We need to expose, engage and excite our students to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM. Through WE COLLABORATE, we can "flatten"the world of STEM and connect more students to the many wonders and rewards that STEM careers offer them and eliminate the logistical barriers of time, distance and money that limit the informal science education after school options for our kids. STEM Clubs of America, in collaboration with Science Foundation Arizona and funding from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will be piloting a MS/HS STEM Club model in Arizona this coming school year. The three pilot school districts are located in the Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff regions of the state, geographically separated a great distance from each other. 

 

The WE COLLABORATE resources will allow for web collaboration and elearning that will connect and engage the club members and their advisors to each other and the many STEM resources available in the state, across the nation and internationally. Virtual field trips will be possible connecting the clubs to outstanding STEM practitioners and programs. There is a STEM Club network in the United Kingdom that has been in place for about five years that our clubs can connect with and learn from without the international time complications of our school day. Club advisors and officers will be able to meet virtually and collaborate on club projects, such as FIRST Robotics, Science Olympiad and STEM-Bowl competitions, that time and logistics otherwise complicate. We will be able to elect State STEM Club Officers and hold virtual meetings and mini-conferences for officer training and planning. 

 

Using WE COLLABORATE next year will allow us to experiment and establish a baseline of student and advisor professional development and communication experiences that will be used as we build our model of STEM Clubs throughout the state of Arizona and eventually on a national level. Live and recorded sessions can be used as we orient clubs to new opportunities for STEM competitions and STEM learning and can provide a library of experiences for those who were not able to attend a particular session, this is particularly useful for students who have family obligations or are involved in other activities or sports and have to miss a club meeting or activity; they can sign in later and still feel connected to the STEM Club community. Parents can also be connected to club activities, live and recorded, and be more engaged in their kid's lives.

 

WE COLLABORATE reflects the very nature of STEM learning in the 21st century and will provide our future STEM professionals with the tools, experiences and skills to be competitive internationally.

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