Dot Foods donates 3D printers to 13 area school districts

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MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — Dot Foods in Mount Sterling recently donated 3D printers to 13 area school districts as part of the company’s Focus on STEM, a new program designed to give west-central Illinois school districts the tools and education needed to create science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

Dot Foods employees and representatives from the Learning Technology Center of Illinois trained teachers on Nov. 14 on how to access 3D designs, modify existing models or create original designs and build/print them with the 3D printer during Dot’s third of five STEM program training events at Dot Foods in Mount Sterling.

The 13 school districts were:

  • Brown County Middle School, Mount Sterling
  • St. Mary School, Mount Sterling
  • St. Peter School, Quincy
  • Quincy Junior High School
  • Pikeland CUSD 10, Pittsfield
  • Central CUSD 3, Camp Point
  • Beardstown High School
  • Payson Seymour High School
  • Griggsville-Perry Elementary and Griggsville-Perry High School
  • Meredosia-Chambersburg High School
  • Southeastern High School, Augusta
  • Franklin School District
  • Dallas City School District

Dot launched its Focus on STEM program in May 2023 with the Learning Technology Center of Illinois (LTC), a statewide program that supports all public K-12 districts, schools and educators through technology initiatives, services and professional learning opportunities. Dot is working with LTC to facilitate five teacher training sessions and will provide grants to participating school districts to help them develop their STEM programs.

LTC has also recognized Dot Foods with its 2023 LTC Awards, which recognizes PK-12 initiatives and organizations for their outstanding contributions to empowering educational change through technology.

Dot’s charitable group spent a year researching how it could best support STEM education. The resounding response from area schools was the need for funding to buy supplies and access to STEM education training for their teachers. In response, Dot developed its Focus on STEM program to provide those essentials for schools to build their own STEM programs, including an initial investment of approximately $50,000 in grants as the program launched in May 2023 with $100,000 in grants slated for the 2023-24 school year alone.

LEGO Education Professional Development led the first training session last May. The interactive session demonstrated how LEGO can help teachers bring computer science learning to their classrooms. Through the LEGO system, students learn to work collaboratively and solve problems creatively, all while “playing” with a familiar set of tools that are easy to manage.

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