Icon for: Bryan Brayboy


Arizona State University ASU, Utah State University, Millersville University

EAGER Makerspace

NSF Awards: 1623453

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

This video investigates how American Indian youth, communities and teachers engage with culturally connected making activities using high-low tech materials in local and mobile maker spaces, leveraging existing making activities and Indigenous technologies and craft practices often excluded from contemporary definitions of making. By building connections between Indigenous, home, and community-based practices, we will create opportunities for access to and participation in STEM learning, fostering positive youth identity development in STEM and improved school-community relationships.

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Discussion from the 2018 STEM for All Video Showcase (16 posts)
  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    May 14, 2018 | 08:25 a.m.

    Interesting project!

    I was struck by the librarian's comments towards the end about the cultural value of collaboration as opposed to competition.  I am curious if you are seeing many ways in which "making" looks different in indigenous communities than elsewhere?

    - brian 

  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:24 p.m.

    Thanks, Brian.  In the initial stages we're seeing students are making things that are meaningful to them and may be whatever other youth are engaged in thinking about *e.g. Hello Kitty). As they become more comfortable with the process, we find students may make something that appears to be "More Native."  They are certainly engaging the process in interesting ways, They  observe others before jumping in, even as we encourage them to "jump in."  The PI (that's me) and our RA are both Native peoples, so we find this to be consistent with how many Native peoples engage the process.

  • May 18, 2018 | 02:42 a.m.

    Hi Bryan and Brian,  The librarian's comment about the children helping each other sounds a lot like the research we present in our NSF video, "Learning by Helping," by Angélica López Fraire and Lucía Alcalá and myself.  The video shows the helpfulness of Mexican heritage California children whose families likely have Indigenous background.  They were more helpful to an instructor in a science activity than European American middle-class children.  Hope you have a chance to have a look at our video and tell us what you think...

  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 11:27 a.m.

    Yes, Barbara!  There are some interesting overlaps.  I also mentioned below in my comment to Debby Fields that our participants are also engaging in periods of observation (as opposed to "jumping in") which reminds me of your work with youth in Guatemala.  Importantly, the comment for the librarian in your video and ours begins to push us along in recognizing the larger spheres of influence around indigeneity.


    Love your work!

  • May 19, 2018 | 03:40 a.m.

    Thanks Bryan!  Such an important topic for deepening our understanding of how people learn!

  • Icon for: Kelsey Lipsitz

    Kelsey Lipsitz

    May 14, 2018 | 12:55 p.m.

    I was also struck by that comment, Brian. I also really like the idea of using the maker space as a way of supporting generation to generation relationships. Have you been able to offer continued support for those relationships? Thank you for sharing your work!

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Rebecca Teasdale
  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:26 p.m.

    Thanks Kelsey.  We hope to be able to continue these intergenerational collaborations this summer. We have a number of activities planned that will have students teaching their parents and grandparents, as well as their teachers.

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kelsey Lipsitz
  • Icon for: Andee Rubin

    Andee Rubin

    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2018 | 09:46 a.m.

    I also noted the librarian's comment about the important of collaboration and the way it can be fostered in a making environment.  How unfortunate that our education system often encourages competition more than collaboration!  In that vein, I was wondering how the maker space is related to students' school days - is it an after-school activity?  Part of the curriculum?  And if it is a free choice setting, do you have a sense of how students choose to participate - or not?  I really liked the idea of co-designing the activities with youth - how did you choose/recruit your co-designers?

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Yasmin Kafai
  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:03 p.m.

    Thanks, Andee.  This program has been fun and educative for us.  This is a lunchtime and after school and weekend program, with a summer component. The Principal at the school is very engaged and enthusiastic.  He is committed to the work; he is also under pretty direct orders to focus on getting students' scores up.   This isn't an intended critique; it's a reality of the times and the school.


    We've been able to work with students through a summer program and recruit here, and through community members. 

  • May 15, 2018 | 04:59 p.m.

    Really powerful work here! Thank you! I thought the end of the video was really interesting in terms of the contrast set up between collaboration and competition. I am really curious about some of the design principles you have for co-design with community members, and how you involve youth and families in ways that position them with power. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:07 p.m.

    Thanks, Angela.  The notion of cooperation is very, very important to us and to the Community.


    The principles have largely been driven by relationships between people, ideas, and place.   Our work has a heavy emphasis on asking student to be fully aware of where they are, how they are related to that place, how schooling relates to them, and how they think about education (broadly defined). So, the design principles focus on place, on community, on relationships, and responsibilities.

  • Icon for: Erica Halverson

    Erica Halverson

    May 15, 2018 | 08:48 p.m.

    Thank for sharing this compelling video! I loved the upbeat tone - it put me in the mood to make! I enjoyed how the researchers explained the potential of culturally responsive makerspaces, and how the work of the students was actually showcased.

    I have several questions:

    1) How did you measure the degree to which the makerspace influenced student interaction?

    2) The researchers mentioned the relation between culturally responsive practices and pop culture. What patterns did you see in how student interacted across those two spaces? 

    I look forward to hearing more about this project as it evolves! 


  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:18 p.m.

    Thanks, Erica, This has been a fun project for us. 1. We have some sense of how students were engaging to school and  other activities, because we have been in the community for over six years.  Students are generally engaged int he schooling process, but spend their lunchtime socializing with others or sitting outside.  On days when we have the maker space in the library, the students walk by during the period before lunch, peek in, smile, and walk away.  These students show up to work with our fabulous research assistant who is there several times a week.  So, we have some sense that their engagement is high.  They've also noted that the like having Sequoia, the graduate student, come in.

    2. In terms of pop culture, students will make anything from Hello Kitty to the names of musical bands/groups they like, or other characters (the Hulk, Wonder Woman, etc).  Much of where we're starting to land is that culturally responsive practices is about the processes they use (and that they make at all), rather than the products, although sometimes the products are "Native." Sometimes they're not.  Both can be culturally responsive.  

  • May 16, 2018 | 08:15 p.m.

    Love the video, love the work. 

    Appreciated your note on processed, Bryan. I think we're trying to emphasize valuing the processes of making in our e-textile unit. Now we are starting to try to figure out how to help students become more conscious of those processes so that they can use them in other situations. 

    Tell me more about processes! The processes you see, what make them cultural responsive, and so forth.

  • Icon for: Bryan Brayboy

    Bryan Brayboy

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 11:25 a.m.

    Thanks, Deborah.  I love your work, and appreciate all you're doing.


    In terms of processes, we're finding that students are varying how they engage the topic.  Many of our groups and students spend a lot of time watching others do before jumping in.  We're struck that there is often a sense that if you simply expose students or makers to the technologies, they'll pick them up, use them, explore, and make.  Our participants will often sit back and watch others for some time; this is pretty consistent with the ways that some of us have written about and considered/taken up Indigenous Knowledge Systems wherein observation--over long periods of time--occurs before people actually "do."  Barbara Rogoff's (see her post above) work in Guatemala is another example of this process at play.

    So, the students may make engage or make things with a Hello Kitty theme.  Another group focused on interactions between Donald Trump and Kim Jung Un as part of their making process.  Some might say to us, "But that's not Native!"  We think that the culturally responsive piece of this isn't the end product.  Instead, it is the fact that students are engaging place/space in particular ways, in a particular moment, with a focus relationships between people, ideas, and place with a specific focus on place.  That, along with the role of observation, are a few ways that processes lead our thinking.  

  • May 18, 2018 | 03:09 p.m.

    Thanks Bryan. That is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. I'm doing a different study on constructionism in Thailand - largely being developed on their own terms there - and it's leading to many insights about making, constructing, etc,. in ways that speak back to our more Western/dominant? discourse about making, doing, individualistic tendencies, and so on. 

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