1. Carrie Tzou
  2. http://openstemresearch.org
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  5. https://techtales.online
  6. University of Washington Bothell
  1. Megan Bang
  2. Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development
  3. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  4. https://techtales.online
  5. University of Washington, University of Washington College of Education
  1. Philip Bell
  2. http://education.uw.edu/people/faculty/pbell
  3. Professor of Learning Sciences & Human Development
  4. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  5. https://techtales.online
  6. University of Washington College of Education
  1. Ashley Braun
  2. Digital and family learning librarian
  3. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  4. https://techtales.online
  5. Seattle Public Libraries
  1. Sara Marie Ortiz
  2. Native Education Program Manager
  3. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  4. https://techtales.online
  5. Highline Public Schools
  1. Daniel Rother
  2. TinkerTank Manager
  3. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  4. https://techtales.online
  5. Pacific Science Center
  1. Amy Twito
  2. Informal Learning Program Manager
  3. Robotics and e-textiles backpacks for family learning
  4. https://techtales.online
  5. Seattle Public Libraries
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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 09:01 p.m.

    Thanks for visiting our video! We are in our third year (of three) of our project and feel like we have learned so much from the families and partners who have been a part of this work. 

    As a starting point for discussion, here are some things we've been thinking about and would love your feedback on:

    1. Are you doing work with family engineering learning? We would love to know what you’re learning from it and in what contexts you’re doing it!
    2. What do your collaborations look like that span sectors, such as  libraries, universities, community organizations, and museums/science centers? What are problems of practice you’ve encountered, and how have you addressed them?
    3. How are you incorporating storytelling into your projects?

    We are excited to get the conversation going and learn from this exciting community!

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lesley Markham
    Amy Twito
  • Icon for: Timothy Foutz

    Timothy Foutz

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 10:17 a.m.

    I would love to get families involved in our engineering workshops (taught in the summers for elementary students) but do not get a high level of involvement.   The area is one of the highest poverty and high school drop out rates in the country.  Can you share how you were able to get families involved at this level?

  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:35 a.m.

    Sure. Our project is structured as a community-based design research partnership. Partner institutions include the Seattle Public Library, Highline School district, and the Pacific Science Center. Individual staff within those organizations have developed strong relationships with families directly or with community organizations that have strong relationships to families. For example, Seattle Public Library has a long-term partnership with a community housing organization—where families with unstable housing histories are provided with long-term housing. Their partnership allows us to run the 5 session program in the building where the families live—which has made a big difference in terms of family participation. Of course, it can still be a challenge for many of the families to make it to all five sessions—but most of them get quite excited about the opportunity and are able to make it work. If they miss a session or two, we assure them that it is alright and assign staff to help catch them up when they return. We have launch with a shared meal and have childcare services available for the really young children. Those pragmatics also matter. Many parents really respond positively to having a sustained opportunity to collaborate and learn with their children. Over time word about the program has also spread within the community (and helps with recruitment), so running multiple sessions within specific community settings has been important. This has also allowed us to help build instructional capacity within particular locations to offer the program and engage families in this way. 

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:36 a.m.

     Thanks for your great question! The key to involving families, for us, is established trust between families and community partners. We have been so lucky that both our library partners (and the community organizations they collaborate with) and our partners who serve Native American families have established relationships with families--and those community partners recruited families for the workshops. As word spreads across families, recruiting gets a bit easier. But I'll also let my co-presenters add to this answer!

  • Icon for: Kalie Sacco

    Kalie Sacco

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 06:03 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this video! I had a similar question to Timothy's. It looks like the project has had a lot of success by having community based organizations be part of the project team, particularly when it comes to spreading the word about the program to families. I wonder if you have encountered any challenges in "selling" the program or perhaps related topics (the importance of STEM careers, etc.) to family participants?

  • Icon for: Anne Leak

    Anne Leak

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 03:39 p.m.

    Thank you for the wonderful video. I have worked on some wonderful community-engagement projects including Family Ultimate Science Experience (FUSE) science nights at middle schools with the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships in Santa Barbara, CA. I have also worked on community-driven science projects in Kenya working with families, local schools, health clinics, and engineers without borders to design, build, and test water systems. What I am most interested with your project is how you incorporated the storytelling. How did you initiate storytelling early in the program and integrate it with the engineering projects? I think this is a wonderful way to bring people together and value diverse ideas across communities.

  • Icon for: Ashley Braun

    Ashley Braun

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 04:17 p.m.

    Hi Anne! Thank you for watching our video and for your question! We incorporate storytelling in a variety of ways in the workshops, both as a way to model and spark thinking about how participants tell stories. As a children's librarian, I often share a picture book read-aloud at the beginning of the workshop that has something to do with design, engineering, problem-solving, or community-building. Many of our sessions feature a Native oral storyteller who tells stories from Washington-area tribal legends and he speaks about the importance of oral storytelling and drawing your own meaning from story. Pacific Science Center invites scientists working in various fields to come and share their personal stories of their work, as well. We also have a host of activities that help to center storytelling throughout the workshops, but another very important component is the design prompts for the family projects. All of the prompts ask families to tell an important family story, either about a shared memory or experience or an imaginative story about the future. The work is then focused entirely on using materials to build out that shared family story. We are always thinking about ways to incorporate and center storytelling in engineering projects. Thank you so much for your question!

  • Icon for: Sara Marie Ortiz

    Sara Marie Ortiz

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 04:02 p.m.

    Thank you for the input and great questions on the project, all! We've been so thrilled to host Tech Tales in Highline Public Schools and one of the biggest and most important elements of our work in Highline is around engaging students and their families in meaningful ways all year long in our unique learning opportunities focused on our American Indian/Alaska Native learners. We do very focused and strategic outreach to all of our Native Education Program-enrolled families and targeted outreach at our host sites. Our outreach is very much specific to our American Indian/Alaska Native students and families and there's no direct shot to ensuring participation but the personal relationships our staff establishes with our students and families by way of our unique programming and learning opportunities has been key to our success.

  • Small default profile

    Megan Bang

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 04:12 p.m.

    I would add two important pieces. First our workshops focused on families stories and cultural practices. The word spreading happened in part because families experienced them in really positive ways. They were different than engineering and robotics are normatively presented. Second, we also had Native people involved in all aspects of the project. Not just as partnrs for outreach to families. There are Native people on our research and design teams and the facilitation team (including community storytellers). For example one of our lead scientists is a Native woman who held much of the technical programming expertise and faciltitated many of the workshops. This mattered for Native families to see a role model. Finally having Native people in all aspects of the project also helped mediated much of the rightful distrust of research. Research and researchers are not always in community best interest. The range of leadership and involvement in the project mattered for building trust.

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:55 p.m.

    Thank you Carrie, Phil and Sara for this rich video portrait. I had never used the heard the word "technology" associated with storytelling before but of course it makes perfect sense in this context (thanks for expanding my thinking!). The partners involved seem well chosen and complementary, were there any challenges in working out these relationships?

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Daniel Rother

    Daniel Rother

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 07:40 p.m.

    I'm glad we can broaden your thinking about technology and storytelling! Your questions about challenges with partnerships and relationships is a great question and one we have repeatedly found ourselves thinking about as well. I feel I can only answer for the Pacific Science Center on this particular question. I think some of the biggest challenges were in having both a common vision and finding common language for that vision. I think all of the partners have been incredibly excited about this project and that really helped it get going. Once we better understood each partners preconceived notions about equity-oriented family-based stem learning we were really able to rely on each other to bring our best strengths to the project and learn from each other. As we continued with the project and even still, we find interesting challenges in the language we use. It turns out that between our different institutions we were using terms very differently and occasionally misunderstanding each other because of the way we speak about the project. Ultimately it has been an interesting insight for me into the ways that everyone thinks about and approaches this type of work. As we have worked together for so long it really has enabled some amazing iterative design through having so many opinions in the room.

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:12 a.m.

    We also came at the work differently based on our professional / institutional histories. I remember early on our library partners were surprised that we were going to spend so much time co-designing the program experience together through a collaborative inquiry process—and that we were going to learn how to enact the program together over multiple iterations. The learning scientists were bringing a participatory design-based research approach to the work that was different from other program development models the other partners had experienced previously. I think we have learned to do that collaborative work quite well over the past few years across something like 20 enactments in various sites. But we needed to develop our shared capacity to do co-design (and the associated practices and arrangements)—and also develop the trusting relationships and collaborative practices that provide a foundation for that mode of work.

  • May 15, 2018 | 01:31 a.m.

    I enjoyed watching your video and learning about TechTales. As a researcher, I am fascinated by the qualitative data you have been able to collect from head-mounted videos cameras. What are you hoping to find out? Or perhaps the learners using those videos for their own storytelling? Curious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 01:52 a.m.

    Thanks for the great question Sherry! With the head mounted cameras, we are trying to document and understand, among other things, close movement of hands with materials during family building and coding time. It is difficult, with stationary cameras, to capture all of the movement of family members as they work on computers, intentionally select and discuss materials, and work in their boxes to build their dioramas. Along the way, consequential talk (around stories, coding/making/design practices, family identity practices) and movement happen in relation to materials. We are interested in how all of these interactions interact with family and cultural storytelling practices. We have experimented with syncing the head-mounted camera footage to the stationary cameras so that we can see what is happening in the big picture of family activity at the same time that we're seeing activity from the family member's point of view. We are still learning though! What are ways that you have productively used head-mounted video? Thank you for your question!

     

  • Icon for: Julia Plummer

    Julia Plummer

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 03:17 p.m.

    This is fascinating work, Carrie.  What are you finding in your data?  In particular, I am curious if you are finding that the materials influence the storytelling process (or if you can tell from your data).  Have you made changes to the design of your workshops over time to further facilitate and support the storytelling practices?

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:52 p.m.

    Thanks Julia! I guess I'll flip your question and say that we are finding that the stories influence families' work with the materials--and that this is one of our key findings. When we put storytelling at the center of the workshops, families innovate with the technology and materials to achieve aesthetic ends in order to tell their story. 

    As far as changes in the design, yes! Many changes to not only further support storytelling but to support the integration of stories with the technology. It is easy to have the technology "take over"--our urge to make it about learning how to do X, Y, and Z to code the robotics components is an easy script to fall into. What we have worked hard on is ways to make sure that pedagogically, we are always linking the stories to the learning, design thinking, and practices that are also goals of the project. 

    Thanks for the great questions!

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
    Julia Plummer
  • May 15, 2018 | 10:42 a.m.

    I have not used head-mounted video cameras before. In the InSPECT project we are in the early stages of capturing teams of students engaged in tinkering and hands-on scientific investigations using a combination of digital audio recorders on desks, cameras on tripods, and roaming researcher camera. Our plan is that when students use any online tools, their activity is also logged by the computer and/or screencasts capture their verbal explanations to online prompts.  Your project did remind me of Megan Luce, Shelley Goldman, and Tanner Vea's work at Stanford with family science on the beach when cameras were strapped to adults and kids. You can find more in their Science Education paper "Designing for Family Science Explorations Anytime, Anywhere." The quality of digital videos and the storage capabilities of modern cameras these days are just awesome. Thanks for sharing your impressive work.

  • Small default profile

    Linda Kekelis

    Researcher
    May 15, 2018 | 01:05 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your work. I appreciated the father's comment about his surprise (and delight) to find one program for art and technology and families in one place and over time. You seem to have designed so many program elements to make the program accessible--including meals and childcare, holding programs where families are, partnering with those who are members of the communities you are supporting, etc. I like the aspirational approach--5 sessions--and making allowances if a family misses a session and needs support to catch up. 

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Ashley Braun

    Ashley Braun

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:56 p.m.

    Thanks for your kind comments, Linda! We took a lot of time developing these supports knowing that folks are busy. Libraries in general are moving more toward spending time outside of the physical branches, knowing that there are many seen and unseen barriers that keep people from using library services. The most crucial piece is definitely the community relationships and we've been so fortunate to have solid, trusting partnerships behind this project. 

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 03:43 p.m.

    Great to read these comments. I am curious about some of the details. Did the families come for only one session to do the project or if not, how many sessions did it take? What have you learned about the choke points in terms of families being about to do the engineering? Are you seeing any trends in the family dynamics? Who are the drivers? The kids or the grown-ups? Are there any dynamics where the males are taking the lead or rather, the females are taking the back seat?

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:48 p.m.

    These are great questions! Most families come for all 5 sessions-the workshops are designed to build on one another and culminate in a presentation/celebration at the end. That said, 5 weeks is a big time commitment for families, and we do have families who skip a session and we always support them in coming back. 

    We have a parent meeting at the beginning of the first workshop session to be explicit about the goals of the workshop centering around family learning (rather than just youth learning). We have found that many parents who come to the workshops are, themselves, interested in learning how to code. Over the course of the 5 weeks, we find family members taking on different roles and organizing themselves in different configurations. We have found parents taking the lead on organizing the work, but sometimes kids take the lead. We have many situations where it is a mom with kids at the workshop--and mom and kids work together to build and code. So to answer your question, we are documenting the different ways that families use their existing practices of decision-making, or organizing--which does include someone taking the lead one week who may not take the lead the next week. 

    As far as your question about males vs females taking the back seat or lead, we at first were very aware of giving the kids "equal time" in front of the computers--until we realized the unique ways that all family members were contributing to their projects, and learned to see all of those ways of making and doing as valuable. 

    Thanks for the great questions!

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 05:04 p.m.

    Dan and Phil, thanks for your further insights on what strategies and factors have led to the partnerships' success. It's great to hear about the library partners' "surprise" and that the participatory design-based research approach has worked here (too!)

  • Icon for: Lesley Markham

    Lesley Markham

    Informal Educator
    May 16, 2018 | 11:48 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project! It looks very interesting. Do you have a project website or research papers/reports that you can share links to please?

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:11 p.m.

    Thanks, Lesley, for watching our video! Yes--you can visit our website here. Under "facilitator resources", you can see our curriculum materials. There is also a research poster on the site as well. Research papers ad book chapter forthcoming! 

    Carrie

     

  • May 16, 2018 | 06:56 p.m.

    I love this project and the way it engages families in expressing and sharing their stories in these community spaces. 

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Ashley Braun

    Ashley Braun

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 07:03 p.m.

    Thanks so much for watching, Bridget!

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 07:36 p.m.

    Thanks Carrie for sharing so much detail. So what are thinking of next considering you are in year 3. Are you hoping to do scale up or are you considering digging deeper with studying the impact on the families? I guess you can do both, but what is more urgent for your team?

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 10:10 p.m.

    Great question Preeti! We are currently doing close analysis of family learning and engagement during workshops. At the same time, we are thinking about scaling to other library systems and community settings! We hope that we can keep the work going!

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Maureen Callanan

    Maureen Callanan

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 06:45 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful project!  I'm also very interested in the link between stories and STEM.  We are working with narrative and science with young children and families in a museum setting, and also as part of a collaborative project on astronomy (My Sky Tonight).  You've got an impressive collaborative team!  Would you say that your focus on stories has helped diverse families to feel more connection to STEM ideas and practices?  

  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 07:06 p.m.

    Hi Maureen! Thanks for the question and for the link to your project video. It was great to learn more about that crucial work you are doing. We are coming to better understand the multifaceted roles for storytelling in our work. It is a central design / focusing practice for our programs. This design move leverages the storytelling practices of the families and their communities (Indigenous and non-Indigenous, in somewhat different ways) and connects directly to the professional expertise of the librarians serving as facilitators—so that storytelling itself can be better understood by the families. Having families design a robotic or e-textile that aestetically depicts a consequential story provides a strong platform for them engage in the STEM / computing practices being introduced — and for other STEM / computing practices they bring with them culturally. They are often re-living shared memories or re-generating community stories — providing richly contextual design goals for the ART/STEM design work. We have found that centering the design on stories also leads families to cherish the computational pieces of art that they end up producing—it becomes a signifier of their personal or community history—which is very powerful. I also wonder if my colleagues see other aspects of story-work playing out.

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2018 | 08:29 a.m.

    Thank you for digging deeper on some of the specifics of the storytelling pieces, Phil. In the process of building bridges to the science communication community CAISE is learning that storytelling is a "strategy" that is being experimented with and applied, at least in on individual, personal basis in programs like Story Collider, e.g. As yet I don't know if partnerships with libraries and librarians has been on SciComm folks' radar, but your inspiring work/video makes me think there is an unexplored potential there, especially when families are an audience. And again, the idea of storytelling as a technology could be an entry point... Thanks and well done!

     

     
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    Sara Marie Ortiz
  • May 19, 2018 | 11:56 a.m.

    I agree with Jamie's observation above, in general and on storytelling more specifically.  It is exciting to see this kind of effort.  Somehow I feel a geographical kinship to the project today, since I am in Spokane for daughter's graduation, though I know two very different parts of the state.  I am interested in trying to adopt some of these strategies on our project - different structure, but many similar goals.

  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 12:02 p.m.

    Congratulations on your daughter's graduation, Eric! That's awesome. It is great to hear that you find the approach helpful. Let's us know if you want to talk through any of the details. I look forward to learning more about what you have been up to recently. 

  • Icon for: Comas Haynes

    Comas Haynes

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 19, 2018 | 04:53 p.m.

    Excellent concept! A holistic approach that has great community reach through the family unit.

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