WPI Global STEM Education Initiative delivers what the world needs now | New

With a growing need to empower and encourage more students around the world in STEM disciplines, WPI’s global STEM education initiative is leveraging the university’s expertise and resources to help other countries and underserved schools in the United States to provide high-quality and accessible STEM K-12 education. the world needs now.

For more than 50 years, WPI has shared its expertise and resources to develop the STEM pipeline, inspire and equip the next generation of STEM leaders, support educators who introduce students to STEM, and collaborate with global partners in their own communities. With the programming, resources, activities, and support provided by this initiative, WPI is intensifying its work with educators around the world to personalize and improve their STEM education systems.

“WPI has long recognized the importance of global demand for STEM education,” says Joseph Doiron, initiative director, assistant professor at the Global School and co-director of the Global Lab. “At the heart of WPI’s value proposition is hands-on STEM teaching and learning. This is always the starting point. When you combine this with our global presence in over 50 project centers in all regions of the world, we are equipped with a global network of relationships that is unlike any other location. We work in partnership with people who share our commitment to making the most of the multidisciplinary knowledge and lived experience of the teams. We are already doing this with local communities and around the world.

Whether engaging students in STEM at the working farm and nature education center at the Farm Stay Project Center in Paxton, Mass., or using project-based learning modules To establish a coherent method of teacher training in Africa with the Mathematics and Science for Saharan Africa (MS4SSA) sub-initiative, WPI’s approach is holistic and focused. As the world continues to face increasingly complex challenges, a more diverse population of professionals who can bring different perspectives, experiences, issues, and passions to labs and boardroom tables is essential. Creating, translating, and deploying new scientific knowledge and technologies to benefit everyone’s health and well-being will depend on including many perspectives.

“Where there is a world that really needs STEM to thrive, there is a new generation of young people at many levels who really need STEM to reach their full potential.” -Wole Soboyejo

While STEM concepts are rooted in concrete principles, WPI Acting President Wole Soboyejo emphasizes that dreams, imagination and curiosity are key to truly understanding these principles and to fueling the work needed to bring them to fruition. new and innovative way, all for the benefit of mankind. The practical principles of science and the creative imagination are essential to prepare and inspire the STEM leaders of tomorrow.

“If you dream big, even when your resources are very limited, the size of your dreams determines the scope of your impact,” says Soboyejo. “For me, just as important as getting kids excited about STEM, we need to encourage them to dream big and surround themselves with people who encourage and nurture that dream.”

This philosophy took center stage this month at FIRST Global Challenge, an annual Olympic-style international robotics competition that has brought high school teams from over 180 countries to Geneva, Switzerland, in the spirit of solving global challenges together.

WPI XRp logo

For the competition, WPI and DEKA Research and Development Corp. have teamed up to create the Experiential Robotics Platform (XRP), a simple and easy-to-build experiential robotics kit. The project was partially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation through the organization Engineering For Us All (E4USA) and allows each team to take home a first version kit, nearly 200 at total. As part of the robotics kit, teams have access to a program developed by WPI that helps educators build lesson plans around it.

Robotics has proven to be an excellent and adaptable tool for capturing students’ curiosity and stimulating wider interest in STEM. No matter the age of the user, once the concepts of robotics – from math and computer science to engineering and physics – are applied when building or programming a robot, ideas become concrete and useful.

“A tangible and fun tool like a robot is a great STEM entry point for students to see the potential in their own thinking,” says Soboyejo. “The great thing about the dream is that it triggers your efforts to then translate the dream into reality.”

Sam D. Gomez