The first year for Student Technology Leadership Programs (STLP) in Knox County is proving to be a success as Knox County Middle School beats out regional competition and advances to state.
The regional competition was held Monday, December 9 in Somerset and was the first time that Knox County has participated in the event. STLP uses project-based learning principles to empower students to solve school and community needs using technology. It’s more than a club or after school activity, STLP is real-life learning that provides a means for students to design, make, connect and learn.
Knox County Middle’s Aubrey Jones, Jayme Swafford, Zoey Hamilton, and Sophi Deaton decided on a community need that was close to all four. Ideas and discussions about the project started in August of this year during their enrichment class at Knox Middle. The team created “Panther Paws for a Cause” as their community service project. The students then learned how to publicize their project using media such as graphic design software and video production tools.
“I am very proud of this team,” said enrichment teacher and coach Bethany Crawford. “Through this project, they have learned that we can use technology to solve problems within our own community. I hope all of our students at KCMS grow to understand that they have endless opportunities with technology.”
The team created a t-shirt using those skills and sold them to raise funds for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter. The students raised $420 and 72 items during their outreach project.
“We are excited to help another cause as the next phase of our Panther Paws for a Cause project,” said member Zoey Hamilton.
That next phase is taking the team to Rupp Arena for the State STLP Championship in April. Having a team to win at region and advance to state is an achievement that technology integration coach Jennifer Mills is particularly proud of.
“STLP is one of our newest technology initiatives in the Knox County schools. It is vital that we expose students to these types of projects that will mirror the same creativity and problem solving that they will face in the workplace,” said Mills.