Metro Deaf students STEAMed up 

It all starts with play and discovery. That’s the ultimate goal of the collaboration between St. Paul’s Metro Deaf School and the University of St. Thomas’ Playful Learning Lab, which brings STEAM outreach to the children. 

“The kids really enjoy it. They learn from doing, from being,” said Susan Outlaw, Metro Deaf School’s executive director. 

She works with the team from the Playful Learning Lab and Professor AnnMarie Thomas to find creative and engaging ways to interest students  in computer science. “This could be working with circuses to teach physics or designing a way to sculpt electrical circuits or working with the rock band “OK Go” to use their music videos to create lesson plans for teachers around the world,” said Thomas. 

Now Google is expanding the opportunities with a $110,000 grant.  

One of the goals is to broaden participation and research in computational thinking and computer science in the K-12 education systems.  

Another goal is to provide stipends to Metro Deaf School teachers and staff working at night and taking extra classes and workshops. “Teachers are my heroes, so thanks to this grant we’re able to compensate teachers for the extra work that it takes to train and to learn these different programming languages and robotics tools, and then create custom class exercises and lesson plans that they’ll bring to Metro Deaf School,” said Thomas. 

Bringing in children who experience the world a little differently could mean a brighter future for everyone. “Someday, you know I [will] see at St. Thomas, in my engineering classes, some of the folks who might have been kindergartners in the coding class a decade ago. That’s the dream,” said Thomas. 

(Source: KARE 11 News)