More than 200 Deer Park ISD students converged on the South Campus this week to demonstrate applied knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math courses. The students participated in demonstrations and competitions ranging from coding to robotics.
In one area, students congregated around a table while their classmates controlled Bottle Bots and Sumo Bots in a tournament. Just around the corner, students eyes were fixated to the skies as drones hovered above. Across the way, high school students demonstrated graphic design techniques used to lay out the high school's yearbook and newspaper.
The students were part of Deer Park ISD’s Technology Showcase. The students, along with their teachers demonstrated how technology is used to support teaching and learning. Students in grades PK-12 showcased technology tools, robotics, robotic inventions, coding, gaming, and STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) projects.
“We have technology all over the district,” said Kari Murphy, chief technology officer for Deer Park ISD. “Students from pre-K all the way up to high school seniors are using some form of technology in their school day.”
Murphy said students interact with all kinds of technology through classroom work, extracurricular activities and clubs and student organizations.
Students as young as prekindergarten age learn coding techniques by inputting a series of commands to a caterpillar toy, known as a “codeapillar.” The toy then travels on the route as coded by the students.
She said a higher demand for a domestic technologically savvy work force has put schools in a position to begin exposing coding, robotics and more technology to students at a younger age.
“There are tons of jobs that are not being filled by Americans because we don’t have students as skilled as ones from other countries,” she said. “We’re changing that.”
Although that job market could be very different 20 years from now, exposing Pre-K students to advanced technologies in the classroom gives them a strong foundation as they progress through school, Murphy said.
“We’ll still see advancements in robotics, automation and coding. We’ll still see the Internet expanding. I can’t imagine what it will be like in 15 years,” she said. “If nothing else, we are teaching skills so they can adapt and use whatever tool is available to them at that time.”