VPACC is designed as both a capture strategy and a STEAM education resource, requiring and facilitating broad community ecosystems. VPACC understands that quality science learning is best supported through a robust cohesive community-wide ecosystem. It is not a stand-alone program, gone are the days we work alone, the United States STEAM community is a team effort.
We don't teach children how to fly, reach orbit, operate and build in orbit, travel beyond low earth orbit and explore worlds of the inner and outer solar system. We enable the pathways for people to figure it out for themselves encouraging them to use all available resources. The critical foundation of a STEAM-education ecosystem is the enabling and nurturing personal curiosity, realities, and interests of the public and youth. In an effective STEAM based ecosystem that includes social networks of family, friends, and teachers (in school and out of school); digital resources, video games, internet search engines, physical resources (i.e., classrooms, after-school programs, libraries). Our approach and philosophy allows VPACC to engage all the spheres of influence of any given team or team members, personal social and educational.
The nature of STEAM education and how children learn is a shifting landscape with unprecedented access to an enormous wealth of science based information 24/7. This personal ability for learning is an underutilized resource in most cases. The nature of learning is changing and is not fully understood or embraced by formal education institutions. However, that appears to be changing according to a new National Research Council report. The report (NRC 2015) encourages the United States to strive for a community-wide ecosystems approach to STEAM education.
“For the past 100 years, both the public and policy makers have come to believe that the words learning, education, and school were synonymous; today, however, public STEM education does not just happen in school. Today’s learners spend only a fraction of their lives in a classroom, and most learning is free-choice, driven by an individual’s needs, interests, and access to learning opportunities. If we are to achieve the often-stated goals of creating a science-engaged and literate public, then we need to invest in public science education—not exclusively a school-based public-education system but one that occurs from morning to night, year-round, and across the lifespan. We need to invest in creating a network of public science-education experiences that seamlessly incorporate learning opportunities in and out of school, framed increasingly around science concepts and practices that support each learner’s desire to answer important questions in his or her own life.”