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By now, most people have heard about STEM learning. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition says that STEM education plays a critical role in “enabling the US to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century” (STEM, 2018). STEM learning is important because it invades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere you look and technology is quickly expanding into every aspect of our lives.

Many people use science and technology to run their home heating/cooling systems or to lock their doors remotely. Many people use cell phones for the apps and internet more often than the phone function. If you own a newer car, you probably have a computer that is the brain of your car. When I was younger, I used to help my dad work on cars in our small town. We could fix everything there was on a car. Now, the engines are computerized and so complicated, I don’t even try to fix them myself. You have to take them to a car repair shop that has the tools, knowledge, and education to work on the computer-driven engine.

STEM is not new. STEM education has been growing for many years now, but today it has become a buzzword. Everyone wants in on STEM education, and they should! Our world revolves around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Even if you are not affected at work, you most likely are facing STEM issues at home. Now is the time for educators to open the door for all children, to the awe-inspiring world of STEM.

This morning I had the privilege of touring Trinity Lutheran Schools for the Chamber coffee, and I spoke with the teachers and students, and all of them were working on STEM related projects and assignments. We saw the iPads being used to write stories and animate the stories, the students were using 3D printers and graphic software to develop the print jobs, and I saw my first ever aquaponics system; using fish in a tank to grow lettuce. The entire 1-hour tour was eye opening and inspirational.

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April 25th, the library will have their Nebraska Science Fair 2018 evening event from 4-6pm to allow our Tween Tech Time participants to display their projects and to explain to the attendees all about the Osmos, LittleBits, and Ozobots that they use each week for tech learning. We will also have our 3D printer on display and the 360-degree scanner, along with some projects we have created.

Because of this mornings’ inspiring event, we will be reaching out to the schools to see if any of them want to participate in our Science Fair event. Why not let the community see all the STEM education going on in Fremont? Since the event is part of a statewide Science Fair, it behooves us all to join efforts and to show the fantastic opportunities Fremont has to offer in education.

Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.

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