Broadcom Advocates Project-Based Learning for OC Schools

Scott McGregor addresses OC STEM advocates
Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor addresses OC STEM advocates.

Broadcom helped kick off a local grant program for K-8 teachers to boost project-based learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects for the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The company recently hosted  the launch of the new grant program, called SYSTEMS (STEM-izing Young Scholars in Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Science), which featured a presentation by President and Chief Executive Officer Scott McGregor.

McGregor welcomed teachers and administrators from the Orange County Department of Education to the event held at the Broadcom campus in Irvine, Calif., on March 26. He emphasized the important role of project-based learning for engaging students in the STEM subjects.

“Project-based learning matters to Broadcom because it starts students off with the essential skills they’ll need for highly-skilled, sought-after 21st century jobs,” McGregor said. “As an employer that believes in investing in top talent to drive growth, we seek out employees who can apply knowledge from different disciplines and solve tough problems as part of a team.”

The SYSTEMS Grant program is designed to help Orange County teachers introduce project-based learning programs into their schools, aims to “empower students with the knowledge and skills they will need to enter the STEM pipeline.”

The project-based learning approach begins when a student identifies an open-ended idea or challenge he or she personally wishes to explore and works with a teacher to explore it. Unlike the educator of a traditional classroom, the role of a teacher in project-based learning is that of a guide rather than an instructor.

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The student researches the problem by applying elements of the scientific method or engineering process (question, hypothesis, research, outcomes) to investigate or engineer a topic of interest. The student ultimately must present his or her findings or product to an audience. Project-based learning emphasizes personal curiosity, problem-solving and presentation over traditional “sage on the stage” teaching methods that focus more on memorization.

Broadcom and the Broadcom Foundation have long promoted the use of project-based learning in schools. Broadcom Foundation hosts the internationally-recognized Broadcom MASTERS® science and engineering competition, which uses project-based learning to help middle school students develop and compete with science projects. Broadcom Foundation also supports the use of project-based learning through its MASTERS Junior Varsity, an after-school program that works with underserved students in Orange County on STEM projects.

“Project-based learning is a powerful tool that enables kids to acquire the 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication.” said Executive Director of Broadcom Foundation and Broadcom Director, Community Affairs, Paula Golden. “In the end, the process builds confidence in a young person – and confidence is a key ingredient to success in college and a future career.”

Learn more about how project-based learning helps students master STEM topics below: