1. Stacey Forsyth
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-forsyth-8595b99/
  3. Director, CU Science Discovery
  4. Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Participation in STEM Education and Careers
  5. http://buildabetterbook.org
  6. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Bridget Dalton
  2. http://www.colorado.edu/education/bridget-dalton
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Participation in STEM Education and Careers
  5. http://buildabetterbook.org
  6. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Kathryn Penzkover
  2. STEM Outreach and Education Professional
  3. Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Participation in STEM Education and Careers
  4. http://buildabetterbook.org
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Tom Yeh
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Participation in STEM Education and Careers
  4. http://buildabetterbook.org
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kathryn Penzkover

    Kathryn Penzkover

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 05:45 p.m.

    Thanks for your interest in our video and project! The Build a Better Book project aims to engage tweens and teens in STEM through the design and fabrication of multi-modal books. The project integrates storytelling with a variety of STEM tools and technologies, including paper engineering and mechanics, 3D design and printing, and circuitry and sound, and in the process, exposes learners to different STEM fields and careers.

     

    We are now midway through our ITEST grant and are excited about the vast interest in our project that we've received from Libraries, Makerspaces, Schools, and Families. This project seems to resonate with a wide audience who would like to use their STEM skills for a meaningful and socially purposeful projects. 

     

    We are very interested in hearing your comments and questions, and in particular would love input from:

     

    1. Makerspace facilitators and Teachers who would be interested in implementing this project at their sites, and what supports you would foresee needing.

     

    2. Other projects that have effectively broadened the reach of their programs, and what advice you would have for us.

     

    You can find out more information, access resources, and get involved at: www.buildabetterbook.org (note, we are currently transitions to a new web site so check back often for the latest info)

     

     

  • Icon for: Shelly Rodriguez

    Shelly Rodriguez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 09:38 a.m.

    I love the idea of the multi-modal book. I am inspired to see libraries and other public spaces supporting these types of activities for students and the community. The way your project integrates both intellectual, tactile, and affective elements of learning is wonderful. A innovative way to make for good. Thank you for sharing. Great work!

  • Icon for: Stacey Forsyth

    Stacey Forsyth

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:45 a.m.

    Thanks for the kind words, Shelly! It has been exciting to see the widespread interest among public libraries - they're motivated to provide more hands-on STEM experiences for the youth in their communities, and they've provided wonderful input on children's books that they think would work well with the project. And we've seen that the 'Making for good' aspect of this project is an effective way to attract a wide range of participants to this project. Having a tangible goal that students can connect with makes a difference!

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Senior Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 10:27 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your video - this sounds like such a great project!  I'm curious about the learning and affective outcomes you're tracking for your youth participants.  The video mentions empathy as one, can you say a little more about others?  Thank you!

  • Icon for: Bridget Dalton

    Bridget Dalton

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 12:36 p.m.

    HI Debra,

    I'm Bridget Dalton, a member of the Build a Better Book team, and School of Education faculty at CU Boulder.  Thanks for your interest in our project.  A major goal of our work is to develop values and shift perspectives regarding human differences.  Perspective taking is especially important in the design process -- considering the needs of users with varied needs and interests, and for this project, specifically, the needs of children who are visually impaired.  We use surveys and design interviews to obtain designers' perspectives on how their designs are influenced by their understanding of the children who will be interacting with their tactile book, game, etc.  We also ask them how their views of individuals with visual impairments has changed as a result of their participation, what motivated them to participate, what they see as the benefits (which often connects with a growing awareness of the importance of universal design, as well as insights about how different people can access and learn with multimodal books.  Are you conducting related research?  I would love to hear about it!  Also, we have attached two papers that provide more information about participant's learning and engagement.   

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Senior Researcher
    May 15, 2018 | 09:48 a.m.

    Thanks so much, Bridget, for your response. I just downloaded the papers (sorry - I didn't notice them yesterday when I posted my question!).  We've done work with visually impaired youth, but have not positioned youth as designers in this way. I agree that the design process is a great way to foster perspective-taking.  

    I wonder (and this might be a step too far for your research...), but do you anticipate that the insights gained by the designers might carry over into other aspects of their lives?  (increased volunteerism with different communities, increased interest/curiosity in how people with sensory impairments live...)?  

  • Icon for: Bridget Dalton

    Bridget Dalton

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 06:41 p.m.

    Debra, thanks for raising this question, it is so important to consider the  longer term impacts of these kinds of projects.  For the most part, we haven't been following up with participants in the workshops and classes to gain their perspectives on how their Build a Better Book experience has continued to influence them.  I just interviewed some undergraduates in engineering and education who had worked on a Build a Better Book project this year, and they were clear in their beliefs that what they had learned would positively contribute to their future careers as engineers and computer scientists  engaged in user-centered design or as teachers who will design for diversity in their future classrooms.  I would love to know more about the long term impacts of these experiences (and especially for the tweens and adolescents we work with)

  • Icon for: Ashley Braun

    Ashley Braun

    Digital and family learning librarian
    May 14, 2018 | 01:20 p.m.

    This is very inspiring work! Engaging youth in technology skill-building activities that have a social-emotional context is so important. I have a few small questions for your team. Who facilitates the workshops, librarians and library staff? Did you provide specialized training to the facilitators and what did that look like? I am a librarian, and training is definitely important in our project. We are trying to finesse that aspect, so I'd love to hear your approach. One other question that comes to mind is about supporting the learning long-term. Are the youth who participate in this work able to continue their skill-building beyond the initial learning experience? Do other activities in the library makerspaces make connections to this learning? Would there be a point in your work when teens/tweens might co-facilitate workshops for younger children and their families?  I am working on a project that fuses storytelling and STEM, and we're always thinking about how to support future learning beyond those initial workshops. Thanks for your incredible work! 

  • Icon for: Bridget Dalton

    Bridget Dalton

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 07:02 p.m.

    HI Ashley, I just viewed your tech tales video and love the work that you are doing!  For our project, we are trying multiple models -- sometimes we lead workshops (some are for librarians and educators, and some are for children and adolescents), sometimes we co-lead with librarians and teachers.  We have teen mentors who help facilitate workshops, as well as university students.  We're also working to build a community of interested folks, and are sharing projects on workbench.  We'd be very interested in learning from you and your team about how you are engaging families over time in storytelling and STEM!

  • Icon for: Ashley Braun

    Ashley Braun

    Digital and family learning librarian
    May 16, 2018 | 07:42 p.m.

    Likewise! I shared your video with some colleagues here at the library and they were also inspired by your project. I enjoy hearing about communities of practice like yours where people from a variety of disciplines and ages come together for a common purpose. I'm excited to follow your progress and learn from you all, as well.

  • Icon for: Stacey Forsyth

    Stacey Forsyth

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:57 a.m.

    Hi Ashley, I just wanted to chime in here as well. As Bridget mentioned, we provide support for teen participants to continue working with the program as Teen Mentors. This has been a nice opportunity to keep some of the participants engaged with the program over a longer term, although we do run into a number of scheduling conflicts, particularly during the school year (high school students are so busy!). I'm hoping that we can work out some of those issues in the coming year, so that they can stay more involved.

    In terms of librarian training, we have done both short (~2-hr) workshops for librarians, as well as a more in-depth (2-day) training workshop for a cohort of librarians a few months ago. We were very happy with how the extended workshop went; librarians had a good amount of time to immerse themselves in the overall goal of the project, as well as time to work with the different technologies most commonly used. It was also exciting to hear their ideas for how they might connect the tools in their Makerspace to the project (e.g., AR, sewing machines/textiles, puppetry, etc.). Libraries that participated in the extended training each received a kit of materials to help support them in their implementation at their sites. We're looking forward to seeing what they do with the program this summer!

    Like Bridget, I also viewed (and loved!) your TechTales video. What a wonderful way to engage families at libraries! I've shared your video with one of my colleagues here at CU (Ricarose Roque) who is also doing family tech workshops here in Colorado. It'd be fun for us all to connect sometime, as I think we could all learn a lot from each other.

    Thanks for your interest in our project and for reaching out!

  • Icon for: Kelsey Lipsitz

    Kelsey Lipsitz

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 01:33 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project -- what a great way for students to learn how design can make a difference in people's lives. It sounds like you've had some great success with increasing students' awareness and understanding of people's needs. What kinds of challenges have you come across as you've implemented the project?

  • Icon for: Stacey Forsyth

    Stacey Forsyth

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:06 p.m.

    Hi Kelsey, I think one of our challenges has been balancing what seems to work best for the project with what seems to work best in libraries. Participants seem to get a lot more out of the project when they have a chance to work with the project over multiple sessions (allowing them to iterate upon their designs), whether that is in the form of a multi-day summer camp or once a week over multiple weeks/months. However, the majority of libraries that we've worked with prefer to offer one-time workshops that don't require an extended commitment. We've addressed this in a few ways, offering multi-day summer programs (that have worked very well) and offering single workshops in series, so that participants can opt to participate over multiple weeks, but extended participation is not required. This has also worked well, and seems to fit well with what the libraries are looking for. 

    One other challenge: we've had a lot of interest in the project and numerous sites have requested support; this of course is a great problem to have and we're so excited to see the interest in the project, but we're trying balance encouraging their participation while not taking on more than we can handle.

  • Icon for: Andee Rubin

    Andee Rubin

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 09:26 a.m.

    Thank you for a really enjoyable and lively video about a great project.  For me, the most outstanding part of your work is that students are involved in an authentic task with real feedback from a plausible end user.  Are all of your projects intended to help people with visual impairments or have you thought about a wider range of differences?  As part of your outreach and training, do you help people connect to potential end users in their own communities?

  • Icon for: Kathryn Penzkover

    Kathryn Penzkover

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:08 a.m.

    Great question Andee- Our first target audience were students with visual impairment but the project has expanded greatly. Not only has our audience expanded but so has our products, we started looking at picture books, but we have had workshops focused on games and STEM graphics as well. In addition, we encourage partners to look for local populations that could benefit from experiencing information in unique ways. We have found that having an authentic end user and co-creating with that end user has had a tremendous impact on the value of the programming.

  • Icon for: Erica Halverson

    Erica Halverson

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 09:06 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful video! I appreciate how you constructed the narrative. It directly states the problem, clearly discusses how your program is designed to address the problem, and highlights the experience of student participants. I have several questions:

    1.) How do you integrate the wide variety of perspectives of users and designers most influenced by the affordances of universal design into the project?

    2.) How do you measure the impact of this work? 

    thank you again for sharing the story of this compelling work?

    -Erica

  • Icon for: Bridget Dalton

    Bridget Dalton

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 07:14 p.m.

    HI Erica, thanks for your feedback!  For these tactile design workshops, we've focused on building designers' awareness of the importance of inclusive design, and specifically, designing for children with visual impairments. We engage them in some sensory experiences to heighten their awareness of tactile interpretation and expression before they begin to design their own books, games, etc.  We also share videos that position individuals who are blind as agentive and accomplished (including a young child fluently reading Braille and interpreting the tactile story illustration).   We also build on a universal design for learning perspective, designing tactile books benefit many children, those who are sighted and those who are visually impaired.   Some of the librarians we're working with are eager to try this with children with other disabilities, and we  hope to learn from their experience!

    With regard to impact, we are collecting various kinds of data (surveys, observations, interviews, work samples). 

  • Small default profile

    Jenna Welsh

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2018 | 10:10 p.m.

    This is such a great video! I love the blend of story and creativity with STEM. Fascinating. 

  • Icon for: Dennis Dupps

    Dennis Dupps

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2018 | 07:46 a.m.

    Nicely done. This is a good example of how STEM can be implemented for all students. Students with disabilities need to be given opportunities like this.

  • Icon for: Alka Harriger

    Alka Harriger

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 10:53 a.m.

    I love the idea of creating tactile books! What a great lesson on showing youth how being more aware of inclusiveness of visually impaired people can create better products that bring value to all!

  • Icon for: Robyn White

    Robyn White

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2018 | 08:53 p.m.

    I feel very inspired and went to your website to learn more about your organization.

  • Icon for: Nick C

    Nick C

    Graduate Student
    May 19, 2018 | 05:23 p.m.

    I really love this idea.  I keep thinking about how we could do some sort of peer interaction project.  The students create the better book and then use it with young students.  I also had an idea about chapter books and putting that into pictures.  Would you have any interest in taking the project to this level?  I thought that would be interesting because it would integrate reading comprehension into this project as well.  With picture books the students already have a picture drawn for them to create from, but with chapter books students would be using their imagination to create a picture from their mind.  They would also have to work collaboratively with other students to come up with their pictures.  This is just a thought I had.  Thanks so much for the hard work you put into this project!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.