Acellus STEM-10: Cover Story Published in Education Technology Insights Magazine
Coding literacy is rapidly becoming an essential skill in the modern workforce. the demand for qualified coders has skyrocketed to the point coding is now one of the fastest-growing professions. According to Forbes, there are over 920,000 unfilled software engineer positions within the U.S. in 2021, with only 165,000 potential applicants.
The demand for coders is expanding far faster than colleges and universities are able to produce them. To bridge this widening gap, new and innovative approaches must be undertaken to increase the number of students trained in coding. Studies have shown that early exposure to coding during the elementary school years is critical to students taking an interest in coding-related careers. By teaching children to code at an early age and continuing through high school, students can graduate job-ready with the coding skills that employers are seeking. This situation inevitably raises the question: Is there any competent and reliable system that can help students learn coding and future-proof their careers?
Acellus answers this question with a resounding “Yes.”
Headed by Dr. Roger Billings, Chairman and Founder of Acellus and inventor of the Acellus Learning System, the company provides students with the skills needed for future careers in coding. Acellus has launched a ten-year STEM education program that establishes crucial coding literacy skills in young students beginning in the third grade.
“To become proficient in coding, one must start at an early age,” says Dr. Billings. “Starting with a broad deployment in the third grade and building upon that start year after year will result in many more trained and capable graduates. “
Ingraining Coding Skills at an Early Age
Acellus STEM-10 — a cohesive 10-year initiative of the International Academy of Science — ingrains coding literacy in students early in their learning journey. Through the program’s standards-based lessons coupled with the robotics and cutting-edge learning technology, the company accelerates learning, elevates standardized test scores, and transitions more students into professional IT courses and careers.
All ten years of the courseware are specifically targeted at empowering students to transition into technology-oriented fields and make significant contributions to the real world. The STEM-10 curriculum also prepares students with critical problem-solving skills and enables them to drive innovation through creativity. What strengthens the competitive edge of Acellus STEM-10 courseware is that it delivers high-quality, entirely self-contained instruction directly through the Acellus system, enabling effective STEM learning both remotely and in the classroom. Through the program, highly experienced and trained engineers teach video-based lessons, which are short-segmented and professionally filmed.
This innovative teaching approach immensely benefits schools as they can start training students right away without requiring their teachers to have extensive coding knowledge. The program proves to be equally valuable for parents who do not need anySTEM training and technical experience to teach their children at home.
An Educational Endeavor Powered by Innovation
The Acellus STEM-10 program is fully comprehensive, ensuring that students master every concept and build on the knowledge gained from each lesson. To begin with, STEM-10 starts in the third grade to develop a foundational understanding of coding in students. As students advance in their coding skills, the STEM-10 pathway is designed to grow increasingly complex. Students will focus on STEM instruction for the first seven years of the program. Once students enter the tenth grade, they are given the opportunity to branch off into a specialized STEM pathway that matches their interests. These pathways include career-oriented instruction in subjects such as web design and mobile application development.
The first three courses of the STEM-10 pathway entail a step-by-step approach:
– In the first year, third grade students take lessons starting from square zero and advance step-by-step through the fundamentals of coding. In this stage, students are introduced to Cellus Bot, a teaching robot equipped with lights, sensors, and a single motor – all of which are controlled by block coding modules included as part of the course. Additionally, the Bot sports a laser capable of projecting various shapes as the robot dances. The built-in accelerometer supports program-controlled responses to the movements and positioning of the Bot.
– As students advance in the course, they are introduced to electronics in the third year while they continue to hone their coding skills and learn important lessons on voltage, capacitance, resistance, and current. The program helps students understand the real-world applications of coding and electronic concepts.
– Acellus has also developed STEM Robotics Labs, comprising specially designed STEM Learning pods that provide students with the tools needed to learn independently and effectively. These labs can be installed in elementary schools to foster a discover-to-create learning environment and spark innovation. Students using the Acellus STEM Lab are taught through cognitive instruction, allowing them to gain firsthand coding insights with practical programming experience.
“Investing in learning and accumulating knowledge is going to pay you over and over throughout your life”
An Unwavering Commitment to Excellence
“Science” is the secret sauce that makes Acellus work wonders in the field of education. The company has built its solution on modern research to identify obstacles to learning and experiment with different techniques rooted in cognitive science to accelerate learning.
Students who were trained through the STEM-10 program exhibited their excellent coding skills during the first-of-its-kind robotics dance contest held in 2021. In fact, current estimates project that thousands of programmers will emerge in the industry through the program each year starting from 2027.
The Acellus courseware and Acellus STEM Labs have propelled over 6,500 schools toward success over the years. The success story of Romero Elementary School in Gustine, California, perfectly demonstrates the prowess of Acellus. Although the school signed up for the Acellus STEM program in the middle of the academic year, Romero’s third graders immediately got acquainted with the program integrated into their classrooms. Romero was elated to see that the Acellus program spurred creativity and critical thinking through a broad spectrum of subjects and skills. As a result, students showed a significant improvement in math and reading scores and excelled in their studies as they eagerly spent more time at the coding tables. The school was super excited about the possibilities the program brought in for its students by delivering the core instruction throughout the day while allowing them to augment their lessons with hands-on real-world applications. A glowing testimonial from Nicholas Freitas, the Principal, Romero Elementary, reads: “The coding program is exciting and engaging for the students. It is exciting to see them program the robot and make it move. Their faces light up.”
This is but one of the instances where Acellus’s program has been instrumental in driving students’ academic excellence. Many other schools that have integrated the Acellus STEM Labs are seeing major achievements in the classroom. Another stellar review about The Acellus STEM-10 program by Dallas County Schools Superintendent Hattie Shelton reads: “It also gives them the opportunity to work on critical thinking skills, to think logically, and to problem-solve.”
Thought Leadership Behind Acellus’s Success
With a steadfast commitment to giving back to the client community and supporting students along their learning journey, Dr. Billings has also created the Roger Billings Scholarship Program. The program provides Acellus Academy students with mentoring guidance while reducing tuition. This scholarship is available to all Acellus Academy students from kindergarten through high school and is specially tailored for creative students who already show a profound interest in science, mathematics, and technology. Students enrolled for the scholarship can participate in Science L!VE, a popular weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Billings. Science L!VE features visual demonstrations on many scientific topics.
Acellus Academy, the official online school of Acellus, holding regional accreditation through WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), provides distance education to K-12 students online through the Acellus Learning System. In the near future, Dr. Billings is kickstarting new projects like STEM-10 in an effort to have more graduates entering the STEM workforce with essential skills at a much higher pace.
“Starting with a broad deployment in the third grade and building upon that start year after year will result in many more trained and capable graduates”
Dr. Billings’s sage advice to students is: “Investing in learning and accumulating knowledge is going to pay you over and over throughout your life. Study hard. It will pay such a dividend throughout your career. You are worth the effort.”
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