Knowledge and Inspiration Abundant at OC STEAM Fest
As spring passes by, kids are getting more and more excited about the coming summer holiday. They’ll get to go on adventures with their friends, play video games for hours on end, and they won’t have to learn anything for the next few months.
Educators have pondered the question for decades upon decades, and we’ve had the same one on our minds: Why can’t learning be something kids look forward to? Why does uncovering new knowledge end up being uninteresting for so many children?
There are a lot of varying answers, but a short and simple one is the fact that the lessons aren’t always structured in an intriguing and effective way. Furthermore, the people giving them might not be great at relaying the information.
Considering that the key to getting kids to love learning is as straightforward as fascinating lessons with captivating teachers, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation decided that they needed to dedicate their energy and resources to offer that opportunity.
The result of their efforts took the form of the OC STEAM Fest.
The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, and this year’s attendees will enjoy the largest celebration of creativity, ingenuity and education the foundation’s ever offered.
STEAM Fest will be kicking off on April 27 this year, and it’ll all be going down at the Orange County Great Park, located in Irvine. People will be able to stick around between 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., although we recommend coming earlier for better parking.
Presale tickets, which are available online, are $10 for children aged 4 to 17, while children under three and adults get free admission. You can still get tickets at the event, although they will run you $15 if you wait until then.
If you’re bummed about admission prices, just remember that the event proceeds are going directly toward schools in the Irvine Unified School District. So, if you’re a local with kids in a wonderful Irvine public school, you don’t really lose money at all.
We’ve been talking about this event as an educational experience, but if you look at all the activities being offered, it’d be surprising if kids realize they’re learning.
Activities include everything from live performances to human foosball, spin art, LEGO engineering, a prehistoric experience called Dino Encounters, and many more.
There are also some intriguing demonstrations that the whole family will want to check out. For starters, kids will get the chance to work on building their very own mini robots, along with getting to watch bigger creations live and in action.
They’ll also get to experience one of the most exciting technological phenomena to take the world by storm over the past few years: virtual reality.
That’s right, courtesy of EON Reality, guests will get to step into the immersive and detailed digital realm that VR technology has made possible and accessible.
Giving kids the chance to interact with and learn about this technology in person does more than offer a new type of game to play. When we let young people work with new technology, they might end up being inspired to help create the descendants.
It’s this exact mission that inspired EON Reality to become a major sponsor of STEAM Fest and offer their technologies to be demonstrated for curious youths.
It makes even more sense when you learn that this company, which has a presence all over the world, is headquartered right here in Irvine. Their work with STEAM, then, is as much about community empowerment as it is about education.
A representative of EON said as much when speaking to a crowd gathered at the event during a previous year:
“We love Irvine, and our company … is focused on training and education, so being part of STEAM Fest is something that means a lot to us.”
“It means a lot that we can give students, parents, children and all [other] people a chance to have an experience that has them thinking ‘Man, I wish I did that when I was in school.’”
Their commitment to spreading knowledge goes deep: If you check out the EON Reality website and read their company mission, they state the following:
“We believe that knowledge is a Human Right, and it’s out goal to make knowledge available, affordable and accessible for every human on the planet.”
It’s a tall order, but the people at EON believe that they’ve been developing the tools that’ll make it happen.
As part of their effort, they’ve started a nonprofit called EON Reality Education, which focuses on promoting AVR (Augmented/Virtual Reality) education and research and advancing efforts in that direction.
They have four arms of this operation: Classroom 3.0, Creator AVR, VR Information Academy and EON Learn for Life.
To keep it short, Classroom 3.0 is an initiative to use the immersive technologies the company makes to add an expanded visual component to the standard in-school learning process.
The intended effect of this is to allow the brain to save energy it would normally spend toward creating mental images to complement words being spoken during a lesson, thus allowing them to take in the lesson more effectively.
Creator AVR, a complement to Classroom 3.0, gives teachers the chance to create an experience-based lesson plan that utilizes 3D models along with video and audio.
Tying in more directly to AVR itself, the VR Information Academy is a venture crafted to teach students the nuances and processes involved in this expanding technology with a hands-on approach.
Lastly, the mission of EON Learn for Life is to help those who need it most around the world to enter the job market. They’ll accomplish this by utilizing developments made as a result of Classroom 3.0 and VRIA.
If you want to learn more about EON’s work and support their goal to teach the world, along with educating yourself in the process, then be sure to stop by the OC STEAM Fest! Take the kids, bring some friends and get everybody in on the fun of knowledge!