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Early Project-Based Learning Experiences Pay Off Long-Term

While traveling, many people have a tendency to keep to themselves. We get lost in our devices or a good book, and often deliberately avoid random chit-chat with fellow travelers. Sometimes, though, engaging can lead to meaningful exchanges. Recently, Paula Golden, the Executive Director of Broadcom Foundation and Director of Broadcom Corporation Community Affairs, met a man in his 20s named Josh as both were traveling cross country. Golden learned that he had begun working independently back in middle school on fractal art. Josh had become obsessed with it, but lacked the tools and computer programs he needed to delve as deeply as he wanted. Luckily, one of his teachers was willing and able to give him independent instruction on how to develop programs of his own, to give him a running start. Golden's conversation with Josh underscored the importance of project-based learning, in which kids are given individual guidance that allows them to engage on a practical level with STEM interests beyond books. With so many schools now hyper-focused on standardized testing, which does not typically allow for out-of-the-box projects within the classroom, Josh's story exemplifies the value of inquiry-based learning. A little extra attention from the right teachers and support from family can lead to the development of advanced STEM skills and interests that have significant long-term potential to change the direction of a student's education. Read more about Golden's observations after talking with Josh and learning about his background and endeavors.

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