Two years ago, President Obama issued a call to action that “every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.” Since then, the White House has prioritized opportunities for students to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and foster the development of technology and manufacturing education across the country.
In response to the President’s call, cities across the United States are leveraging existing recreation and community centers to promote out-of-school STEM learning.
Through programming and infrastructure enhancements, centers are transforming from “rec” to “tech,” becoming technology-enabled learning spaces.
For those that lack reliable internet service and access to technology, these “Rec2Tech” enhancements can increase digital literacy and cultivate skills connected to future employment.
what's happening in pittsburgh
The City of Pittsburgh answered the call with a Rec2Tech demonstration project that tested the concept to determine the best path toward a city-wide implementation.
The demonstration, a partnership between the City of Pittsburgh, the Department of Parks and Recreation, The Sprout Fund, and the Remake Learning Network took place September 12-17. Approximately 200 youth ages 7–12 participated in innovative informal learning activities at 5 municipal-owned sites across the city. The week culminated in a celebration open to all local youth.
Every afternoon during the week of September 12th, youth tackled a design challenge relevant to their neighborhood. Educators from diverse education organizations from across the city incorporated maker, STEM, and digital learning activities into each day, along with a snack, physical activity, and dinner. This approach gave youth access to the basic resources they need to stay healthy as well as the experiences, tools, and skills that may help them succeed in college and career.