21 April 2010
Posted in Press and Media
Orlando Science Center Provides Title I Students With Tools for Future Success
Photo Caption: Orlando Science Center President and CEO JoAnn Newman with AT&T's Judy Spencer, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal. On behalf of the Orlando Science Center, Newman accepted a $50,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation during the Science Center's Otronicon event. The grant enabled nine Title I middle school classes to attend the event as well as fund 60 scholarships for a digital media academy for teens this summer.
ORLANDO, Fla. - April 20, 2010 - The Orlando Science Center was awarded a $50,000 grant from AT&T Foundation, the philanthropy arm of AT&T*, that will enable them to engage underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing them with hands-on learning experiences geared toward today's technologies and tomorrow's innovations.
AT&T’s support enabled nine Title I middle school classes to attend the Science Center's annual OTRONICON digital media and simulation festival in January 2010 and to participate in technology workshops. Following this experience, each student has been invited to apply for one of 60 scholarships to attend a Teen Academy during Summer 2010 that will extend and reinforce the STEM learning gained in the Otronicon workshops and continue career connections.
“AT&T has helped the Orlando Science Center give these youth the opportunity to explore career options and receive tools needed for life-long learning and future success,” said JoAnn Newman, President and CEO of the Orlando Science Center.
The goal of the program was to expose underserved students to emerging and existing career fields in science, technology, and digital arts. Field trips to Otronicon served approximately 240 students and 60 youth will attend the Summer Academy. The Title I Orange County middle schools targeted for the program included Carver Middle School, Howard Middle School, Jackson Middle School, Liberty Middle School, Meadowbrook Middle School, Memorial Middle School, Robinswood Middle School, Walker Middle School, and Westridge Middle School.
This funding allowed students from these schools to attend the popular Otronicon interactive technology expo in January. This event explores the impact interactive technology makes on how we live, learn, work and play through videogame displays and competitions, educational workshops, digital art galleries, seminars and presentations of military and medical simulation. While the students were attending Otronicon, they participated in workshops that used video games as a platform to engage them in the educational power and career potential of this technology. Students used 3-D modeling and animation tools to gain understanding of how interactive entertainment is developed.
Students who participate in Otronicon were then invited to apply for one of 60 Summer Teen Academy scholarships made available through support from AT&T. Teen Academies provide participants with a week-long, in-depth experience, based on the foundation of learning built during Otronicon. The Academy curriculum will focus on the career potential of the digital media industry as well the power of "E-Learning." Once again, video games will be the platform from which to explore future potentialities.
Two week-long sessions of the Academy will be held at the Orlando Science Center during the summer of 2010. Each Academy will offer hands-on exploration in website design, simulation, and game creation. At the conclusion, students will be asked to create "e-portfolios," capturing student learning outcomes and areas of career interest. These portfolios will serve as potential career maps, on which each student can base future educational and career milestones.
“By engaging youth through the popularity of video games and then showing them the science driving this technology, we create a powerful educational experience that will also highlight future career opportunities,” Newman said. “With AT&T’s support, we can inspire our region's underserved young people to reach their full potential.”
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