Some 28 students from the Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy will be the first to benefit from a new Applied Technology Programme due to start in the upcoming new school year.
Education Minister Wayne Scott, while updating MPs on the Career Pathways and Career Technical STEM programmes being implemented, said the new programme extends from the summer Career Technical programme that was first held last year in 2015.
Another new initiative will see local students compete for $10,000 in prizes “to create portable, low-cost solar energy solutions”.
In a Ministerial Statement on Friday, he said: “The Department of Education in collaboration with the Bermuda College has established an Applied Technology Programme.
The dual enrolment technology programme merges five areas of exploration, including: Construction Technology and Trades; Computer Aided Technical Drawing; Programming for Technicians; Electricity and Electronics; and, Engineering and Design.
Mr Scott noted that the programme is designed to expose and challenge students “to explore and complete the core technical disciplines while enhancing their math, science, communication and computer skills”.
“The learning experience for students will be the foundation that supports the completion of a STEM project associated with their field of interest,” he said.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education, which focuses on these areas together, “not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success in the 21st century, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the ‘real world’ and in how some students learn most effectively”.
The Minister also pointed up two new initiatives being viewed as very “encouraging”.
“The first initiative acknowledges a team of students from the CedarBridge Academy who was successful in reaching the championship level in the STEMBOARD Solar Grand Challenge competition.
“This competition is being hosted by DHL Worldwide Express and STEMBoard Partners in the Bahamas from July 17th to 22nd, 2016,” said Mr Scott.
Student teams from the Bahamas, Bermuda and Cayman Islands will be challenged “to create portable, low-cost solar energy solutions”.
“Students from the winning team will earn up to $10,000 in prizes. Additionally, these students may see their ideas come to fruition and assist DHL Express reduce utility costs at its office facilities.
“The success of our students building this mobile solar STEM unit is a direct outflow of a partnership with Bermuda College and industry partner Mr Joseph Weeks, Owner of Combined Engineering Technologies.”
Participants will be guided “through a prototype Solar building project at the Bermuda, leading up to their departure to attend the Solar Grand Challenge in the Bahamas”.
“The Bermuda team comprises CedarBridge Academy students Eric Wallace and Malachi Butterfield. We certainly wish them good success as they compete in the Bahamas; and, eagerly wait to hear of their exploits as we are confident that they will represent Bermuda well.
“The second STEM initiative involves a partnership between the US Consulate National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Education,” Mr Scott said.
“The programme entitled GLOBE or Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment is currently associated with the Primary 5 level, at Paget Primary School.”
“The teachers will showcase our Primary school GLOBE Atmospheric experiment at the GLOBE Annual Review taking place this summer in Denver, Colorado,” he added.
“Middle and senior school teachers also participated recently in a STEM pedagogy active learning experience, facilitated by the Department of Education and the Bermuda College Tech Hall Department, with assistance from overseas partners STEM Academy, Inc. or STEM 101”.
“This is a first-time collaborative STEM active learning programme that will be continued as we expand our efforts in implementing STEM Education,” said the Minister.
“STEM 101 will be supporting STEM teacher training development in Bermuda in those middle school teachers who participate in the programme, using the STEM curriculum in design & tech, math, and science will be expected to implement their acquired learning and apply the skills during the next school academic year and beyond. ”
He also announced another new initiative following the previous launch of the Bermuda Insurance Institute’s General Insurance Certification programme. This after recent meetings with Ray Brooks of Grey Castle Group, the Premier, and Education Officer, Dr Rydell Tankard, who leads the Department’s Career Pathway & Certification initiative.
“From this meeting, we are pleased that a six week summer Internship Programme for high school students will be held from July 11th to August 19th 2016,” said Mr Scott.
“The Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers in affiliation with the Government will be encouraging high school students from the public school system to take advantage of this worthwhile opportunity.”
Several STEM summer camps will be held from July 4th and July 26th. And Mr Scott urged residents to “invest the time to visit the CedarBridge Academy and observe the showcase of knowledge, skills, technical giftedness, and artistic expressions of our public school students” on July 26th.
Based on “this continued success” he concluded: “We need to expand upon this interest and demand that is stimulating student inquiry and curiosity.
“As we have raised the interest of middle and senior school students with Career Technical STEM education, it is apparent that we need to increase this approach for all schooling and education. As such, we will diligently work towards this end.”
By Ceola Wilson