Arrow Electronics Helps Asia Pacific Employees Teach Their Children STEM Skills
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Arrow Electronics is making it both easy and fun for employees in its Asia Pacific region to teach their children how to use technology to solve problems. Through the “Little Innovators” program, the company supplies employees with STEM toys produced by Arrow customers. The program encourages employees to explore engineering, technology and other STEM disciplines with their children, while providing important user feedback for product development.
Twenty employees from all over the region have participated in the program over the past three years. The toys their children experimented with ranged from robots to smart technology kits and were distributed based on the age of the child and the technical background of the employee.
This year, Little Innovators participants experimented with robot kits provided by Arrow collaborator UBTECH Robotics. With help from their parents, they learned how to build the bots and program a variety of actions.
Singapore-based account manager Joanne Chua, mother to a 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, used the kits to stretch the comfort zone of her kids beyond what they typically learn in school.
“It is critical for kids to learn more than they are supposed to outside of the classroom. It provides good exposure and enrichment for the children as they broaden their horizons and experience,” said Chua.
In Hong Kong, employees and their kids participated in a mini-bot competition, using block-based programming to navigate their bots.
“I was impressed at how quickly my eight-year-old picked up many of the STEM principles to maneuver the bots. Being unafraid to use technology to solve problems will certainly help in his future,” said Jocelyn Lau, a senior manager for business programs and operation in Arrow’s Hong Kong office.
A longtime supporter of STEM education efforts, Arrow believes that innovation can be taught and cultivated. The company supported 80,000 students through STEM-related programs in 2020.
Studies have shown that parents play an important role in motivating students to pursue STEM coursework. A University Virginia study of parents of 10th and 11th graders found that those who conveyed the importance of math and science courses to their children in high school made a lasting impact on their interest in STEM fields years down the road.