Smart Factory Believers Program Looks to Bring STEM Tools to Middle and High Schools
A consortium of companies and organizations is working to foster STEM education in middle schools and high schools serving underrepresented communities under a program called Smart Factory Believers.
Smart Factory Believers is a program of Deloitte, a consulting firm that works with more than 8,500 companies in the United States, including 90% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list. Its mission is to "empower STEM education in underserved communities today and inspire the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow."
Participants in the effort include AWS, Ballmer Group, Elenco Electronics, National Math & Science Initiative, Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Wichita State University — which houses Deloitte's Smart Factory @ Wichita, an "immersive experiential learning environment that accelerates the future of manufacturing as innovation and new technologies continue to reshape operations and modern enterprise."
As part of the program, Title I schools can receive hands-on resources and curriculum for the classroom, including a Smart Rover mobile robot kit, educator training, guided projects, lesson plans, standards-aligned math and science materials, student guides, video lessons, and various accessories needed for projects. There are currently more than 75 participating middle schools and high schools, and the program is continuing to expand, according to Deloitte.
"Empowering teachers as the architects of our educational landscape is at the heart of the Smart Factory Believers Program," said Michelle Stie, vice president of program design and innovation at the National Math and Science Initiative, in a prepared statement. "I firmly believe that the integration of STEM skills and practices across our curriculum, as seen in how students and teachers engage with the Smart Rover, is not only pivotal but transformative in shaping the future of our students. We recognize that the true potential of STEM lies in its interdisciplinary nature, and we are dedicated to providing our educators with the tools and support they need through quality professional development practices. By fostering this holistic approach in our work with the Smart Factory Believers Program, we aim to elevate STEM literacy for every student, nurturing a generation of curious minds prepared to excel in an ever-evolving world. We are proud to be Believers with Deloitte and our other industry and education partners in bringing STEM to life for more students."
"Nothing prepared us for the immediate impact of the Smart Factory Believers program," said Adrienne Nathan, director of community partnerships and outreach, Wayne-Westland Community Schools. "With the Smart Rovers, curriculum and training provided, we've seen our students bridge the gap between novice and experienced programming, as well as build a greater understanding of the mechanics of robotics. Due to their experiences with Believers, several of our high school students were able to build the skills needed to compete in their first FIRST Robotics competition this year. We look forward to continuing to extend the Believers program to students at all levels to enhance our coding, Math and STEM curriculum and provide them with opportunities to help explore new career pathways in the future."
Further information about Smart Factory Believers can be found at thesmartfactory.io.