“STEMpowering Youth”: An innovative program that puts the use of technology in the center of education and supports creativity and experiential learning.
The non-profit educational organization Science-Communication “SciCo” implements the “STEMpowering Youth” program, with the academic contribution of Ellinogermaniki Agogi and the support of Vodafone Foundation, since the beginning of 2017.
“STEMpowering Youth” is an extracurricular STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program for 13-16 years-old students, that brings innovation in classes of remote areas in Greece. Οn the first and second cycle of the program, 380 students participated from 14 rural areas at Thrace Region (Xanthi, Komotini, Orestiada, Alexandroupolis, Didimoteixo, Pomakoxoria, Glafki ,Echinos Xanthi ) and Dodecanese Islands (Rhodes, Patmos, Kos, Kalymnos).
The third circle of the “STEMpowering Youth” program started this February by training the teachers in Athens, the capital of Greece, and expanded in 10 new rural areas. In the next 2 months, 300 students from the following 15 rural areas, will participate in the program:
- Crete (Sitia-Lasithi,Vamos-Chania, Spili-Rethymno, Moires-Heraklion)
- NW Aegean Islands (Mytilini, Samos)
- Dodecanese Islands (Rhodes, Kos, Lipsi, Leros)
- Thrace (Xanthi, Orestiada, Didimoteixo, Komotini, Iasmos Rodopi, Tyxero Evros)
The program enables educators from the region to learn about new technologies, make use of digital and experiential teaching, and participate in a learning community to exchange information and ideas. At the same time, local schools are strengthened and open up opportunities for engagement with the local community and educational or research institutions.
"STEMpowering Youth" gives students the opportunity to collaborate in groups and to learn through interactive, digital and experiential methods. Students take the role of a scientist, a researcher or inventor and practice the inquiry method in a variety of topics, using digital tools. Thus students develop their critique and creative thinking, communication, research and problem-solving, skills that characterize modern reality.
The duration of the program is 9 weeks and every week the students learn a central topic with digital teaching scenarios, accompanying with relative experiential activities. Each cycle begins with Earth Science topics, continues with Astronomy lessons and end up with learning Arduino basic programming skills. The cycle completes with projects and constructions developed by students’ teams during the courses, highlighting the most innovative ones to solve a local problem, confirming that "innovation starts from a young age".
If you want to know more about the student projects from the first cycle, you can see this video
See also the facilitators, students and teachers involved to talk about the experiences they have gained during the program, to this playlist