(PRWEB) February 21, 2014
Understanding how classroom curriculum translates into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers can be a critical component for engaging today’s students and teachers in creating tomorrow’s workforce. Hands-on learning opportunities can provide the critical link of relevance for students and answer the age-old student question of “When am I ever going to use this?” while increasing their awareness and interest in STEM careers.
Students from 28 school districts will directly benefit from AT&T's support through 42 separate projects involving 52 local workplace partners. Experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom that are directly linked to student coursework and involve problem-solving, real-world application of STEM education concepts and critical thinking skills are all key elements of each project.
An array of subject matter and related careers are involved, depending on the workplace partners involved in each project. The fields of agriculture, robotics, computer programming, medical manufacturing, city planning, aviation, aeronautics, hydroponics, mobile application development, environmental science, entomology, chemistry, and more have all been explored by students through this opportunity.
Each qualifying project received $2,000 to cover costs beyond what limited school budgets provide including transportation, materials and equipment. With this fourth year of funding, AT&T Florida has contributed $410,000 to the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) to make the experiential learning opportunities possible.
“We are pleased to make this contribution because Florida’s K-12 education foundations are well positioned to be the link between schools and local businesses for students, which enables students to build connections with local businesses,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President. “By concentrating on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum, this program provides real life experiences that can help increase the number of Florida’s students graduating high school college- and career-ready.”
Two additional CFEF partners have followed AT&T’s lead to provide similar programs with local impact throughout Florida. The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding nine larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process. CenturyLink is currently rolling out a “Teachers & Technology” initiative that will provide training and needed equipment to enhance digital learning in the classroom.