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Denver, CO, Oct. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit dedicated to empowering educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, partnered with Samsung to provide STEM and problem-based learning (PBL) models to educators that attended Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Teacher Academy, a weeklong professional development practicum held in San Jose, CA in July.
The inaugural event marks another avenue in which Samsung Electronics America is supporting STEM education and the future workforce. This year’s Teacher Academy was composed of 38 educators from 35 states who led their students to become state finalists, national finalists or national winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, a contest that challenges 6th through 12th graders at public schools to solve a problem in their community using STEM skills.
mindSpark Learning supported the Teacher Academy by facilitating an educator training that introduced the cohort to STEM and PBL practices. Educators immersed themselves in three PBL field experiences to determine ways in which technology can help alleviate teen homelessness in San Jose. Participants collaborated in teams and worked with the Downtown Streets Team, Stand up for Kids and City Team to determine the issues homeless teens face and what services are already available to them.
Each team developed prototypes for their solutions and presented them to six industry partners to gather feedback. Through this process, the educators learned how to develop strategic partnerships in order to make learning more authentic for their students. The STEM and PBL practices also gave the participants the tools to teach using a transdisciplinary approach.
“These teachers were already doing amazing things, but they typically don’t get the recognition or a high level of support they deserve,” said Michele Mosa, Senior Manager of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “We provided them with a professional development roadmap and a critical problem that needed solving, and they wowed us by devising STEM-based solutions overnight. They inspired each other and they inspired us.”
“We’re so proud to partner with Samsung Electronics America and pave the way to upskill educators by providing hands-on learning opportunities that will better prepare them for bringing relevant and authentic learning models, like PBL, into the classroom” said mindSpark CEO Kellie Lauth. “Samsung Electronics America models the way, investing in STEM educators. This is an exemplary example of the power of intentional collaboration between education and industry.”
“I’m forever grateful for the Solve for Tomorrow Teacher Academy. It’s a life-changing professional development experience,” said Randa Flinn, Florida, National Finalist ’15-16. “I cannot thank Samsung for all the effort and planning of this life-changing week! mindSpark Learning is a gem of an organization. I truly appreciate their learning and structure methods, as well as their trainers!”
To foster easier long-term communication among the cohort, educators will continue to collaborate through mindSpark Learning’s ignite platform and at annual Teacher Academy events over the next three years.
Solve for Tomorrow, now in its 10th year, is accepting applications from public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how STEM can be applied to help improve their local community. The deadline to apply is October 23.
About mindSpark Learning
mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit founded as Share Fair Nation in 2007 and rebranded in 2017, is the catalyst and intermediary between education and industry. It empowers educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, resulting in more students prepared for the modern workforce. It does so by leading programs and services designed to help schools understand workforce development, participate in work-based learning experiences, foster career literacy and directly connect students to mentors and authentic opportunities at a young age. Its core areas of focus are critical to today’s education landscape and include problem-based learning (PBL) STEM, EdTech, Social-emotional learning (SEL) and Equity-centered Design Thinking. These lay the foundation for skills that are inherently necessary for career success.
mindSpark Learning is re-engineering education by incorporating the voice of community leaders in a variety of fields - from education, to industry, to government. To date, mindSpark Learning has impacted more than 14,586 educators in 909 schools across 41 states. For more information, please visit www.mymindsparklearning.org.
Kim Peterson mindSpark Learning (720) 316-4517 Kim@mymindsparklearning.org