I am thinking about why I do this work to connect people with STEM/STEAM. I mean really, what is the point?
I have a sense that people really need opportunities to connect with possibilities, with potential, with ways to change their lives and the lives of their children. Helping people find those opportunities is important. There is often a sense of isolation within the STEM outreach community.
Even to put it that way, to call it a community, is to give a mistaken impression of people working together, known to each other and to the outside world. Too often, these are people laboring alone, or within small groups.
For this STEM outreach work to be effective, there has to be wider awareness of the efforts that are presently being put forth. To continually bring out new initiatives, new programs, is to leave the people who are already doing this work to feel at best unappreciated, and at worst, like they are wasting their time.
And that is what is most wrong with almost every new initiative that I have encountered. Instead of working to build on what already exists, there is an idea that the next shiny thing will be the answer.
What is needed are better connections between the people doing the outreach and the general community, and better ways for people to disseminate knowledge to teachers, to parents, to students.
So maybe I have both answered my question and given myself a direction for Agents of STEAM.