WATERFORD TWP.—What is 1,000 square feet and offers up to 40 students simultaneous access to interactive, high-tech, state-of-the-art industry equipment?
It’s Oakland Schools’ new STEMi Mobile Innovation Station, a mobile laboratory designed to engage K-12 students, teachers, and families in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) experiences. Oakland Schools officials showed off the STEMi to about 50 local and state officials and the media in an unveiling Tuesday.
The STEMi is a full-size 53-foot semi-trailer, with two large slideouts. Inside its bright, inviting interior is equipment allowing students to work with and program autonomous vehicles, collaborative robots, augmented-reality systems, advanced graphic design equipment, and Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing equipment, including 3D printers.
The STEMi will visit all 28 school districts in Oakland County for a week during each school year, allowing local students and educators to interact with the lab.
“The STEMi is the ultimate classroom for students,” said Oakland Schools Superintendent Wanda Cook-Robinson. “It provides them with hands-on learning opportunities, which is crucial for developing young minds. I am ecstatic the day is finally here that this mobile lab is available for all Oakland County students to utilize.”
It is expected that in five years, the STEMi will offer direct career-readiness experiences for nearly 100,000 students. It will also allow for professional learning opportunities for more than 5,000 teachers in the 28 districts.
The STEMi was funded with grant funding from The Zakoff Family Legacy Fund, The Bosch Community Fund, Community Telecommunications Network and Dell.
“It cannot be overstated how important it is for students to be provided with career readiness opportunities,” said Jarrad Grandy, executive director of student services for Oakland Schools. “By engaging with the STEMi, students are learning about what future they could build. The STEMi is one support of many embedded in the countywide, K-12 career readiness system. This countywide system enhances the career awareness and exploration opportunities and instruction for students and educators in the 28 local districts we serve.”
The STEMi is part of a total STEM experience Oakland School has recently began offering to all districts in Oakland County. In addition to the STEMi, Oakland Schools boasts a STEM equipment lending library. Districts are able to check out STEM equipment, which can then be used in district classrooms. Included is equipment allowing students to explore mechatronics, electronics, robotics, rapid prototyping, coding, virtual reality, augmented reality, and video game design.
For more information on the Oakland Schools STEM experience, visit https://www.oakland.k12.mi.us/educators/student-services/career-readiness.