PBS Digital Innovator 2017

Paul Podraza

Paul Podraza Florida
  • Osceola School District - Special Programs
  • Kissimmee, Florida

Paul says “the first thing you hear when a student steps into my classroom is a gasp of excitement and a big ‘Whoa! Look at that!’"  Then the lights cut off, they hear a ”news report” about an impending hurricane, thunder rolls, and smoke fills the room.  As the lights come back on, the students are tasked to fix the problems that happened as a result of the “hurricane.”  Paul’s extraordinary STEM classroom is a 45-foot Mobile STEM Lab (a bus), geared towards the 4,000 5th graders in his county’s 28 Title 1 schools.  Paul explains, “This low-barrier, high-ceiling, self-directed experience connects students to the future by introducing them to STEM careers they never knew existed.”

Fun fact: Paul once worked as a camera assistant at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Follow Paul on Twitter, @TeacherPaulP.