Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 09:14 a.m.

    This video was very engaging. As I watched, I was wondering if there are resources available for those who want to start a similar program in their own community. Also, as the program migrates to being completely online, what challenges are anticipated and how will those being addressed?

  • Icon for: Mariana Rutigliano

    Mariana Rutigliano

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 06:40 p.m.

    Hi Sean! Thank you for watching and for the great questions. Currently we are training schools, teachers, parents, and other educational groups on our tools and curriculum. Participants are prepared to facilitate project based learning, how to foster a growth mindset and make questions that encourage problem solving. They also experience one of our design challenges, how to create and use accounts on the platform, and the value of connecting groups of learners directly with engineers who will volunteer their time to mentor projects digitally. As for migrating to an online program, we anticipate there being some growing pains around recruiting mentors (professional engineers) and managing their experience with potential periods of lower student activity. We encourage you to apply in our educator form available at: https://www.curiositymachine.org/educator/

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:20 a.m.

    Thank you, Mariana. The training sounds extensive, which is great! When a new site starts, are there one or two things that you really want to make sure the site gets right? Things that are critical for success?

  • Small default profile

    Tammy Roughton

    Guest
    May 11, 2015 | 01:20 p.m.

    I loved this video. I am a principal of a school in Southern California down in Perris, CA. I would love to start a program like this at my school. How did you get the engineers to donate their time?

  • Icon for: Mariana Rutigliano

    Mariana Rutigliano

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 06:41 p.m.

    Hello Tammy! We do our best to provide multiple ways for engineers to work with us (http://iridescentlearning.org/programs/scientis...) based on their time and interests, and work with a range of engineers (undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals). For this study, we developed an accredited course for engineering students, and with corporate partners, we’ve developed the following level of engagement shared in the link above….plus a lot of corporations have volunteering programs that make it easy to pitch this program. More than that though, we’ve consistently found that engineers are generally interested in working more closely with their communities and sharing what they do with students. We pair volunteer mentors with groups of students working on CuriosityMachine.org to make sure that every student using the platform benefits from feedback and collaboration with a dedicated and interested engineer.

  • Icon for: Davida Fischman

    Davida Fischman

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 02:10 p.m.

    What a great program! It seems that a large part of the success of this program stems from the ongoing mentoring relationship between the engineers and scientists and the families. Will this aspect of the program continue in its online incarnation? How will it be supported? If not, how do you envision the work continuing?

    Related to the former question, are there special tools or materials needed for the projects? If so, how do you envision that being handled?

  • Icon for: Mariana Rutigliano

    Mariana Rutigliano

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 06:44 p.m.

    Hi Davida, thanks for the thoughtful questions. The mentoring relationship will continue in the online incarnation — a very important piece of our work is parent engagement. We extensively train parents on how to use the online platform more effectively in Family Nights at the schools, or at home. We are also improving mentor-student relationships, by pairing mentors more directly with a specific program/group of builders according to their interests and location. By pairing them with this virtual group, we’re hoping to carry over that same sense of ownership from the in-person programs. We have a dedicated community engagement team who will work to make the virtual environment and the in-person building as powerful as possible.
    Regarding materials, every project is designed to be built with really simple low-cost materials that can be found around the home or at a grocery store — things like straws, paperclips, rubberbands, tape, scrap cardboard. We provide a list of materials for each project, and let users recommend their own additions or changes to those lists (for instance, if you can’t find a small dowel, you can use a pencil etc.).

  • Small default profile

    Cynthia Berger

    Guest
    May 12, 2015 | 10:09 a.m.

    Engaging video, and what a creative approach, getting parents involved! You mention national reach; how are you getting the word out about your curriculum?

  • Icon for: Mariana Rutigliano

    Mariana Rutigliano

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 12:29 p.m.

    Hi Cynthia, thank you!

    We are expanding through partnerships. Currently, we are in Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Indiana, St Louis and counting! The www.curiositymachine.org platform is the house for our curriculum, connection with mentors and has the steps for those who want to get involved.

  • Small default profile

    Cynthia Berger

    Guest
    May 12, 2015 | 10:10 a.m.

    Engaging video, and what a creative approach, getting parents involved! You mention national reach; how are you getting the word out about your curriculum?

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:27 p.m.

    I especially liked that one helicopter design with the propeller below and two balloons above. ;-)

    I am happy to see that parents are involved with their children and wonder what you’ve learned about how families engage together, how to foster productive family collaboration, and what healthy family collaboration looks like. That would be something really interesting (and important) to add to what we know about fostering the learning of all those so-called 21st century skills.

    I wonder, too, what the parents get from it. I assume that some are English-language learners, and I wonder how this might help them. Some, too, might feel estranged from the dominant culture and the kinds of high-fallutin things those with more money engage in. I wonder if parent involvement also makes them feel like and engage more as citizens (whether they are or not) or whether it helps some gain confidence to move forward with their own education and/or careers/job possibilities. I wonder, too, what it might take to design for that and whether you’ve thought about it. I’m thinking that what you’ve created has wonderful affordances for moving parents forward as well as their children.

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:31 p.m.

    I think the fact that you’ve had some families in for five years means that you can start to get a handle on all kinds of things in addition to those I listed from interviews, and then, you could investigate more systematicly after you had some idea what the effects might be.

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:29 p.m.

    I also wonder what you are teaching your mentors/facilitators about helping participants learn from their experiences. I think you and I talked once about the literature on learning from design activities (disclaimer; it is something I am expert on and have written about). I hope you are using that literature to inform what you are doing. Great project!!!

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:33 p.m.

    And one more thing. ;-) (You are keeping me thinking, and that’s really good.) I wonder what you’ve learned from literature on learning communities that you are putting into place and what you’ve learned putting those ideas into place. There are others who are trying to create family learning communities and to learn about family learning, and they might be able to learn a lot from your experiences.

  • Icon for: Mariana Rutigliano

    Mariana Rutigliano

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 02:13 p.m.

    Hello Janet,
    thanks so much for all your comments. It made me think a lot too!
    We should discuss more in depth at some point, but generally we find that encouraging parents to feel comfortable with saying “I don’t know, let’s find out!” is a huge step in healthy collaboration, fostering both persistence and team work, and modeling a growth mindset/life-long learning. You should check our research page that lists the impact on the parents, but the number we are most proud of is that 90% of low income parents continue doing hands-on projects at home with their children after participating in our programs, which is a huge change in behavior. http://iridescentlearning.org/be-a-scientist/

  • Icon for: Arthur Lopez

    Arthur Lopez

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 08:12 p.m.

    Hi Mariana. I am one of the pilot instructors for the College Board’s pilot AP Computer Science Principles course and I teach Computer Science in a high school that has a similar school environment as shown on the video. I also am a member of CalTAC, the California Teachers Advisory Council for STEM: http://goo.gl/BfnFSJ; we advise the California Council of Science and Technology on educational initiatives for public education for the state. I am really impressed with your work; the Computer Science Principles course is a project that is also funded by the NSF and one of the main goals is to broaden participation by underrepresented groups such as young women and ethnically diverse students into Computer Science. I have many of the same problems that you describe and am trying to address in these communities, and I am inspired to follow your lead and research project to seek out Computer Science professionals that are willing to mentor the community, including both parents and students in this field. Can you describe to me what was most challenging in terms of starting your program? Was it outreach to the professionals, school districts, communities in initially establishing the programs? I also am wondering about the data on students’ improvement in their STEM courses; for example, what aspect had the most impact on improving their abilities to understand science concepts; I have so many questions because I really want to do what you are doing but with Computer Science! I am hoping that you would be willing to talk to me about starting a similar program with Computer Science in San Diego. As someone that grew up in a similar environment as the children in your video, I find it incredibly empowering that you have gathered STEM professionals to reach out and help these under served communities. I will let my colleagues on the council know about your work as we continue to strive to improve the quality of STEM education in the state of California and advise them to look at your program; I hope you may have time to talk to us and describe your work. I congratulate you on a project has such a positive impact on the STEM education of the children of low-income and under served populations!

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