The DeHavilland Blog

Friday, November 11, 2005

A cavalcade of great outreach initiatives

I’ve been catching up on my reading and research and wanted to share some of the intriguing education outreach program models I’ve come across:
  • JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) and NISH (a national nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities) are partnering on the National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC). This contest challenges high school students who are interested in various engineering or related disciplines to design technologies that help people with disabilities enter or advance in the workplace. A fantastic idea: building a program that gives students an opportunity to shine in engineering while at the same time creating some practical social good. More info
here.
  • The Lemelson-MIT program gives student teams a chance to identify problems and propose a STEM-based solution. After reviewing all entries, the program then funds selected teams with $10,000 per team so that they can actually build their proposed invention. “At its core, InvenTeams is about invention, but there is so much more to the experience,” said a program manager. “Not everyone who participates needs to be a science or math whiz. Students also learn leadership, teamwork, project management, communication, budgeting and marketing skills. These are universal and transferable to any type of career.” More info here.
  • Cisco Systems has announced “Connected Learning for Schools,” a four-step blueprint that guides educators in the intelligent and effective use of technology to help transform schools. This type of free support for schools at the administrator level is invaluable and not considered nearly enough in business-education partnerships. More info here.
  • AOL has a grant-based program called AOL Aspires which is remarkable on a number of fronts. First, their giving is targeted in areas (social supports, intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy) that have proven to be correlated positively with high achievement – in other words, they’ve built their program from a solid research base. Next, these are not one-time grants – they can extend funding on a partial basis based on evidence of success. And finally, what’s most remarkable is the level of followup review they’ve instituted: there are regular surveys of participating students which demonstrate impact of the program. More info here.
  • Girls Inc. and SRI International, working with NSF funding, are building a program to capitalize on middle school age girls’ interest in design and communication technologies to motivate them to use technology, build their technology fluency, and foster their interest in pursuing IT careers. The program concentrates on girls from under-served communities. More info here.

  • If you know of any interesting business/education partnership models, send them on for inclusion in the next cavalcade!

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