Big business is stepping up to help nonprofit organizations across the country provide schools with after-school programs focus on helping kids pursue their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related fields. In a press release from late 2016, Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing middle school students with enriching education to low-income communities through after-school programs, announced a $100,000 donation from one of the largest tech giants out there, Dell EMC.
Citizen Schools offers after-school programs in six states, which include apprenticeships with local experts in STEM-related subjects such as finance, microbiology, and robotics.
“For many of our students, these are opportunities that they may want to pursue after middle school or even after high school.” Henry McCorkle, who runs a program in Orchard Gardens K – 8 School in Boston, Massachusetts told EdTech Magazine, “We are really providing them with opportunities that they might not get during the school day.” In Massachusetts alone, the program has seven campuses with 1,531 students who are interested in pursuing STEM careers.
While Citizen Schools is stateside, Dell’s Youth Learning program is a worldwide initiative with 17 countries and 71 partners. The company’s website states, “Technology is a powerful tool for breaking down barriers and opening up new possibilities for children around the world. It can give a child living in the streets access to the same information as the most affluent child. It can bring more educational opportunities to remote villages.”
With Dell’s learning labs, converted storage containers that are solar-powered and ventilated, children in communities without reliable electricity gain access to technology and can connect with the rest of the world.
RoboKind is also making a play to help schools fill the need for STEM-related classes with Robots4STEM, their newest education platform designed to teach general education students the basics of computer science. The program offers students a chance to take ownership of their learning by providing easy to understand and interactive pre-made lessons. Using JettLingo, a visual drag-and-drop building block style coding language, students learn the basics of logic, improve problem-solving skills, and increase their creativity.
Robots4STEM is not limited to classroom teaching either. The virtual environment is usable on any device with a WiFi connection. Students can continue their learning at home, at a coffee shop, or at their friend’s home. Jett isn’t just a robot either, he also has a virtual avatar that students can use in the virtual classroom to test their code. Just like Dell’s Youth Learning program and Citizen Schools after-school program, RoboKind looks to help children take an active part in their learning by providing access to affordable and easy to use tools.