Editorial: Tomorrow's school, today
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the N.C. Biotech Center as the site of genome research. Theresearch is being conducted at the N.C. Research Campus.)
Maybe it was simple coincidence that had the Rowan-Salisbury School System showcasing its STEM programs just as Apple's new iPhone 5 was making headlines.
Or maybe not. It seems hardly a day goes by without announcements of new products or new breakthroughs in technology, whether it's advancements in digital communications or futuristic medical studies like the human genome research going on a few miles away at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. Change comes at fiber-optic speed. In illustrating RSS' commitment to keeping pace, Saturday's program at Knox Middle School was a double success. It gave parents and others attending an up-close view of just how intensely schools are integrating technology into the classroom to boost learning in STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and math. Participants saw how iPads and iPods are being used in classrooms, all but replacing conventional pencil and paper. Other demonstrations showed how students can use Legos to experiment with the growing field of robotics or adapt communications technology to produce their own in-school newscasts. On the other side of the classroom door, the fact that more than 1,000 people showed up for the event at Knox Middle School and Horizons Unlimited should reassure local educators that a lot of parents and other people "get it." They fully understand the importance of STEM initiatives, both to their own children and to the community as a whole. They want to make sure local students are exposed to these essential tools. We're constantly told - or warned - that preparing students for the modern global economy requires a solid grounding in science, technology, engineering and math. Saturday's event shows that RSS is striving to meet that need in a way that captures students' interest as well as the subject matter.