CreatingSTEAM 2016: Experiential Learning Program

by We Connect The Dots,Inc.
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CreatingSTEAM 2016: Experiential Learning Program
CreatingSTEAM 2016: Experiential Learning Program
CreatingSTEAM 2016: Experiential Learning Program

2017 Summer ProgramsCreatingSTEAM Program - 10 Day Program July 17- 21 and July 24-28, 2017

Location - Microsoft New York City - 11 Time Square

Students participate in a two week program Monday-Friday. Throughout the 10 day experiential learning program students gain competencies in 21st century workforce skills and awareness of STEAM career opportunities for today and in the future. Competencies that are integrated into the 10 day experience are, the Value of Lifelong Learning, Problem Solving, Self-Management, Teamwork, Collaboration On- and Offline, Information Media and Technology Skills, ICT Learning, Knowledge construction, Leaderships, Life and Career Skills.

The age requirements are 13-18 years old.  Teachers and students are involved in designing and teaching the sessions or co-teaching with STEAM industry experts. The intention is to help bring new and exciting teaching experiences to our schools each year by helping teachers integrate technology into the classroom.

Our goal is always a balanced ratio of diverse students attending the conference. We create an environment that teaches students the value and importance of diversity in working in teams to innovate for our future. Students have the opportunity to learn about the latest technology initiatives in the industry and how those initiatives will create innovation and new career opportunities. Our parents are involved in the conference on the last day so that we ensure the support and understanding of the opportunities for our students as they engage with their parents around career ideas.

To learn more about the program check out our blog page from last year's program.

Registration is now open.

Join the fun! Volunteer to be a mentor, donate to support students to attend, share the information with others who might want to be a part of helping socialize our mission.

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Young women collaborating to solve global problems
Young women collaborating to solve global problems

The Back-To-School Code-a-thon is a consecutive 48 hour event during which students will learn how to build a website using HTML5, CSS, JAVA. Learning to solve global problems working in teams collaboratively is important for students to learn, and this program provides the opportunity to learn with their peers, meet new friends with common interests, and build the skills needed for their future.

During the weekend-long code-a-thon, students will learn valuable 21st century workforce and problem solving skills. Students are given and taught to use the tools to create a website that offers a solution to a global issue facing the human race. We hope this experience inspires students and allows them to have fun while learning.

We welcome sponsors to be a part of creating postivie outcomes for students. Your support helps empower students to learn to code, for many students in underserved communities learning to code is life changing.  Through learning to code they can build skills that help sustain them and their families in their future.

Visit our website to learn more about the program.

Collaboration skills are necessary for success
Collaboration skills are necessary for success


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Another year of CreatingSTEAM has passed.  Students enter the first day confused, nervous, and unsure of what to expect.  They exit energized, more mature, with new friendships, mentors, and empowered to continue learning. How can all this be possible in just 10 days, you might ask? In its third year of development and continuing to be shaped each year this immersive program challenges students to find their strengths and stretch outside their comfort zones.  WCTD provides the optimal learning environment by giving students a space in which to learn and to experience what the real world of entrepreneurship feels like.  Whether they will someday start their own business, or be a part of a team that does, this program takes them on a journey to see and feel what might be possible.

Many programs create separations in gender and in cultural backgrounds however, in the real world students will enter a workforce filled with diversity. WCTD believes that in order to change the gender and racial biases that exists we need to stop placing students in buckets of separation and teach them the value of diversity at any early age. Not only diversity in gender, culture, socioeconomic background, but diversity in thinking and learning styles as well. It is not an easy task, but unless we bring about change many students who can bring enormous value to the workforce will be left behind. The loss of intellectual potential is beyond our understanding today but will become apparent when these students enter the workforce and businesses pay the price in training their staff members to value the diversity they bring. We believe that investment needs to take place now, before the bias becomes so difficult it costs businesses 1000x the cost it would to invest while students are in middle school and high school.

Starting the first day with activities that engage the students to value each other's diversity is critical so we begin with teaching Mind Mapping. Mind mapping helps students demonstrate their creativity and get to know each other.  They share their values, their goals for the program, and a bit about who they are and what they enjoy. Call it an icebreaker, maybe. We call it the key that starts the engine, moving students to work together.

We developed an algorithm to meld the students into diverse teams to ensure that we have a blend across age groups, gender, coding skill levels, school attended, and creative skills. Each team is tasked with developing a business that solves a social issue with global impact. They then must create a website, mobile app, develop a branding book, integrate a humanoid robot, and prepare a 15 minute presentation that includes a 1-2 minute marketing video that demonstrates their product or organization with a call to action. It is immersive and real world. Of course we teach them the skills necessary to accomplish the project requirements. They are mixed with students they have never met and must learn to understand the value that each member brings to the team and execute under time constraints.

Each day brings more team building to help create the bond they will need to execute a successful project. Students are introduced to Stanford Universities' Design Thinking model. They will leverage the model to brainstorm ideas and utilize mind mapping to expand on those ideas. They make connections to how their idea maps to the team's values. Supporting students in understanding the importance of values and how those values contribute to successful businesses, helping to shape the mission statement for their conceptual business idea.

For many students coding can be a scary thought and drive them away from ever discovering their potential. Creating an environment that allows for exploration and autonomy helps to shift their thinking and stretch beyond their experience to reach new goals.  In this way students learn how to empower their own learning and what it means to be a lifelong learner.  Our online student community provides a mechanism for students to not only stay engaged with the students they meet, but the speakers, mentors and to engage in future programs.  Taking students from middle school to high school, to college and to career ensures they have the resources to support their learning and the community to develop a network for their future.

As students learn about design thinking they are introduced to the concept of ideation and how that plays into engineering of both software and hardware.  Introducing students to robotics with our Trossen humanoid robots is always a big hit and provides the opportunity for students to learn skills in Linux operating system as well as command line coding. The best part for the students is learning problem solving skills through continuous failure.  Working with something new creates a challenge and they must stretch to understand new concepts.  They fail over and over again and again, with our support we help them see the value of failure. When they master for example getting the robot to stand on its own through programing the feeling of accomplishment helps to create the long term value we seek in shaping them to understand the value of failure.

Learning to collaborate, in diverse teams is critical and a necessary 21st century workforce skill. Our students gain self-awareness and the understanding of the value of having a diverse team and the impact that diverse thinking has on innovation and bringing a product to market. Learning to collaborate develops confidence and coopetition to support success in school, college and careers.

WCTD invested this year to build the capacity to teach students global collaboration skills through our International Code-a-thon. We partnered with Iluka Resources in Western Australia (WA) where a team of employees and industry volunteers delivered the program for students in WA. The success of that program lead Iluka to support a team of 5 to participate and learn from our CreatingSTEAM program in NYC in July, with an intent to establish WCTD programs in Australia and support STEAM education in Australia. This demonstrates that the WCTD program concept is transferable to other countries and can support a range of industry talent needs by driving more students towards STEAM careers. 

The Community Ambassador Program (CAP) grows through mentor participation at CreatingSTEAM. Our organization is run by students for students, and that is demonstrated in the results we see from CreatingSTEAM each year. Watching the student ambassadors lead sessions, moderate career panels with industry experts, develop their leadership skills, and provide continuous feedback to make the program better is what makes the program such a success. The CAP students demonstrate the character, motivation, and willingness to learn that employers seek to find when recruiting. We could not be prouder of their dedication to the program and to their own professional development. These are the students that will shape our future and who are dedicated to creating positive change around the world.  We look forward to continuing to build the CAP program and provide students the opportunity to teach, learn and develop leadership qualities around the world.

When you deliver a consistent process in teaching you see the key changing points that occur with the students each year.  We know when the teams start to jell and flow in their work together when they begin to inspire each other and collaborate to see each other succeed, and the effort they put in outside of the program, in some cases late into the night.  It is amazing to see and feel the energy that is created when you provide students the space to learn and to succeed through failure and success; it energizes everyone and creates the model and characteristics that employers seek to hire.  Students come away with pride in their work and a true understanding of what the real world work environment could be like. They have a sense of how their role in contributing to a team and working hard together to solve problems that impacts humanity can change the future in positive ways.

The final projects the teams produce is emotional for the students, the parents who come to watch, the mentors who supported them throughout the program, and our entire team and volunteers who shape the program and ensure the students outcomes are positive.  Students come away learning resource tools from Microsoft that are utilized in the workforce, coding and website design, the design thinking model, self-awareness and presentation skills and so much more. The outcomes create what is necessary to build the personal confidence to present in front of a live global audience. When the students depart they are just beginning their journey to be lifelong learners and have a greater understanding of the meaning of collaboration and the value of failure in learning to succeed.

You can see what our students think of We Connect The Dots by checking out a presentation put together by CreatingSTEAM student Adam Y. CLICK HER

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Opening the Nasdaq Stock Exchange
Opening the Nasdaq Stock Exchange

We Connect The Dots' CreatingSTEAM 2016 Experiential Learning Program for students is gaining momentum as more students, teachers and organizations realize the urgent need for more immersive technology education, a broader understanding of STEAM careers and an inventive approach to raise awareness to the kinds of skills students will need to enter the 21st century workforce. As enrollment for the program expands, WCTD seeks engaging partnerships with organizations and companies that understand the need to offer students more oppportunities and learning experiences that will give them the tools they require to be successful. Microsoft has joined the mission as a partner and offered WCTD their incredible NYC facility for the program, which will be held from July 18-29, 2016.

Over the last three months, WCTD has done some amazing things to raise awareness about its mission to excite, inform, and educate students about STEAM careers and learning, including opening the Nasdaq Stock Exchange with Microsoft Community and Operations Managers, Donna Abruscia and Anutan Satana; taking third place in the Harvard Business School's New Venture Competition, and working with Plainview-Old Bethpage School District to bolster thier technology education programs. As WCTD gains a larger constituent base and support from the communities we impact, we are able to reach out to more and more schools and students and help find thier paths to the STEAM education resources they need. 

In the next two months leading up to the CreatingSTEAM program, WCTD will be focusing on raising funds and support in order to offer our immersive programs to traditionally underserved populations who lack access to technology and education resources. WCTD is calling on STEAM industries to match donations to the organization to provide us with capital for curriculum development, education resources for schools, and funding for students to attend our programs. Your support has been instrumental in changing the game for students all over the world, but there is so much more we could be doing. Help us bring about positive change for students around the world by supporting WCTD!

Students working together to address global issues
Students working together to address global issues
The importance of diversity and collaboration
The importance of diversity and collaboration
An organization run by and for students
An organization run by and for students
Education for the 21st century
Education for the 21st century
The power of working together
The power of working together


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Organization Information

We Connect The Dots,Inc.

Location: Cold Spring Harbor, New York - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WCTDs
Project Leader:
Laurie Carey
Cold Spring Harbor, New York United States

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