This summer, the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow program, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition that challenges public school students in Grades 6 to 12 to show how STEM can be applied to help improve their community, hosted its second annual Teacher. Academy. The Academy is a week-long program providing teachers across the United States with a unique professional development experience designed to create and maintain a culture of STEM teaching and learning.
The participating Academy teachers are all Solve for Tomorrow alumni who collectively won over $ 1.5 million in classroom technology and materials for their respective schools this year. Having just adjusted to teaching during a pandemic, 65 teachers from 39 states have now become distance learning students, attending Academy sessions supported by Solve for Tomorrow partner mindSpark Learning. The program included exercises that addressed how to implement problem-based learning (PBL) in a virtual world and how to create an empathetic learning environment.
The ability to build relationships through the Teacher Academy is invaluable.
With a mission to cultivate a community of STEM professionals by providing teachers with the tools and resources to succeed, Samsung, mindSpark Learning and teachers brainstormed creative ways to approach the upcoming school year and its unique set. of challenges. It goes without saying that the Samsung team found the second cohort of educators – just like the first – inspiring. Their enthusiasm echoed through the Academy’s chat rooms and video conferences as they crafted new ways to integrate STEM into compelling lesson plans and design rewarding learning environments for their students.
“Today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow. And teachers are the key to unlocking the potential of students, especially in STEM. The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Teacher Academy aims to provide inspiring and meaningful programming to Solve for Tomorrow teachers, which includes unique experiences and professional development paths that will help them on their journey to guide their students, ” said Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “With the 2020 Teacher Academy class, we also leveraged our network of dynamic STEM educators. We saw the power of the peer network come to life at the end of the last school year, and we believe that the second cohort will support each other to make learning more accessible and effective for students in the next school year.
“The ability to build relationships through the Teacher Academy is invaluable”, said Joseph Giandurco, a science teacher at Ponus Ridge Middle School in Connecticut and a finalist in the Solve for Tomorrow competition in 2020. “I now have a binder filled with information and resources, as well as the support of the professional learning community groups that we have formed. “
“The Samsung team is honored to work with these inspiring teachers who have come together during a truly unprecedented time to challenge each other, develop new teaching strategies and grow for both their benefit and that of their students.” shared Michele Mosa, Senior Manager of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “These remarkable educators are pulled in several directions. They made the decision to invest more than 2,600 hours collectively in learning new teaching methods, preparing for the unexpected next year and joining a network of education allies for students. guide through the process. “
As part of the Academy’s degree program, Samsung employees from subsidiaries across the United States, such as Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Samsung Research America, Samsung Semiconductor, Samsung Electronics Home Appliance, Samsung NEXT, and Samsung Electronics America , were invited to speak at a round table with teachers. on their STEM career paths.
When you have a student interested in participating in the Solve for Tomorrow program, encourage her to invite her friends to participate as well.
“My favorite part of the program was the opportunity to meet Samsung employees”, shared Dolly Bergen, a high school physics teacher in California and a 2018 national finalist. “Employees shared amazing tips and reiterated that students should network and participate in internships. “
A teacher asked how he could involve more young women in the Solve for Tomorrow competition and STEM classes. Katie Van Strander, Senior TR in Materials Technology at Samsung Austin Semiconductor shared her experiences in the STEM field. While noting that there were not many women in her higher education classes, she saw good progress in the professional setting with more women represented in the STEM field. “It is important for young girls to have role models. When you have a student interested in participating in the Solve for Tomorrow program, encourage her to invite her friends to participate as well.
Pedro Martínez López, Think Tank Research Engineer at Samsung Research America, attended the employee roundtable last year and returned for another year. “Programs like Solve for Tomorrow and the Teacher Academy can have a huge impact. Regarding PBL, I had the chance to experience this kind of teaching at school. And contests, like Solve for Tomorrow, are a great way for students from all walks of life to realize their potential, meet like-minded peers, and networking with a company like Samsung is a great opportunity. “
Overall, the PBL lessons in leadership, disruption, and empathy, as well as peer networking opportunities, were found to be invaluable as educators return to school.
When asked what advice they would share with other teachers preparing for the upcoming school year, Dolly responded with the importance of practicing self-care. “Put an hour a day on your calendar to do something you love. Teachers are caring people and give often, and you can’t give if your cup is empty.
Joseph echoed the sentiment, “Try to calm yourself down. And remember we are all adjusting to these changes. Taking it day to day helps.