Technology and Youth Program Opportunites in Cary, NC

baby with ipadAs part of the Cary TTF, we are looking at ALL ways that Technology can be used to enhance the lives of folks living in Cary.  Obviously, one opportunity is to incorporate more Technology focused training and opportunities for Youth.  An important role for the Town is to create programs that incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational experiences.

Other Town’s and Cities across the Country see Technology as a necessary focus, and do not simply rely on the Public School System to offer advanced exposure, much like the new Cary Cultural Arts Center is advancing exposure and Fine Arts interaction.Suggestions for this shift for The Town of Cary Programs could include:

  • Town could offer classes and Camps that focus on Technology
  • Town could offer the MOUSE.org program to nominated students in Middle and High School, providing training, potential internships and resources
  • The Town could create an Awards for Outstanding Youth Development of Digital Technologies / Digital Media, recognizing and promoting STEM and Entreprenureal intitiatives
  • Technology Certification Classes could be opened for Youth, as well as coding classes – for instance Globarloria and World Wide Workshops that promote Youth creation of Educational Video Games.
  • Town could offer self directed Tutorial spaces for students who need to “catch up” on a subject virtually, but do not have technology at home.
  • Town could open Technology Centers and promote robotics and coding classes in un-used Town facilities – partnering with Corporations and local Colleges and Universities

Examples of Other Cities engaging in this type of Youth, Technology Focus include:

  • San Antonio has a site just for engaging with Youth including YouthBuild
  • Austin Connects a partnership with the City of Austin, includes Youth Technology Engagement Workshops
  • San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation places High School Students in Tech companies as Interns
  • space campSalem, MA  CyberSpace CyberYouth Program free after school program that offers various computer certification programs
  • Salem Keizer Educational Foundation, awards private funds for programs at schools $42,000 awarded in 2012 in this Oregon School

Public Private Partnerships -
There are several companies in the Raleigh / Cary area who are interested in partnering with The Town of Cary to provide educational support for youth in Cary when it comes to Technology, and developing Youth with STEM core competencies.   Local Companies with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs include:

  • Kramden Institute: they use volunteers to refurbish older computers and donate them to local qualifying families
  • WRAL Tech Wire and SIT (Science in the Triangle) are both interested in programs that would promote STEM for Youth in the Town of Cary, and could help find instructors and supplies.
  • SAS – currently holds camps and certification programs for High School Youth, offers Middle School Initatives and Job Training / Coding courses for Career Development.
  • CISCO is a partner for MULTIPLE STEM Initiatives.
  • We also have Epic Games and RedStorm in Cary who might be interested in additional STEM and Video Game Development and training provided to local youth.
  • NC Association for BioMedical Research and Biogen Idec Foundation “Bridging The Gap”
  • IBM Race to the Top is a 1.3 Million program – is there away to apply for funding?

coordinatorcon_logo---2012-edit_0And then there’s Google - we have a local Google Rep in Raleigh who spends a majority of his time with Colleges and Universities finding study areas here that could “use” the ability to connect with other “Masters” on that topic.  Using Town Facilities for audio / video, we could easily have “hangouts” sponsored by the Town, similar to this.

  • These events are simultaneously streamed on Youtube and could be accessed by other teachers in the area as a resource.  What if we connected the local Robotics Team with Robotics Developers across the Country?
  • Obviously some discussion with Education Leaders to find which topics they are most interested in would be needed, but this is an easy program that could be incorporated with The Town of Cary Space Camps, or a Downtown Cary Children’s Museum Initiative, even prior to having a final space.

STEM_EDUCATION_NEWS-220x161WHAT IS STEM??

The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This program was started by Judith A. Ramaley, the former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division. This approach to education is designed to revolutionize the teaching of subject areas such as mathematics and science by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum by creating a “meta-discipline.”

STEM Education attempts to transform the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and requires students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution.

Collaboration, cognitive learning and understanding ethics involving technology and the “new” virtual communities Youth will be required to excel in.  As they are innovative and creative in solving problems in the future using technology, these are the skills that will be highly valued – not the “multi-tasker / self-starter” that might be highlighted on a resume of a Boomer – those will be a “given.”

I’m certain that this is just scratching the surface – but in polling the local Libraries – it appears that our “free” technology resources through the County are being maxed out in Cary.  Wouldn’t it be great to offer a space where Youth could “Catch up” in Algebra via a virtual Classroom environment – even if they don’t have access to computers at home?  Better still, wouldn’t it be great to be able to TEACH those kids how to BUILD a computer they could use there?

We have tons of opportunity – it would be interesting to hear suggestions from others who might be able to identify other initiatives we can consider… understanding that it’s NOT just YOUTH that need to be trained and encouraged to grow using these tools.  Personally, I’d like to see Cary develop programs that would qualify for the Google Rise Awards.

One thought on “Technology and Youth Program Opportunites in Cary, NC

  1. I LOVE the fact that you’re looking at youth engagement strategies for technology matters. Thank you for exploring these alternatives. This truly is what makes Cary a great place to live – thinking about our future! Thanks!

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