Circuit Bending Workshop for T.A.C.O. Team Mentors, 27 Jan 2011




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Published on Jan 27, 2011

T.A.C.O. = Technology and Community Outreach. We are developing circuit bending workshops and a guidebook for kids, especially Spanish-speakers and girls. We would like to make a mobile lab out of a fixed up taco truck (preferably with nice rims, bagged, etc) and do these workshops in diverse areas of Los Angeles and Orange County.

Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) culture uses available, inexpensive materials to shape personal cultural identity by allowing the individual to create what is seen to be missing in the mainstream. For under-represented groups, the ability to use technologies in novel and innovative ways to build and present these cultural identities can be a significant motivator for learning STEM concepts and a means for increasing feelings of empowerment, self-esteem, and love of learning. This research will examine the role that novel informal learning experiences can play in encouraging participation for underrepresented groups in STEM.

There are three specific goals of this work. First, we will develop educational curricula and materials that engage broader participation at every level of computing and other STEM related disciplines. Second, we will use this curriculum to prepare the next generation of leaders to approach human challenges through creative technical solutions. Finally, we will tie STEM educational activities into research activities. We believe this close connection will encourage middle school and undergraduate students to pursue advanced education in STEM disciplines and will aid in the creation of innovative curricula.

We will accomplish these goals through the design, implementation, and evaluation of two activities:

* a series of hands-on workshops introducing STEM through D.I.Y to middle-school aged children in underrepresented and low income Latino communities.

* involvement of undergraduate students with similar cultural backgrounds as mentors and workshop assistants as part of research and outreach activities.

This project team is led by Garnet Hertz, and includes Naiyu, Noelia, Brenda, Diana, Rachel, Kellie and Chen-yu.

Faculty supporters at UC Irvine include Gillian Hayes (Informatics) and Joseph L. Mahoney (Education).


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