On Monday, Jan. 7, members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) education team will once again travel to Las Vegas to attend the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES®) as part of their curriculum development process.
CES is “the largest and most influential technology event on the planet.” Annual attendance at the conference is an integral part of our education team’s intensive research efforts and informs the development of a new Camp Invention® curriculum each year.
Camp Invention is one of eight different hands-on STEM programs offered by NIHF, ranging from PreK to professional development. “Given the range of programs we develop and audiences we reach, we must infuse our curricula with cutting-edge technology and innovation, so we attend a wide variety of STEM-oriented conferences and trade shows to glean these insights,” Alaina Rutledge, NIHF VP of Educational Research and Development said.
At CES, the impact and influence of our Inductees is profound. We see how Nick Holonyak’s invention of LEDs, Chuck Hull’s invention of stereolithography (the technology of 3D printing), Esther Takeuchi’s invention of lithium/silver vanadium oxide (Li/SVO) battery technology, and Jim West and Gerhard Sessler’s invention of the electret microphone serve as key elements in thousands of products that have gone to market. This is a prime example of how NIHF Inductees harness the collective power of STEM and intellectual property to lay the stepping stones of innovation that progress the sciences and useful arts.
As we develop programs that empower children to develop 21st-century skills, we need to have our finger on the pulse of today. According to Forbes, the skills of the future workforce need to promote innovation to drive economic growth. This includes attributes that children naturally practice such as creativity, curiosity, empathy and adaptability. Because the workforce of the future benefits from experience and skills in data literacy and tech savviness, these are two areas we infuse throughout our programming.
The NIHF education team is consistently working to give children an authentic innovation experience. Pitching one’s ideas is a key element in bringing an invention to market. Observing the pitching sessions at CES empowers our team to create novel prompts and questions that will ultimately prepare youth to pitch on a stage like the one we see at CES. In Elevate™, our all new 2020 Camp Invention program, we have integrated pitching directly into our Design Thinking Project™ module. Here, each participant delivers a 30-second pitch about their invention and then receives a mock “deal” from an investor.
An equally important ingredient to creating our innovative STEM curricula comes in the form of our Inductee integration. Not only do our world-changing Inductees provide inspiration, but some even help to develop activities, and their inventions and invention journeys influence the program modules themselves.
According to Krissy Hostetler, NIHF Education Team Specialist, our Inductee integration is crucial to inspiring the next generation of innovators and is what makes NIHF’s STEM programming novel, authentic and transferrable.
“Because we have this relationship with our Inductees, they inspire our Camp curriculum,” Hostetler said. Research from Opportunity Insights shows how a child’s interest in STEM becomes stronger when they feel they have a role model in the STEM field.
Our Inductees play an important part in NIHF program curricula because they act as crucial STEM role models for children and encourage them to never stop exploring.
In addition to influencing our program activities, attending CES also allows us to identify innovative and engaging materials to include throughout our programs. For Kim Kerr, Senior Purchasing Manager at NIHF, this process is vital. “We attend shows like CES to learn about project trends and to build new vendor relationships,” Kerr said. “Building our vendor database is a key component to providing innovative items for our programs.”
Follow along with NIHF at CES
Follow along with NIHF while we’re at CES announcing our 2020 class of Inductees and learning about groundbreaking ideas to influence our STEM curricula by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter. For those able to attend CES, come visit us at the USPTO’s booth where our Virtual Yellow 1st & Ten® line exhibit will be on display in an interactive exhibit!