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Education

AISD Students Get Hands-On Science and Engineering Training at New Tech Facility

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News
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Natl. Instruments systems engineer and Anderson High School mentor Alex Drane talks with 17-year-old John Hernandez during the the AISD Applied Technology Center ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Austin Independent School District is giving more North Austin students an opportunity to take science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses. AISD unveiled Tuesday the Applied Technology Center at Anderson High School, and high school students from across North Austin will have access to the facility.

The new center has different rooms where students can take engineering, manufacturing and computer science classes. 

They can also participate in Anderson’s nationally recognized robotics program. Austin School Board member Julie Cowan represents Northwest Austin.

“This is not a dilapidated building filled with drill-and-kill worksheets. This facility and learning that has already begun to take place in it illustrate cutting-edge instructional facilities filled with state-of-the-art equipment that some private companies only dream of," Cowan says.

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Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News
Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz prepares to take the official ribbon-cutting scissors delivered to him by a robot created by the ausTIN CANS 2158 robotics teams.

High school students from across North and East Austin public schools can take classes here. Under new graduation requirements set by the state, AISD must offer courses that allow students to fulfill one of five endorsements – including STEM. Instead of offering those courses at all schools, Austin ISD will bus students from their local school to Anderson for these courses.

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Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News
Anderson HS engineering students (L to R) Claire Rowan, Clay Mullins, Zac Schulwolf, and Nils Einfeldt demonstrate a robot during the Applied Technology Center ribbon-cutting ceremony.

John Sperry teaches at the technology center. He says that when it comes to learning math and science, students can no longer just use books and tests to learn. They need "hands-on application, using real tools and taking on important challenges," he says.

The district has a similar technology center at Akins High School in South Austin.

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