1. Stacey Forsyth
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-forsyth-8595b99/
  3. Director, CU Science Discovery
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Bridget Dalton
  2. http://www.colorado.edu/education/bridget-dalton
  3. Associate Professor
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Kathryn Penzkover
  2. Assistant Director, CU Science Discovery
  4. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Ben Walsh
  2. http://thisisaproject.org
  3. Graduate Research Assistant
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Tom Yeh
  2. http://tomyeh.info
  3. Assistant Professor
  5. University of Colorado Boulder

Designing Tactile Picture Books: Critical Making in Libraries to Broaden Part...

NSF Awards: 1615247

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Informal / multi-age

Over the past two years, the Build a Better Book (BBB) project has developed and refined a unique, modular critical making curriculum focused on the design and fabrication of accessible, multimodal media—including books, games and STEM graphics—for children and youth with visual impairments. The project integrates storytelling, composition and communication with a variety of Maker tools and technologies, including paper engineering and mechanics, 3D design and printing, designing for laser cutters, and circuitry and sound. Through the project, youth develop technology skills and learn about STEM careers as they work in library Makerspaces to design and create accessible media that can be seen, felt and heard. BBB programming primarily takes place in library Makerspaces, although the project has also run programs in schools, museums and community Makerspaces.

Evaluation results indicate that the BBB model engages youth in STEM through a creative and iterative design process and positively impacts their attitudes about engineering, particularly the potential of engineering and technology to help others. The project’s meaningful purpose attracts female participants and increases students’ awareness of disability, the importance of universal design and the need to design for diversity, and the potential of STEM to improve people’s lives.

In the project’s third year, we are beginning to build a national network of youth Makers interested in contributing to the project. Our video showcases a professional development experience for 35 librarians and teachers from around the country who are working together to bring this inspiring project to their Makerspaces.

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