The Union Recorder

Editorials

April 30, 2014

Bridging tech gaps locally makes STEM education achievable

MILLEDGEVILLE — A Georgia Military College project is bridging gaps in technology for local Baldwin County Schools students. GMC is donating 55 refurbished computers that will be utilized by local students as part of an ongoing community education enhancement initiative. The Baldwin County Board of Education is receiving the equipment.

If this project could somehow be expanded to other entities and state agencies, Georgia College or Central Georgia Technical College for example, the technological reach could be even more impactful.

With so much emphasis in public school systems on STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and STEAM, which includes the arts — enhanced, more up-to-date computers and technology are vital to the process and learning development.

According to the United States Department of Commerce over the past 10 years, jobs in STEM fields have grown three times as fast as jobs in non-STEM fields. STEM fields are expected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to just 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM fields in the same timeframe.

GMC replaces an average of 200 to 250 computers each year across the entire institution, according to the school’s replacement schedule. The replaced inventory comes back to the Milledgeville campus for processing.

Sinclair Christian Academy has also been a beneficiary of computer donations from GMC and Baldwin students have in the past utilized donated computers for Accelerated Reader programs and online assessments that otherwise would have been limited.

This is a great way to not only find new uses for surplus materials, but also to help expand the reaches of technology in the local community by putting these computers in the hands of area students who can certainly use them.

Projections indicate that over the next decade alone, the U.S. must produce approximately 1 million more STEM-degree graduates than currently projected to meet the demands of the economy, according to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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