i.am.STEAM is a 5-year youth engagement initiative that brings STEAM education to life for students in the United States, inspiring and cultivating the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators and leaders. Through a portfolio of immersive learning experiences geo-targeted towards the "missed kids" in elementary and middle school, i.am.STEAM will nurture critical skills to prepare students to be qualified and competitive members of the future workforce.
Launching Fall 2012, i.am.STEAM is comprised of three main components:
The first is an in-school/after-school enrichment program that will engage students in STEAM throughout the year with inspiring multimedia content, hands-on workshops and Virtual Field Trips that transport students to laboratories and science centers across the nation to hear from today's heroes in STEAM. The program will launch with a live Virtual Field Trip featuring NASA astronauts and scientists, providing a first-hand account of the Mars rover Curiosity and encouraging students to embrace STEAM through space exploration.
The second component is an immersive summer camp experience for young people in high-need communities; the camps are designed to extend learning into the out-of-school months. Anchored by accessible, real-world STEAM themes designed to resonate with today's learners; the camps will engage students with hands-on group and individual activities that incorporate digital, interactive content.
The third component will address educator teaching and development resources to support educator's competencies in STEAM subject areas through comprehensive support. The educator support program will be comprised of in-person and virtual professional development educator events, certification and recognition, and virtual communities.
The program implementation will be run by Discovery Education and will include consultation with their team of curriculum experts, administrators, and educators. In addition, Discovery will leverage previously established relationships with school districts and superintendents across the United States to best understand their needs in the area of STEAM. Utilizing those insights as well as input from mentors, science professionals, and students, Discovery Education will develop an overall program brief, timeline, curriculum plan, measurement milestones, and assessment components before each segment of the program launches.
Discovery will also build and run various elements including: interactive services, creative strategies, curriculum development, virtual field trip production, summer camp programming, and marketing/communications.
The program will be managed and implemented by Discovery Education and will include consultation with their curriculum experts, administrators, and educators. In addition, they will tap into their deep relationships with school districts and superintendents across the United States to best understand their needs in the area of STEAM. Utilizing those insights as well as input from mentors, science professionals, and students, Discovery Education will develop an overall program brief, timeline, curriculum plan, measurement milestones, and assessment components before each segment of the program launches. (Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013)
Once agreed to by its partners, the program will move into development phase. Discovery Education will build and run various elements including: interactive services, creative strategies, curriculum development, virtual field trip production, summer camp programming, and marketing/communications specialists to insure timely program roll out. (Fall 2012)
The year-one launch phase will focus on building foundational elements (curriculum, after school/summer enrichment components), program awareness, and ongoing program evaluation. Year two and beyond will focus on efforts to increase awareness and usage, with an emphasis on increased engagement, professional development, and program enhancement.
According to the National Research Council's 2011-2012 report approximately 75 percent of US 8th grade students are not proficient in mathematics and consequently, there are substantial achievement gaps between student population groups (Black/White, Hispanic/White, and high-poverty/low-poverty) that average nearly 1 standard deviation in size. The data show that the average student in underserved populations designated as black, Hispanic, or low-income, perform around the 20th percentile, while their low-poverty white counterparts average around the 50th percentile.
At the same time, economic and employment growth in the United States is increasingly dependent upon a workforce proficient in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Innovation in these areas will be a primary driver of tomorrow's economy and job creation. While 4 percent of the nation's workforce is comprised of scientists and engineers, they disproportionately create jobs for the other 96 percent. However, the majority of these jobs--at every level-- require a baseline and sufficient knowledge of STEM.
Innovation and STEM education are the keys to creating and supporting the industries and jobs of the future. Moreover, it is critical to incorporate Arts education into STEM, as creativity is an essential component of innovation; as a result, the movement towards "STEM" education has wisely evolved into a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM)
Discovery Communications, Inc., in partnership with the i.am.angel Foundation, seeks to comprehensively address these critical needs in STEAM education. By providing meaningful opportunities for high-poverty underserved student populations to become engaged in these subject areas, our mission is to guide students towards the emerging careers of tomorrow and promising futures.