Icon for: Ron Eglash

RON EGLASH

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Public Discussion
  • May 13, 2018 | 03:27 p.m.

    Have always enjoyed your cutting-edge ethnomathematics work, Ron, and this project is well done!

  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:51 a.m.

    This is a fascinating approach to STEM.  What plans do you have for educating various audiences in methods of how to do this?  Potential audience are  broad and could include educators, future educators and STEM program leaders.

  • Icon for: Ron Eglash

    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:29 p.m.

    Thanks Alan. Our website at https://csdt.rpi.edu/ has tutorials, lesson plans etc. Of course those are tools we have already created and vetted. If folks want to create their own generative STEM activities, whether using our software and gadgets or a different repertoire, I would recommend reading some of our publications at https://csdt.rpi.edu/publications. There we go over the process. Establishing a respectful relation with native american elders and educators; African American community activists etc. is absolutely fundamental, and it can take some trial and error to get it right. But it is immensely rewarding to carry out STEM in ways that are raising respect for indigenous knowledge, rather than detracting from it.

     
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    Alan Peterfreund
  • Icon for: Angie Kalthoff

    Angie Kalthoff

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:57 p.m.

    I think this is an interesting approach to bringing STEM education to students and educators while making a real-life connection. I am wondering which part of the school day you see this best connecting with and your plans to make this curriculum and training available for all schools?

  • Icon for: Ron Eglash

    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:19 p.m.

    Great question Angie. You can get the lesson plans for various CSDTs from the "teaching materials" section of the websites at https://csdt.rpi.edu. For example, here is a month-long series of in-school lessons for bringing STEM into a cosmetology class:

    https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/cornrowcurves/teaching-coscomputing.html

    Here are two, 2-hour sessions for a summer camp with native american students:

    https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/quilting/teaching-anishinaabe.html

    And a quick 45 minute class, for anywhere from 1 to 3 days, using our "rhythm wheels" software to teach least common multiple: 

    https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/rhythmwheels/teaching.html

    Hope those examples answer the question -- its really quite a large range of possibilities!

     

  • Icon for: Angie Kalthoff

    Angie Kalthoff

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 09:14 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing the links. By looking through the projects I have a better understanding of your project. As a current educator, when I would like to implement a new curriculum, I need to propose the projects and show the connection to standards students are required to learn. At the time of my proposal, I also show how projects meet the CSTA standards and push students to think computationally. Do you have a portion of your project that shows these types of connections? 

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    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:41 p.m.

    Yes, I think the best resource are the teacher's guide and workbook our lead developer James Davis is finishing up. He said if anyone has questions or feedback for him he would be happy to receive it via email: <jamesdavis3004@gmail.com>. Here are the links to the current drafts:

    Teachers Guide: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oOQnzcGyCONBRkXKS_U8xSfAJi0SLcNsOF5bAV-Q8Uc/edit?usp=sharing

    Workbook: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1_OxSfGIosl5vL5B1B4o_jVtybfpSDhG6RNU6-gH62aU/edit?usp=sharing

     
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    Angie Kalthoff
  • Icon for: Karthik Ramani

    Karthik Ramani

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 11:27 p.m.

    I liked the culturally situated concepts for learning STEM - use the local cultural practices as inspirations for the stem constructive learning. Simulations, games, and maker practices are mentioned. Could you give some ways by which students are able to make the initial conceptualization? Or are they given some contexts to explore? i.e. problem finding is the hard part - and - also ensure that it has necessary elements for learning. 

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    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 05:28 p.m.

    Absolutely, providing the context is key.   We start kids with the "cultural background" section for each tool. For example, the cornrows tool introduces them to the west African traditions in which cornrow patterns signified marital status, kinship, etc. (https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/cornrowcurves/origins.html). When we get to the part about heads being shaved in the slave trade, there is usually an intense discussion about what it means to take someone's culture away from them.  So recovering those lost algorithms is tied to a history of resistance, not just sugar-coating to make STEM more palatable. 

    So we generally start with a culturally rich, well defined history or context. But once they catch on to the goal -- transform STEM into something that empowers the under-served -- they can add their own innovations. Last summer our cornrows class provided 3 interns, and they decided to develop Arduino-based pH sensors for hair products. That lead to an investigation of natural alternatives -- one high school girl has already started selling her own products; another has switched from cosmetology to chemistry. And they have 3D printed their cornrow simulations as salon mannequin heads: https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/cornrowcurves/teaching-3d.html

    Sometimes we start with more of a "problem domain". For example the natural dyes tool https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/sustainabledyes/index.html requires them to do research on the problems created by synthetic dyes before they experiment with natural alternatives. But its up to the teacher whether to simply use the info we provide on the site or require them to do more in-depth research.  

  • May 18, 2018 | 02:53 a.m.

    Hi Ron, This work is so cool -- and important.  And the video shows it really well. 

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    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 07:05 a.m.

    Thanks! We loved your "learning by helping" work at Santa Cruz. We see that happening by accident, so to speak, when we do peer to peer, but it would be great to figure out how to integrate collaboration more deliberately in our activities. One math teacher told us he had been stopping girls from braiding each other's hair until he went to our cornrows workshop; now he sees possibilities...

  • May 19, 2018 | 03:29 a.m.

    What a cool observation! 

    For your readers, interested in connecting with children's learning by helping -- our video is on this site at http://videohall.com/p/1318

    Best regards, Barbara

  • Icon for: Karthik Ramani

    Karthik Ramani

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 01:04 p.m.

    I really like these hands on learning on the go examples. The real world is getting more and more complex and knowledge deeper in all areas - but also integration of different fields is important for real world applications and creating market viable applications. These students are getting exposed to learn and think on the go - a lifelong learning perspective in STEM. And combined with fundamentals and passion can go a long way. You are creating new STEM learners. It will be good to track and see where they go and what they do - are your programs tracking them before and after your program and then what they do later in life? 

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    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:20 p.m.

    "Learning on the go" is a great way to think about it. The interactions always surprise me--for example we visited a school in India with our rangoli simulation, but the kids wanted to simulate a well instead. We see African American kids using the native beadloom simulation to draw graffiti tags, and native american kids creating cornrows "ojibwe style". The literature on culturally responsivelearning claims that children yearn to see their own heritage, but our experience is that they are much more creative than that. 

    We don't have a formal system for long term followup, but we keep hearing from individuals who were in our program as kids and now are majoring in CS, physics, etc. Teachers also send us some great stories like this one from a teacher at a Lakota Nation school: 

    You might be interested to hear that one of the students, who is an IT major, an artist, a very traditional beadworker and fluent Lakota speaker, was so delighted with the software that he decided to go ahead and develop his own algorithms independently. He was really inspired. He said it was the first time that math/graphing seemed to really make sense or "click" for him. I haven't seen how far he got with computer algorithms, but his final project for our math class was full of linear models that described his most recent beadwork creations.

  • Icon for: Ronald Greenberg

    Ronald Greenberg

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 03:10 p.m.

    Thanks for the video. Vis a vis the facilitator questions about integrating this into curriculum, it is already happening as a small piece in the Exploring Computer Science curriculum, for example.

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    Ron Eglash

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:31 p.m.

    Yes the ECS folks have done a great job helping educators (and us!) see how to teach cultural simulations such that they fit the CSTA standards. We are also trying to adapt some of the ECS ideas about heritage plants and eco-agriculture by introducing the use of sensors to monitor composting, adjust watering levels, etc.

    https://csdt.rpi.edu/culture/composting/sensors.html 

    https://e-wastetomakerspace.wikispaces.com/Harlem+Academy+2015 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.