STEM Activists Ready to Meet 2013 Challenges

Contributor: By Amanda Laverman

A working group composed of broadband and education leaders is kicking off 2013 with new goals to improve Iowa’s education system.

The group met earlier this month to decide what to tackle through the state’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) program. These observations and suggestions will then be passed on to the

STEM Advisory Council. The group concluded there were two major challenges facing the Iowa Education system:

1. Ensuring teachers can teach in 21st century modality

2. Providing broadband that connects learners locally, nationally and globally

While the meeting focused on the challenges ahead, there has been substantial progress so far! More than 120 schools have a 1:1 initiative in place already, meaning each student has a digital tablet or laptop assigned to them for use. Also, most secondary schools, state colleges, and some state government facilities have access to Iowa Communication Network (ICN) fiber. However, some schools with access to this fiber have already exceeded its capacity and are in dire need of alternative resources! Broadband resources are also still needed for elementary and junior high schools. This is particularly difficult to find in rural Iowa locations. 

The STEM group is working on the task of finding more broadband resources and identifying what obstacles are prohibiting statewide high-speed Internet access. They are looking for providers and policy makers who will help the STEM program create and execute solutions.

STEM is looking to make sure every teacher and student throughout the state of Iowa, at every education level, is connected through the Internet for increased learning opportunities!

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