As we wrap up the year and look ahead to 2015, we have another amazing year planned for our community. Our team has been hard at work collaborating and getting creative to broaden our reach and introduce new experiential learning programs. This past year WCTD delivered over ten programs both online and in person, impacting over five hundred students across the nation.
Our online community continues to grow and offer students an opportunity to engage with industry experts, collaborate with students, participate in online programs, and build networks to help empower their future careers. We will expand that reach this coming year with a research project to assess the value of leveraging our online collaboration network across classrooms. Partnering with Jr and Sr High schools in this research project, our program will engage students in solving problems collaboratively, extending the learning experience beyond the traditional classroom. The ultimate goal will be teaching students problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and offering teachers an opportunity to expand their knowledge and collaborate with teachers outside their schools.
We have begun to execute on our annual grant strategy to help fund our programs and allow our organization to build the capacity to broaden our reach across the nation. Additionally we have established a number of new strategic partnerships to enable our organization to introduce new innovative learning programs. One of the partnerships we developed this year was with Teq, a technology education organization in Huntington New York. The relationship began when Teq participated in our CreatingSTEAM conference this summer at the Microsoft New York Office in Times Square. Teq introduced our students to the Nao robots, the robots were an overwhelming success. The students were engaged in programming the bots to dance and when the session time was up they did not want to stop. The session demonstrated the value of introducing coding with robotics. Based on the feedback from the students we plan to extend the time allocated to the Nao bots in our 2015 program agenda.
As a part of Computer Science week our students delivered two online sessions inside the HighTech Teq studio. This was an amazing opportunity for our students to get uncomfortable to get comfortable. Teaching communication skills and building confidence through recording their presentations. Watching yourself perform is one of the most powerful tools to build self-awareness and strong presentation skills. Check out the photos of our students working in the studio and the links to their live broadcast programs.
"Hello, World!" Discovering the spark to develop.
We often hear from students and teachers regarding questions on where to begin learning to code. Join us for an opportunity to ask our students how they got started with coding, and what are the best resources to begin.
Recorded Session: http://www.teq.com/video/hour-of-code-part-1
“RobotC, Robot Do” Learn about coding with RobotC
Learning to code is a fun and challenging way to express yourself in an amazing way. Join us as a group of High School Students introduce you to RobotC . ROBOTC is a C-Based Programming Language with an Easy-to-Use Development Environment.
Recorded Session: http://www.teq.com/video/hour-of-code-part-2
On December 15th, 2014 we launched our registration for our first annual Mobile Application Development Program. This program is designed to take students through an innovation experience that is simulated to what goes on in a real business environment. The closer we can take students to the real world and with the real world tools and processes the better students can begin to think differently about their career options. This program gives students an opportunity to engage with Not For Profit organizations building mobile apps. Students will work in teams of 3-8 and experience the application development lifecycle. They will engage in business conversations with Not For Profit organizations to build a scope of work and then produce a prototype Windows Mobile Application. Each Tuesday night starting on January 6th our student leadership team will deliver live workshops in the Teq studio. In total 12 workshops will be conducted to help students learn and solve problems together. The program will wrap up in May with an opportunity for students to win amazing prizes while learning 21st century workforce skills. There will also be an opportunity for students to engage in a fun competition with their prototype apps. In order to participate in the competition students will learn a bit about philanthropy by raising funds and learning how to utilize peer to peer donation tools. Our goal is to bring awareness to how important it is to create innovate solutions that give back to society. The Mobile Application Development Program is in partnership with Microsoft, Teq, Thinkproductivity, and ThinkBuzan.
We look forward to expanding our partnership with Teq to host our workshops, and introduce students to innovative experiential learning products. We are also working on a new online show that will involve our students teaching younger students about coding and other STEAM related topics, so watch for updates as that program evolves.
In our search for a location to host our programs we wanted to ensure a partnership with an organization that aligned with our mission. New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) is a natural fit for our organization, and we are excited to bring our programs to their campus. We are partnering with NYIT to deliver our CreatingSTEAM and CreatingIDEAS programs at their Old Westbury Campus on Long Island this July.
Our CreatingSTEAM program registration will open January 15th. This program is expanding from last year's 5 day pilot program to 10 days of experiential learning. Students will work in teams to complete a project during the 10 day experience, as well as meet many industry experts across STEAM careers. This is a great program to introduce students to new technologies, career opportunities, and excite them about the possibilities full STEAM ahead in their future.
The CreatingSTEAM program provides students a look at how the real world careers come together to solve problems. If you are a teacher this is also a great volunteer opportunity for those who wish to learn how technology is weaved into a fun learning experience. Check out details from last year's program and quotes from students and teachers who participated, 2014 CreatingSTEAM Program.
Each year when we deliver our CreatingSTEAM program it provides our team an opportunity to pilot new technology introductions to students and to see what students want to learn more about. During our 2014 CreatingSTEAM program we introduced students to the gaming industry and the tools that are leveraged by industry experts in the world of digital animation. It was unanimously decided by our team that we needed to expand on what was presented and provide students with a program that opened their minds to the many career possibilities in the industries that leverage digital animation. Digital animation and 3D development is a growing field across many industries, including health science and engineering manufacturing. This year we will take students through a 5 day journey into the world of the gaming industry. Students will learn what it takes to imagine and build a plan to take that imagination to reality.
2014 was a year of building and provided our team an opportunity to develop a strong foundation of programs and partnerships. 2015 will be the year of expanding our reach and increasing impact to students across the nation. As our organization expands we are building the team that will ensure our success and long term sustainability. We welcomed a new board member Felicia Guity to our team this year, Felicia brings many years of experience and passion around our mission to educate students. We will continue to expand our team this coming year as we look for the right talent and passion to drive us forward.
Our student leadership development team continues to evolve and we look to expand the program this year. This team of students from high schools and colleges are dedicated to our mission and inspire me each time I meet with them. They are students that want more than the traditional education model of today offers them, and they are willing to get uncomfortable to get comfortable in learning. They have the passion, creativity, and drive to want to give back to communities, and to share their experiences with students across the nation. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to lead them and to learn from them while bringing amazing programs to life. We are only limited by our collective imagination and the support from our communities; the possibilities are endless.
About We Connect The Dots
We Connect The Dots (WCTD) is a non-profit organization focused on inspiring and educating students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) careers. Through collaboration with the community, education professionals, the government and the technology industry, WCTD provides awareness and education of 21st Century workforce skills through experiential learning programs. For more information, please visit http://www.we-connect-the-dots.org.