In a first-of-its-kind partnership, DuPont will pay $1.5 million for Delaware schools to use an online platform that offers high quality videos, activities and more for teachers and students to explore science, technology, math and ultimately career options.
The goal is to prepare more Delaware students for jobs that are already in demand in the First State.
The program will use the Discovery Education website to support the Delaware Pathways initiative designed to help students develop academic, technical and employable skills.
The partnership will help create more equitable learning environments in which all students have access to resources and experiences to succeed, said Jon Kemp, president of DuPont Electronics & Industrial.
It will also create a “deeper, more diverse pool of talent that will drive economic prosperity across Delaware,” he said.
The partnership will run for three years. The first year will focus on training teachers how to use Discovery Education with their subject matter. The program will be active across the state during the last two years, according to Luke Rhine, director of Career & Technical Education and STEM Initiatives at the state Department of Education.
The core of the program is those educational resources, Rhine said.
“Discovery Education is a big organization,” he said. “They have a lot of instructional content. So what that means is they have lesson plans. They have classroom activities. They have digital content, which can include videos, instructional resources and manipulatives (objects that reinforce lessons). It can also include relationships with employers.”
Anyone can log on to Discovery Education’s K-12 daily learning platform and scoot around to see the offerings.
Teachers and students will benefit from the depth of available choices, Rhine said.
“There are literally hundreds of thousands of educational resources that are on demand for educators,” Rhine said. “Everything from videos that support computational thinking all the way down to we’re gonna lead a very inclusive instructional unit on science: Here’s the lesson that you need. Here’s the material lists that you need. Here are just-in-time videos that kids can watch.”
Students will be able to access website at home via a computer or smart phone, he said, which can extend a child’s learning.
The partners hope the program will inspire students to explore math and science more.
While much of the content is classroom and learning oriented, there’s also a huge section on careers.
Students will be able to explore what it takes to enter a field and what it’s like to work in that field through testimonials, videos, demonstrations of the work environment and more, Rhine said. It includes basic skill development resources, such as how to be a leader, how to be an entrepreneur and how to communicate effectively,
The program also allows teachers to connect with other education professionals in school systems around the world through social media, virtual conferences and in-person events, which Discovery Education says will promote networking, idea sharing and inspiration.
Delaware is the only state for which DuPont is funding the program.
DuPont’s support comes as part of its commitment as the newest member of Discovery Education’s STEM Careers Coalition.
The coalition unites a range of industries around the common goals of empowering educators to teach STEM effectively in the classroom and building the next generation of STEM solution-seekers with an intentional focus on fostering and improving racial and gender equity. It hopes to prepare 10 million students for the future of work by 2025.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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