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Intersection: STEMConnect

One of the programs in STEMConnect is linking classrooms with real-life labs. Photo: STEMConnect
One of the programs in STEMConnect is linking classrooms with real-life labs. Photo: STEMConnect

stemCONNECT is a program that brings high-tech resources into middle and high school classrooms. The program, started by Florida’s High Tech Corridor hopes to get students interested in STEM at a young age.

The program uses video conferencing tools to provide middle and high school students with a look into high tech careers. Subject-matter experts volunteer to host these video conferences and showcase the real-world applications of concepts students learn in the classroom. This is a free tool that complements teacher lesson plans.

Tom Baptiste, president and CEO National Center for Simulation, Ed Schons, President Florida’s High Tech Corridor Council, and Lindsay Spalding, a teacher at Hagerty High School in Seminole County, joined Intersection to talk more about the program.

Spalding said the program at her school which utilizes the stemCONNECT tool is four years and helps students learn about modelling and simulation. The program covers 3D modelling, animation, programming, and engineering of all sorts.

Schoons said he thinks the the future is going to be based a great deal on math and science, and teachers will need to help guide students into that path.

"But how do you stimulate students to select math and science? Perhaps not the easiest thing in the world, until they're able to see what it might be. The person on the front line are our teachers," he said.

Baptiste said programs like stemCONNECT are important to society because they help build workforce of the future today.

"We need fourth graders excited about math, because if they don't like math in the fourth grade they probably wont like it in college or wherever they're going," he said.

"If you learn math and science and learn the coding and you get really really good at this sort of thing you have a future out there."

If you would like to learn more about STEM connect you can visit their website at www.flstemconnect.com.