SEED started as a grassroots employee outreach program in 1998. Over ten years later, the program is thriving.
|At a SEED workshop in Mexico, Pedro Arango, a teacher in Mexico City, facilitates a brainstorming session. Teachers, students and volunteers collaborate in the SEED Learning While Doing process and create projects that address global issues like water quality, climate change and alternative energy.
What is Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (SEED)? It is the largest channel for volunteer outreach in Schlumberger. It provides educational resources through four programs: the School Network Program, Educational Programs, the Online Science Center and Learning Materials.
Ask Pedro Arango, a teacher at Escuela Salvador Garcidueñas in downtown Mexico City, about the benefits of SEED, and you’ll get a quick and sure response: “In one word, SEED to me is ‘support.’ Because of SEED, we have this room with computers, students, teachers and educational tools. I, personally, have experienced a different way of ‘teaching’ and have seen my students benefit and grow from it.”
José Ramon, a student at the school, adds, “SEED teaches us how to think in a new way, to experiment and find the solution to a problem.”
This “new way” of experiencing the world is mentioned by nearly every SEED participant. One common element in all SEED programs that accounts for this eye-opening effect is “active learning.”
Active learning helps students and teachers explore science in a fundamentally different way from a traditional curriculum. It encourages a process of inquiry in which participants raise questions and come up with their own answers. The approach is practical and results oriented, so the projects have meaning beyond the moment and beyond the classroom. SEED calls this approach Learning While Doing, and it is the basis of all its activities.
|SEED students work together using computers and other technology tools to solve problems in a practical way that complements their traditional science curriculum.
“I am excited to see how much my child has learned...I have seen a change in the studying practices and habits and a new way of learning different subjects while experimenting,” says Jesús Cerrillo, the father of a student at Secundaria Técnica 11, another SEED school in Mexico City. “We, as parents want to give our children the best in education, but sometimes we don’ have the necessary resources. SEED represents a wish fulfilled.”
Meeting Employee Needs
SEED has always been seen as a way of contributing to the lives of employees almost as much as to those of participating students and teachers. The program strives to create a path to greater meaning and motivation for employees who seek it.
Many employee-volunteers say that the program enriches them. “SEED has helped me grow not only as a professional but in the personal aspect, too,” says Alejandra Barrera Segura, SEED Mexico coordinator. “The best way to describe it is that I have learned when I thought I was teaching, and have received when I thought I was giving. This is the best part of my job.”
To learn more about SEED.