littleBits, the inventor of the electronic building block, today announced a partnership and new grant program with National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association. As part of the collaboration, littleBits will assist in the continuing development and deployment of National PTA’s multi-year, phased initiative called STEM + Families, which seeks to fill a critical gap by engaging parents and children together to nurture a child’s aptitude and enthusiasm for STEM.
According to research from Ernst & Young, only 36 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls opt to pursue STEM careers after high school. Yet, STEM jobs experience five times faster growth than other types of roles and garner 30 percent higher wages (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Together with National PTA, littleBits is poised to capture the imagination of kids at a critical time in their development -- ensuring that STEM is fun and accessible to everyone.
“littleBits has been very successful at reinventing education through play,” said Brad Schenker, senior director, education, at littleBits. “Today, more than 20,000 schools, libraries, home schools, and makerspaces have incorporated littleBits’ education products. Up to 40 percent of the kids using these kits are girls, which is four times the expected number. We’re excited for the opportunity to work with National PTA to support families and kids at home and at school.”
In addition to being a contributing partner in the STEM + Families program through the 2018-2019 school year, littleBits will contribute more than $100,000 in STEM kits for integration into more than 25 local PTA events. The goal is to help engage families in hands-on STEM learning, educate families about STEM careers, empower families to support their children’s success in STEM, and connect families and students to STEM enrichment opportunities.
“To bridge the STEM gap, we must foster students’ passion for STEM subjects and help them build the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue STEM degrees and career opportunities. The best way to do this is to get families involved. We know that families play a critical role in children’s academic success and have the biggest influence on children’s educational and career decisions,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We are pleased to have littleBits join our STEM + Families initiative and are grateful for the company’s support of our efforts to engage families in STEM education.”
STEM + Families is focused on engaging entire families in STEM experiences at school, at home, in the community and with digital learning environments to support students’ success in STEM. The goal of the initiative is to spark an interest in STEM education, inspire families and communities to explore STEM education and career opportunities, and engage family members in shared learning experiences.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.
littleBits is the New York-based education startup that invented the electronic building block. These magnetic “Bits” snap together to turn ideas into inventions, transforming the way kids learn so they can grow up to be tomorrow’s changemakers -- no matter their age, gender, race, nationality, or ability. Up to 40 percent of the kids using littleBits kits are girls, which is four times the industry average.
littleBits was founded in September 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, an engineer and interactive artist. An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, Ayah’s TED talk: “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep and Teach” about littleBits has garnered more than one million views. littleBits, itself, has won more than 150 awards in tech, education, and toys -- including The Toy Association’s 2018 Creative Toy of the Year, Common Sense Education’s “2018 Top Pick for Learning,” CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch,” and one of CNBC’s “Next List.” A STEAM leader at home and in the classroom, littleBits has sold millions of kits in over 70 countries.
For more information, please visit www.littleBits.com.