You probably saw the headlines about the devastating tornadoes that swept through the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area a few weeks ago. Our hearts go out to those who suffered damage.
As the Lancaster area of the storm-hit region undergoes its recovery, I recently read that at least its public school students have much to look forward to in the months ahead. Lancaster schools recently announced a plan to create a “STEM District”—a union of schools committed to systematically changing teaching practices to promote state-of-the-art education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. It’s an exciting opportunity for the historically economically disadvantaged district to become a national model for teaching these critical topics.
To make the project possible, the Texas Instruments Foundation pledged up to $4.8 million to the Educate Texas initiative, which will collaborate with the Lancaster Independent School District to implement a sustainable, replicable model for teaching STEM courses and preparing students for college-level studies and careers in these fields. Action items include extensive teacher training; collaboration with the communications, health sciences, information software system design, and engineering industries; designing and implementing new curricula; and establishing a partner system with universities, government, and community to create opportunities for students.
We’re excited to follow the progress of the STEM district as it develops, especially because of the doors it opens to incorporating cutting edge technology like telepresence. Students of all ages will have the chance to work with computers, mobile devices, and gadgets specific to particular fields—the tools professionals in these fields use everyday. Collaboration will undoubtedly prove critically important to spreading the STEM district’s innovations in education to schools across the nation, and it will be exciting to see how technology will play a part.
Stay tuned for updates on Lancaster’s progress and on the technology the schools use to develop this revolutionary teaching and learning model! I’ll definitely be watching.