California’s Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) is a statewide initiative that provides funding for before and after-school programs, summer camps, and other out-of-school time (OST) programs. The program’s primary goal is to create safe and enriching learning environments for students during non-school hours. With the growing importance of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education and coding skills in today’s world, schools would benefit from using funds from ELO-P to provide hands-on learning opportunities in these fields.
Why STEAM and Coding Education Matters
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, it is becoming increasingly important for students to be equipped with the skills necessary to navigate this ever-changing landscape. STEAM education encourages students to develop critical thinking, computational thinking, and creativity skills while learning about science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Coding skills are also becoming more essential in many fields, from computer science to finance to healthcare. By learning to code, students can develop their logical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
Why Use ELO-P Funds for STEAM and Coding Learning Opportunities
ELO-P provides an excellent opportunity for schools to offer high-quality STEAM and coding education to students outside of regular school hours. By using ELO-P funds to support summer camps and after-school programs that focus on STEAM and coding, schools can create a safe and enriching learning environment that encourages exploration and experimentation. These programs can provide students with hands-on experiences that go beyond what they might encounter in a typical classroom setting. They can also help to close the achievement gap and support underserved communities by providing access to resources and opportunities that may not otherwise be available.
What STEAM and Coding Learning Opportunities Can Look Like with SAM Labs
SAM Labs offers a unique platform that combines physical hardware with digital software to create a STEAM and coding learning experience like no other. With SAM Labs, students can learn how to design and program their own interactive projects using a variety of tools and resources.
Turn students into creators: SAM Labs offers a range of coding blocks and hardware components that allow students to create their real-world prototypes – everything from circuits to ecosystems. With the SAM Studio app, students can design and program their projects using a visual coding language that is easy to understand and intuitive to use. Perfect for both educators and students that are new to code – no previous experience is required!
STEAM challenges: SAM Labs provides a range of STEAM challenges that encourage students to think creatively and solve problems using technology. These challenges cover a wide range of topics, from environmental science to physics to art and design.
Hands-on learning: SAM Labs is designed to support project-based learning, allowing students to work collaboratively to design and create their own projects. The platform provides a range of resources and templates to help students get started, as well as opportunities for customization and personalization.
Educator supports: SAM Labs is also ideal for schools looking to implement STEAM and coding learning opportunities with staff that has little to no experience in teaching technology or code. Everything educators need comes with a subscription – including free onboarding for all educators, hours of hands-on learning content, recorded lessons, and free office hours with our expert STEAM educators.
By incorporating SAM Labs into summer camps and after-school programs, schools can provide students with a unique and engaging STEAM and coding learning experience that isn’t easily fit into the regular school day. With SAM Labs, students can develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills, while learning about science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
Providing Transformative Expanded Learning Through STEAM and Coding
STEAM and coding education is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and schools should consider using ELO-P funds to provide hands-on learning opportunities in these fields. By offering summer camps and after-school programs that focus on STEAM and coding, schools can create safe and enriching learning environments that encourage exploration and experimentation. These programs can help to close the achievement gap and support underserved communities by providing access to resources and opportunities that may not otherwise be available. By investing in STEAM and coding education, schools can help prepare students for success in the 21st century.
Shaunda Douglas is a former educator with over 15 years of experience in all levels of education. In her free time, she reads, plays with her dogs, watches baseball, and loves a good nap.