In the next 10-20 years, deep technical skills in STEM coupled with problem solving and the ability to work in a collaborative, entrepreneurial and global environment will be highly valued as knowledge-based skills and many services are replaced by automation and artificial intelligence (AI). See the latest on the future of learning and the future of work.
In the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area, only a few examples of project based learning and globally competitive STEM infusion exist. For the approximately 30,000 students in these schools districts there are a few magnet elementary schools, where entrance is by lottery and for high school, IowaBig in Cedar Rapids has a 150-student limit.
See the comparison of StairWay5 versus other programming and robotics camps offered by various entities including the University. These programs are more limited in scope, duration and effectiveness. Students generally follow line by line instruction manuals and simple graphical tools for pre-selected projects. Instructors do not have deep, real-world experiences to guide project-based learning in these subjects.
Some progressive US school districts and countries with noted exceptional education systems have already incorporated project-based learning and the 5 core skills with a deep, technology curriculum. See the future of learning.
Methodology & Content: What differentiates StairWay5 is our course work and teaching methodology. We enable the successful completion of multiple hands-on, relevant projects and a world-class technically deep curriculum that integrates the 5 core skills.
Student Focus: We use narrow age groups in designing our courses and small class sizes of no more than 8 students. Student agency, teamwork and communication is encouraged and developed.
Quality: Students in Programming classes will be assigned their own laptop for the duration of the course. All required programming software will be provided and will be consistent with those commonly used in the industry today. In Robotics, the class is sized for 2 students to work on each robotic kit and related programming interface. Competition-grade robotics kits and components will be used.
Curriculum Depth: Each course is designed to run for a total of 30 hours. This is to ensure students have the time required to apply and absorb learned technical skills via multiple hands-on, student-identified projects. Courses progressively reinforce and build on knowledge and experience gained. As with learning to play a musical instrument or a sport, we believe both passion and practice are key ingredients to success.
Instructors: All course instructors have industry and/or academic experience in programming, science or engineering as well as the 5 core skills.
See our latest slide presentation for more.
Our goal is to have every child who comes through our doors to step out as confident, curious, enthusiastic lifelong learners and innovators.