Education Today: The Problem
America is slipping further behind its international competitors in science, technology and innovation. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranks 21st out of 23 countries in math and 17th out of 19 countries in problem-solving!
Additionally, the Afterschool Alliance of Washington DC, spotlights the emergence of a “new digital divide” — one that is defined in terms of interaction rather than access. Whereas affluent youth are more likely to behave as “content producers,” disadvantaged youth tend to be “content consumers.”
Although most students now have access to computers and related equipment, many in the lower economic strata lack the skills necessary to become producers. Instead, they simply consume content developed by others, thus limiting their ability to make a significant contribution or understand their own potential to create.
STEAM Space Mission Statement
The goal of STEAM Space is to utilize the rich history and promising future of the American space program as a foundation for STEM/STEAM classes, camps, Makerspaces, and after-school activities targeted to students grades K-12, with an emphasis on under-served and at-risk youth. We will further seekto instill in these youngsters the critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork skills necessary for success in the 21st Century.
The ultimate objective is to create a multidimensional high-tech learning environment that not only builds on the form and function of the American Space Museum but that also engages students in structured and unstructured educational activities that will support the needs of today’s technically focused work environment. Additionally, we will challenge the creativity and innovation of our young STEAMers with a less structured, more inspiration-fueled Makerspace, wherein they will have the opportunity to problem solve as individuals and as teams.
Helping every student to reach for the stars and find his or her purpose.
Inspired by the success and history of America’s space program, the primary goal of this initiative is to motivate students toward personal achievement and a purpose-driven life via a high-tech learning environment that offers classes, camps, competitions, one-on-one mentoring, individual innovation in a Makerspace atmosphere, entrepreneurial exposure and after-school activities encouraging students to recognize their own potential and to nurture the potential in their peers.
While the umbrella organization for this initiative is American Space Museum in Titusville we also endeavor to create a cooperative effort between a variety of Brevard County entities, including, but not limited to: Brevard Public Schools (BPS), Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Greater Titusville Renaissance (GTR), Computers Advancing Education (CAEI) and other local science and technology museums and centers, with initial start-up funding provided by Parrish Medical Center (PMC) and others. Additionally, we seek opportunities for our older students to connect with entrepreneurs and visionaries from the region in order to better understand the demands of a competitive work environment and the opportunities available in today’s technologically driven world.
We expect to accomplish this by expanding on a successful model employed by Mr. Bill Strickland of Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA, as described in his book, Make the Impossible Possible. His basic premise was to expose youth to numerous possible successful futures, by bringing those futures to his facility in the form of high-tech projects and challenges. As we employ techniques used in Mr. Strickland’s successful model, we will also expose our STEAM Space students to the process of starting new tech-based businesses, and to the entrepreneurs who are building them.
The objective is to challenge young people to see beyond the limits of their economic or social situation and to approach their lives with the same conviction, audacity and cooperative spirit that put a man on the moon.
While the initial focus of this project will be on Brevard County and the state of Florida, we will be carefully tracking our processes and practices in order to provide a templated approach that can be replicated in cities and regions throughout the country.
S – Science
T – Technology
E – Engineering
A – Arts
M – Mathematics
S – Strategic Thinking
A – Administration
L – Leadership
T – Teamwork
Please contact us if you would like to volunteer or donate to this important project!