STEM Q&A: Mike Bell, Digital Learning Coach

Q: Can you tell me about yourself and your background in education?

A: “I have 25 years of educational experience in Floyd. I was a classroom teacher for 24 years, and I have been in my current role for a year and a half. We have a district of 5,600 students in pre-k through 12th grade.”


Q: How did your school find out about EDforTech?

A: “Before Christmas, we were on a virtual meeting with Joe Lively at EDforTech and they had connected with one of our K-8 schools, John M. Stumbo Elementary. It felt like something was possible for the summer. When we met with EDforTech, the curriculum and possible summer opportunity sounded really good. We realized we did want to offer a district wide summer school, and we wanted the robotics feature to entice students to attend. We talked with Joe, and he hooked us up with the devices that would really fit our kids. We were able to give every child that attended a robot to take home.”


Q: What were your school’s STEM goals and how did EDforTech help you meet them?

A: “One was definitely the device acquisition. We were able to find what was age appropriate for our kids. That was the greatest aspect. For our kids, just having that opportunity to learn on a different level was amazing. Many students have been able to take the knowledge of coding robots and transfer that knowledge. They can take it into another coding platform with different devices and terminology. They realized the concept is still there.”


Q: What’s the biggest challenge in implementing a STEM program that EDforTech has helped solve for your school?

A: “Being able to reach the comfort level for teachers, and usage. A lot of teachers have a hesitation with getting out of their comfort zone. When you are talking coding, you are talking a foreign language. That hurdle has been taken down. It was to a point to where teachers could learn easily with the students. It has helped with knowledge transfer and has become something they can do themselves.”


Q: Did students have fun participating in the program?

A: “They had a blast. One of our kindergarten students, when they got to see it, their smile sums it all up. It gave them something they hadn’t had in a while. With the Pandemic, being in a room with peers being able to smile and play was something they didn’t have. This is why we need this in our schools right now.”


Q: Why do you think it is important to support STEM education in schools?

A: “All of the creative side. Allowing kids to explore and challenge themselves. Sometimes we want to structure so much that we limit our kids ability to truly grow. That is something we didn’t want to do with this. Let these kids take these devices and open a new world for them. It lets them be creative using those tools to a level they didn’t even know they could have done.”


Q: How do you think having access to STEM resources prepares youth for the future?

A: “We live in a technology world now. How are they going to use tech? We want them to be successful and function well. Right now, STEAM education is almost at the forefront. Project-based learning for our kids is my favorite. You can see the gears turn and watch them create. It’s so valuable to them. In every aspect of their lives. We really stress, do it for fun, but also do it to change someone’s life. When students create, they create for others. The process helps them grow. We have been ecstatic. We love sharing about it. We always talk about the great experience with EDforTech.”  


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STEM education encourages the next generation of engineers, technologists, scientists, and artists. Our team of STEM experts are here to support you in implementing meaningful K-12 learning experiences that empower students and educators. Request more information today about how you can incorporate STEM learning at your school and increase student achievement.  

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