in popularity. Agriculture, English and technology students created the experience of visiting a Lancaster County farm, using “Tour Creator”, a tool from Google. “It’s crazy to me to think that all the way over in Bali someone might be looking at our video and seeing something we put together,” senior Emily Aukamp said. The farm tour can be seen by anyone who has access to the internet.
Tim Cook has been vocal about wanting students to learn to code. On Thursday, Apple’s CEO announced that the company is bringing its “Everyone Can Code” curricula for the Swift programming language to schools across the country that serve students who are deaf and blind.
Students from 86 countries participated in this year’s competition. “Our vision is to make our programs accessible to every kid everywhere, not only in the U.S., but all over the world,” Bossi says. “And the more we can get kids involved at an early age, the better our impact.” FIRST offers STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants to support diversity and inclusion, focusing on communities with underserved and underrepresented students. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000, with an average amount of $35,000.
Students at Boiling Springs High School’s Ninth Grade Campus earned a sneak peak at the future as part of a new virtual job shadowing initiative launched by Upstate leaders. Using Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and hand controls, the event brought together industry and technology leaders from across the state to introduce the Spartanburg School District 2 students to the ins-and-outs of the virtual environment. It was also a chance to dive into a manufacturing experience, courtesy of Cooper Standard Automotive, that most students would never have a chance to check out otherwise.
Students at Tahoma High, Washington, learn math and science concepts through instructor-led demonstrations and hands-on automotive experiments. “We teach students about chemical reactions by showing them what happens when brake fluid spills on car paint or what happens to fuel trim when an ignition coil is unplugged,” says Thompson, automotive technology instructor and ASE master certified technician. Student demand supports the program, while an advisory committee of local industry professionals and parents defines goals and helps with decision-making.
The STEM Education Coalition has voiced support for H.R. 5509, the Innovations in Mentoring, Training and Apprenticeships Act. James Brown, executive director of the Coalition, released the following statement: “We commend the House Science, Space and Technology Committee for advancing bipartisan legislation that would enable the National Science Foundation to better align its educational investments with today’s American workforce needs, which are overwhelmingly concentrated in the STEM fields. This bill takes a very bold approach to authorize grants that would support expanding and improving two-year STEM degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships and other pathways into rapidly evolving STEM fields. Our economy is demanding more technical skills at every level and federal agencies need to respond more aggressively to emerging workforce needs. This bill moves us forward in that direction.”
At a panel about filling future STEM job needs during the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow conference, Vince Bertram, president and CEO of nonprofit Project Lead the Way, said as more and more companies become tech-enabled, businesses need to support measures that will encourage students early on to pursue STEM-related studies – and later STEM careers – so that they will have a supply of workers to fill ever-growing job demands.