Making a difference at the Grass Roots Level – STEM

Too often I hear people talking about how we get young people interested in STEM subjects. They talk about children’s lack of interest in maths and how they are just not that into learning about the STEM subjects. Yet when children are really young they are into everything and anything, they are little sponges willing to learn as much as they possibly can. So what changes and what is blocking these young minds…

This week I came across a classic example of where technology is failing to be accessible to the youngest age group due to lack of funding. Our local preschool put this notice up on their window.

I asked about the problem and it turned out they were using a desktop machine that was over 10 years ago and had a huge pile of cd’s with games that they were using with the children and they love the games. They are keen to learn all about these devices that their parents use day in day out. These things that sometimes take over their parents lives.

In response to the problem I went through a range of devices I had lying around at home including my old EEEPC and started wiping them down, upgrading them and ensuring they are in full working order and have shared on social media some of my updates. So far the EEEPC is heading to the school as it’s robust, reliable and the keys are just the right size for small fingers. I have pre-installed all the games on it from the pre-school for them as more modern laptops don’t have cd drives generally and the staff don’t really have the time to do that. I have also reached out to Lenovo as part of their Lenovo Insiders programme to see if they can help with some suitable touch screen machines where the children can play together on them. I am waiting to hear back on what they have planned.

I was also pleased to hear from friends who said they plan to raise this idea of repurposing old laptops as tools for in their pre-schools and primary schools to get children interested in computers and programmes on them that relate to STEM subjects at an earlier age.

So my question to you is what could you do that would help get young people of all ages interested in STEM subjects? Does your local pre-school, primary school or secondary school have show and tell days or any ways to get involved and show that these subjects are open to anyone?

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