From June 8th to 10th, the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives participated in a virtual interactive expo with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The event had as its goal to promote networking between STEM educators and DOE teachers. The NYCDOE launched the Making Connections: Thriving in a Digital World conference using Virbela a 3D interactive virtual reality platform. Virbela is the first virtual medium to integrate remote collaboration into an immersive 3D environment where organizations can meet, host events, and hold classes that replicates real world dynamics and social interactions.
Laura Winter, Director of Special Projects in the STEM Department at NYCDOE, stated, “We were so pleased with the STEM Conference. Our teachers, administrators and STEM partners all echoed how much they enjoyed the rich content of the sessions and panels, the ability to connect with one another in the Expo Hall and the interactivity that the Virbela platform provided. Folks had fun and learned a lot too! It doesn’t get much better than that!!”
“Educators must all adapt to the changing environment and the instructional aspects must follow suit. Various programs and organizations are taking the necessary steps to ensure students are engaged and comprehending the material in creative and appealing ways. DDC STEAM strives to provide programming and curricula to engage young people in the worlds of architecture, engineering, and construction management. This was an opportunity to showcase DDC STEAM’s many programs ranging from the ACE Mentor Program, DDC High School Summer Internship Program, the Young Engineers Program, Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Construction and Engineering, and Meet the Builder, among others,” stated Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives, Lee Llambelis.
Over a span of three days, more than 200 NYCDOE staff, DDC STEAM and other STEM organizations created digital booths showcasing information on their respective programs, curricula, and resources. The conference celebrated and magnified ingenuity in remote and blended STEM education. NYCDOE teachers and administrators were able to attend discussion panels highlighting inspiring current and future STEM education initiatives. Among the partners were the NYC Department of Environmental Protection highlighting their new NYC Water Virtual tours, STEM from Dance showcased their Girls Rise Up program that explores incorporating technology into dances performances, and the DNA Learning Center presented their Urban Barcode Research mentorship program for high school students interested in the studies of biodiversity using DNA technology to name a few. Each partner introduced attendees to innovative programs they are launching virtually and in-person to expand the learning platform of today’s students.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc