The Delaware Department of Education has partnered with educational software company Discovery Education and chemical company DuPont to provide K-12 teachers with a range of digital learning resources designed for classroom settings. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). According to a recent press release, the initiative aims to use Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform to fuel student interest in STEM-related careers.
Luke Rhine, director of the department of vocational and technical education and STEM initiatives, said the educational content on the Discovery Education platform will help teachers complement vocational and technical education programs across the state. He said the partnership builds on the Delaware Pathways initiative to give high school students skills and connections relevant to jobs in fields such as information technology, computing, chemistry and the ‘engineering.
“It is essential to link what is taught in the classroom to employers in Delaware,” he said. “The resources provided through this partnership will support middle and high school teachers as they build bridges between classrooms and careers for all students. “
Rhine said the Pathways initiative serves about 55% of the state’s students in Grades 9 to 12 through skills-building courses and lessons that focus on “identity development.” to help them see themselves as future STEM professionals. The initiative also encourages teachers to incorporate other types of teaching resources and practices into their classrooms.
“We are helping college youth see themselves as part of their community, their school, and a future profession – especially a STEM profession,” Rhine said, noting that the content on the Discovery Education platform is aligns with program standards.
According to Karen Beerer, senior vice president of teaching and learning at Discovery Education, DuPont has provided $ 1.5 million in funding to help the state expand the use of the platform. digital learning from Discovery Education and to advance the development of new career-related content at companies like DuPont.
In addition, she said, the partnership will support professional development training for teachers to learn how to integrate content into lessons.
“There are up-to-date, relevant and engaging resources that teachers can use in their classes with their students to help them learn these skills,” she said. “We will begin to provide on-demand professional learning for teachers – how to use the resources, where the resources live and how to integrate it into Pathways programs. “
DuPont is a member of Discovery Education’s STEM Careers Coalition, a group of science-driven companies advocating for better STEM K-12 education accessible to all. According to Discovery Education, the coalition focuses on under-represented student and non-white populations in science and technology.
“As a company like DuPont and many companies like ours, STEM education is so essential to the development of the next generation of our workforce, and not just from a STEM pipeline perspective but from a STEM pipeline perspective. ‘A diverse perspective on the STEM pipeline,’ DuPont’s global community impact leader Pat McCrummen said Government technology.
“Ultimately, we want to make sure kids are exposed to STEM and are excited about STEM,” he added.
Rhine said Delaware officials hope the platform will add to the state’s ongoing efforts to integrate students into the STEM talent pipeline, which will help produce qualified candidates for jobs at companies like DuPont.
“If we look at the labor market, it is expected that more than 30 percent of [Delaware’s] the existing workforce will disappear over the next eight years. This includes people who retire, as well as the growth of new jobs, ”he said. “Most of the jobs that we’re going to see require some type of education beyond high school… It starts with focusing on the skills and expectations of this industry. “
Rhine is optimistic the partnership will help reverse troubling work trends, based on findings from a handful of schools already familiar with the platform.
“In the last month or so, we’ve seen an increase of around 20% in student participation rates,” he said. “We are at the start of the deployment of this work, so seeing these increases initially will only create a dynamic snowball. “
The Delaware partnership is one of several others between state departments of education and private industry that emerged during the pandemic, as schools continue to adopt new digital learning tools.
Earlier this year, Discovery Education launched a similar three-year partnership with Mississippi’s Vicksburg Warren School District to build on schools’ STEM courses with its digital learning platform. The company also granted K-12 educators free web access to its STEM Careers Coalition and Ignite My Future in School content, which features hundreds of interactive multimedia activities designed to sharpen the problem-solving skills of students. Kindergarten to Grade 12 students and keep them interested in STEM. the subjects.