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Broadband and Digital Skills Are Key To STEM Learning

by Bill Sweeney

This post is sponsored by 4-H as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed are my own.

Broadband and digital skills are key to offering educational activities for kids. STEM activities and STEM learning should be a key part of growing children’s skills. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The more tech-focused we become as a society, the more important these STEM activities are to build up the STEM learning they need. These digital skills are probably just as important as “reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic” are. It’s crucial to education in the 21st century for many reasons on many levels. Proper internet access is essential to making this happen for all kids.

STEM learning

As we are all experiencing in today’s unprecedented and uncertain world, the internet is so much more important than ever before. People are working at home that never have. Children are literally going to school online for the first time ever really. Friends are only keeping in contact via video conferencing and cell phone messaging. Even social events, grocery and food delivery, and more is all based on the internet. It’s like nothing we have ever experienced before, but that God we have this to help us in these crazy times. Imagine if we didn’t have a good internet connection.

educational activities for kids

Importance of Broadband Access

Access to broadband is essential in today’s fast paced, internet-driven world. As we see even more today, the work, entertainment, and day-to-day lives we lead are increasingly moving online. The speed of this change can be overwhelming for some, but it’s a reality that needs to be accepted and embraced. STEM activities to enhance STEM learning for kids is just as much a part of this online world, as is education, reading, and information of just about all kinds. Having access to this is the key to it all. It’s pretty much like having access to the telephone was in the past.

STEM learning

4-H/Microsoft Youth Survey

In an effort to try to quantify the important of broadband access to STEM, 4-H partnered with Microsoft to explore digital access for teens. The survey, which polled over 1,500 youth between the ages of 13-19 nationwide, was commissioned to explore the impact of broadband access and digital skills on how youth participate in educational, social and community activities. The findings were not surprising to me at all.

Broadband Is Seen As Key To Success

The teens polled believe their career prospects and likelihood of attaining financial success depend on broadband access. I’d say they are likely correct. More and more jobs and larger and larger parts of the world’s economy are moving toward significant online presence.

educational activities for kids

In fact, 79% of teens in the survey with broadband access expect to have a higher income than their parents, while only 66% of teens without broadband access felt this way. A huge 8 in 10 teens believe high-speed internet access could improve their local economy. Commerce, entrainment, and communication online via websites, social media, and email have become completely intertwined in our lives. Can you imagine a time with dial-up or very slow internet? Let alone not having the internet at all? I know I can’t. I mean…pretty much my entire business is online!

STEM activites

Internet Access Struggles

As important as broadband access is, not all kids have the access they know they want and need. Almost half of the teens from the survey say they’ve struggled to do their homework due to slow internet connections. a1 in 4 American teens have Broadband connections that are unreliable. Issues like this leave teens without high-speed internet access less confident about graduating high school and less optimistic about higher education and career opportunities.

STEM Learning and Educational Activities For Kids

Limited broadband access is a barrier to opportunity and can have lasting impacts on young people. It’s important for that everyone can participate in STEM learning, STEM activities, and other educational activities for kids. We need to have everyone be part of this new economy and way of life! 4-H and Microsoft is here to help with that. To find out more, be sure to check out the National 4-H Council on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube! Also, check out Microsoft on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well. You can also search for hashtags #4HTechChangemakers and #4HatHome.

STEM learning

STEM learning

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Broadband and Digital Skills Are Key To STEM Learning was last modified: May 1st, 2020 by Bill Sweeney

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16 comments

Matt Taylor May 1, 2020 - 4:01 PM

Agreed! I would pull my hair out if my internet connection was slow, and there isn’t any hair to pull out! Haha, I still remember the dial-up days. And that classic sound, haha. I think cooking and baking should be part of the curriculum. 🙂 haha

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Brianne May 1, 2020 - 6:03 PM

I’ve never thought about that before, but it makes perfect sense. There are so many underserved families out there and if they can’t afford necessities, they sure can’t afford internet.

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Surekha May 1, 2020 - 6:08 PM

I’m so glad that 4-H is helping to make access to broadband a reality for underserved families. I never thought about how hard it must make learning.

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Heather May 1, 2020 - 10:50 PM

You are so right! It’s so important to have broadband and digital skills! Especially right now, with all of the kids distance learning.

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Autumn Rose Reo May 1, 2020 - 11:20 PM

We have a business line and our internet still stalls and goes awry often. I can’t handle it – and it’s worse now with the kids home and our internet being used. We live in the middle of the city and it’s just that there isn’t good service. We even have the funds, but not the technology.

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The Joyous Living May 2, 2020 - 9:50 AM

This is so key right now. Schools are having troubles with lower-income children not able to get online to do their homework due to poor internet at home. Broadband is something we take for granted often.

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Knycx Journeying May 2, 2020 - 11:12 AM

Thanks for the insights and that’s great to know that there are so many resources to continue STEM learning during this period ~

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Knycx Journeying May 2, 2020 - 11:15 AM

I am a Nadal fan and glad that he won another year ~ great insights and thanks for sharing ! – Knycx Journeying

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littlemisadvencha May 2, 2020 - 1:40 PM

when kids learn this as early as possible, it has so many benefits. i can attest to this because i was also taught of it at an early age. and i am now reaping the benefits. .. 🙂

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Elicit Folio May 2, 2020 - 3:56 PM

Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue! STEM programs are so important for the technology sector in the future.

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Melanie williams May 3, 2020 - 5:31 AM

This is such a great idea nad good of you to let people know about this fab learning tool x

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Ray May 3, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A very forward-looking article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and first-hand experience in this.

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Nilakshi May 3, 2020 - 11:07 AM

This is a highly informative blog post. Thanks a lot for sharing it!

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Gervin Khan May 4, 2020 - 12:22 AM

I love the insights and the awareness given by this article. We know how important technology most especially these days that entertainment, work and schools are operating using it and I am sure it will be more important for the coming days.

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Myrah Duque May 5, 2020 - 4:20 PM

STEM learning always comes in handy. My daughter started getting involved in STEM and graduated from college with a major in that field. There is a lot of demand/

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Emman Damian May 5, 2020 - 4:56 PM

I agree! Broadband and Digital Skills are keys to STEM Learning! It’s needed by kids these days so they can cope up with the fast paced technology.

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