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  1. Christopher Wright
  2. https://drexel.edu/soe/faculty-and-staff/faculty/Wright-Christopher/
  3. Assistant Professor in STEM Education
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Drexel University
  1. Ayana Allen-Handy
  2. https://drexel.edu/soe/faculty-and-staff/faculty/Allen-Ayana/
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Drexel University
  1. Brian Gravel
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Tufts University, Drexel University, Boston University
  1. Amon Millner
  2. http://www.olin.edu/faculty/profile/amon-millner/
  3. Associate Professor of Computing and Innovation
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Olin College of Engineering
  1. Eli Tucker-Raymond
  2. Research Associate Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University
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Collaborative Research: Using Culturally Sustaining Learning Environments to ...

NSF Awards: 1842272, 1842278, 2034782

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

This work explores the designed cultural ecology of a hip-hop and computational STEM camp and the ways in which the ecology contributed to culturally sustaining learning experiences for middle school youth. Using principles of hip-hop as a culturally sustaining pedagogy for design, we questioned how and what computational practices were supported or emerged, and how they became resources for youth engagement in the space. We argue that the emergent ecology created humanizing approaches to learning computational STEM.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (32 posts)
  • Icon for: Chip Bruce

    Chip Bruce

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 08:20 a.m.

    I like your integration of making, dance, cultural ecology and more!

    You show a dichotomy between computational science as it's often practiced and activities congenial to children. As someone with a background in computer science but a strong interest in experiential, project-based, culturally relevant learning I understand the connection in principle, between these. Can you say more about how you bridge this gap?

  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 01:00 p.m.

    Hi Chip,

    Thanks for the question! In our work, we pay close attention to the learning environment and/or context in which young people engage in computational making. We attempt to bridge this gap by highlighting how computational making can and does exist in the spaces and practices that young people navigate, i.e., dance studios, the art of DJ'ing, making beats in recording studios. Thus, arguing that computational making can live beyond the confines of computer labs that have historically been viewed as the places for computational learning. 

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Nancy Staus

    Nancy Staus

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher, STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 12:13 p.m.

    What an innovative approach to STEM! Given the demographic differences historically seen in STEM participation, did you find that using hip-hop to engage youth in computational learning helped in the recruitment and persistence of girls who may otherwise be less interested in technology?

  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 12:37 p.m.

    Thank you for viewing the video and asking this question, Nancy. We greatly appreciate the interaction. In the initial cycle of the project, we had a large number of girls that participated in the computational STEM camp. Specific to your question about the recruitment and persistence element, I am not positive that using hip-hop was the determining factor. We intentionally "brought" and situated computational making within the context of a hip-hop dance studio as a way to explore the importance of context in the work. In this space, young people were able to see and witness the ways that they were both dancers AND contributors to space dedicated to computational making. 

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 12:27 p.m.

    We are very excited to launch this video describing a learning environment that integrates computational making and cultural and expressive practices of hip-hop. We want to hear your insights!

    • What approaches have you utilized for fostering intergenerational interactions, collaborations, and learning within STEM and computing environments?
    • How might we conceptualize assessing computational thinking and making in culturally sustaining ways?
    • How can design for and support engagement in computational making through virtual platforms?
    • What resources have you observed young people calling upon when negotiating identities in computational STEM learning environments?
    • What are the biggest opportunities for supporting young people's positive identity development through the integration of computational making and cultural & expressive practices of hip-hop?
  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:51 p.m.

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for your question. Hosting the program in a dance setting definitely appealed to girls, though many of them were just as excited about engaging in the STEM work. We had an overwhelming amount of interest in the program and actually increased our participant number of accommodate the number of youth who wanted to be part of the program.  In the end, they were most interested in the intersection of hip hop and STEM.

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 01:06 p.m.

    Hi Chip,

    We started the design and development of the project thinking about the interdisciplinary making practices of computational and the making practices of hip hop. Then, we worked to find the relationships between the two and develop a set of design principles that focused on those relationships. It flashes pretty quickly, but in the video around the 1:15 mark, you can see a representation of some of the thinking that went into our design principles. We sought to develop activities that focused on how both hip hop and computation allow for opportunities for youth to claim space, break down and build up ideas, equipment, algorithms or patterns, allow for interactivity, and authentic expression of self.

     
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    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Shihadah Saleem

    Shihadah Saleem

    Facilitator
    Sr. Manager of Youth Leadership and Alumni Programs
    May 11, 2021 | 08:57 p.m.

    Thanks Dionne for your reply. I'm also interested on how you recruited your target audience and the duration of the full program?

  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 11:16 a.m.

    Hi Shihadah! Thanks for the question.  The project is actually being implemented in three sites, in three different cities across the country (Gary, IN, Philadelphia, PA, and Cambride, MA). Each program is 60 hours, which for some means a few weeks over the summer and for others can mean a few hours per week over the course of a semester.  The recruitment process for each site is also different. For this initial implementation in Gary, Indiana, we stared with the community that was already a part of our community-based dance center partner and branched out from there.  Things spread very quickly by word of mouth from the families who were participating.

    One very interesting unintended outcome of parterning with and recruiting through the community-based dance center was that we ended up with a group of participants that spanned a much wider age range than we initially expected. The camp was initially aimed at serving 20 middle school aged youth. However, we ended up with a range of ages that spanned from 6-16 because families often asked to sign up older or younger siblings and other relatives. We made the choice to accommodate all and to shift our program design to reflect the authentic demand from the community. As a result, we learned a lot about the benefits of intergenerational collaboration in this type of learning environment.

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Cheryl Calhoun

    Cheryl Calhoun

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 11, 2021 | 05:28 p.m.

    This looks like a really fund project. I love the integration of hip hop and computer science. We’ve done something similar in the GRRATE (Guitars, Rocketry, Robotics) project in integrating the science into an engaging activity.  It is amazing how engaged the students are.  Have you been able to follow through with your students to see how many of them continue on with computer science after the class?

     
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    Dionne Champion
  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 02:35 p.m.

    Hi Cheryl, 

    It looks like there is a lot of overlap in our projects! We have only had one full implementation but we expect some of those young folx to come back this summer! For us, just as much as it is the activities in which youth are enagaging is including the cultural ecologies of the spaces in which the activities are happening. So, for instance, what you see in the video is our work in a dance center that incorporated the afro-centric focus, the multiple intergenerational relationships, and the focus on movement and dance pedagogy. For us, incorporating what is already compelling to youth in whatever space they are in is a major thrust of our work. We have written a paper about it here: (Designing for) learning computational STEM and arts integration in culturally sustaining learning ecologies. If anyone would like a copy of the paper and needs access, please email me: etuckerr at bu dot edu. 

     
    1
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    Dionne Champion
  • Icon for: Shihadah Saleem

    Shihadah Saleem

    Facilitator
    Sr. Manager of Youth Leadership and Alumni Programs
    May 11, 2021 | 08:55 p.m.

    The integration of hip hop, music and identity is such a great and educational way to excite students about STEM. Did the program include additional ways students can further their ideas towards an innovative STEM career, using the skillsets developed in the program? For example speaking with sound board engineers or data scientists from Spotify or Tidal?

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Folashade Solomon
  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 09:51 p.m.

    Hi Shihadah and thank you for the question! The project includes iterating the design of the learning environment across three different research sites in three different cities. The work highlighted in the video was the first iteration and did not include interactions with sound board engineers and data scientists. However, the current iteration being conducted in a different city includes these kinds of interactions as we are focusing on computational making and music streaming sites.

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
    Shihadah Saleem
  • May 12, 2021 | 10:40 a.m.

    This project is so neat and I really like the idea of weaving hip hop throughout the STEM experience. I was curious about the collaborative nature of the research. I may have missed this, and wanted to clarify: is the collaboration between institutional researchers and the community or are the students viewed as collaborators in the projects they design and create?

     

  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 12, 2021 | 11:29 a.m.

    Hi Rachael,

    Thank you for the question. Collaborations are between the institutional researchers (e.g., Drexel, Boston University, University of Florida, Tufts University, Olin College of Engineering) and community facing organizations within the cities of Gary, IN, Boston, MA, and Philadelphia, PA. Thus, the research looks to consider how similar models of learning and engagement are also informed by the culture and context of the community facing organizations. We have general design principles that we utilize when considering how we implement the models in different cities, while also understanding that each locale will have its own flare and elements that they want to highlight and accentuate. With all of that being said, our design principles are very much grounded in considering ways for empowering young people in the refinement and transformation of what these designed spaces look like and become. 

  • May 12, 2021 | 01:57 p.m.

    I'm really interested in the combination of music and culture with science.  Projects like yours help to teach kids that science is everywhere, and that science is interesting.

  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 12, 2021 | 02:20 p.m.

    Hi Kimberly and thank you for taking the time to look at our work. We, too, are very excited to engage in this interdisciplinary project and look forward to learning so much more from the young people we work with!

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 12, 2021 | 02:11 p.m.

    Thanks so much for sharing your video, I loved it! What a powerful way to build learning through identity and culture and community. What's next for you all project/research-wise? And what were the kids excited about trying next?

  • Icon for: Christopher Wright

    Christopher Wright

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor in STEM Education
    May 12, 2021 | 02:27 p.m.

    Hi Marley,

    Thanks for stopping by and taking in the video. Our project includes designing and studying different iterations of implementation and these iterations span across three different cities (e.g., Gary, IN, Cambridge, MA, and Philadelphia, PA). The video captured the engagement of young people during the initial iteration and we are looking forward to integrating and exploring with the other elements of hip-hop. The partners within each city have their own focus and/or emphasis and we will look to co-design students' experiences with each of the collaborating community facing organizations.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Marley Jarvis
    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Ari Hock

    Ari Hock

    Graduate Student
    May 13, 2021 | 03:09 p.m.

    That interactive DJ battle station looks so rad! I also really like the animation in the beginning of the video.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Christopher Wright
    Dionne Champion
  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Researcher
    May 13, 2021 | 04:37 p.m.

    Thanks Ari!

    It was really great to see that project come together. The girls put a lot of thought into the different features of the battle station, from how to give the user an experience that simulated mixing by separating beats and sound effects from lyrical tracks, to seeking out lyrical tracks that were "family appropriate." Because they wanted the experience to feel authentic, they designed a cardboard headset with a foil contact to touch the ear, so that the users could "DJ" with two hands while maintaining contact with the Makey Makey "earth" button (You must be touching the "earth" contact on the Makey Makey in order to trigger a reaction). The girls had a great time using sounds, materials, and their bodies to develop codes to bring their interactive DJ battle station to life.

     
    1
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    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Daniel Serrano

    Daniel Serrano

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2021 | 11:13 p.m.

    This project is amazing and an inspiration to pursue innovative approaches to STEM education.

    I myself have found sometimes it's hard to assemble and pitch projects this novel because there are no precedents to draw from. With that in mind, I'm curious to know a bit about the origins of the project and how the team came together.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Eli Tucker-Raymond
  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 10:12 a.m.

    Hi Daniel,

    Various members of the team have worked together and known each other in different ways sometimes working together for over 10 years. You could say the epicenter of that is a non-profit called TERC, where Chris, Dionne and I all served as Post Docs at different times with the Cheche Konnen Center. Chris and Ayana work together at Drexel, Chris and Brian went to graduate school together. Brian and Amon and I have had several other projects together. Dionne and I as well as Chris and I have had other projects together. That said, Dionne and Ayana bring a strong arts background, Amon is a computer scientist, Dionne and Chris and Brian are engineers and we all have a love for hip hop, learning, and transforming STEM learning spaces to be more humanizing especially for youth whose humanity is often denied in schools.

    We're also friends. Like you said, it is hard to get funding for novel work and this wasn't our first attempt together. It is important to us that we work with people we like on projects we believe in. We feel very fortunate to be able to do this work. I can't speak for the others, but my first attempt as a researcher to connect hip hop and learning was in 2001 and I was naysayed into dropping the idea. It took almost 20 years to see that dream come about in this project. And it really took this interdisciplinary team and our collective experiences in combining the arts, computing, learning sciences, and engineering for it to manifest. 

     
    2
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    Daniel Serrano
    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Daniel Serrano

    Daniel Serrano

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 02:12 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Eli.

    I'm really happy to see the dream come true.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Eli Tucker-Raymond
  • Icon for: Ryan Campos

    Ryan Campos

    Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 09:49 a.m.

    👌🏼

  • Icon for: Momo Hayakawa

    Momo Hayakawa

    Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 10:35 a.m.

    This is such a cool project! That battle station idea brings everything together - STEM, curiosity, computational thinking, and fun. I wonder if you have any data on how this impacted the children? I.e. did it increase their interest or change their attitudes about STEM or pursuing STEM careers?

  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 16, 2021 | 10:09 p.m.

    Hi Momo,

    In general, participant attitudes toward STEM trended positively but not statistically significant in most items on pre/post surveys. What DID come out differently according to our chi square analysis was that participants saw more overlap between hip hop and computing and recognized that some of the same practices exist in both spaces. Because we really want to highlight that overlap in our work more than art-in-service-of-stem/computing or stem/computing-in-service-of-art, we are excited to see that outcome. Those practices include representing something in the real world; identifying problems while in the act of creation; identifying the right tools, materials, and procedures to solve them; and systematically figuring out why something is not working.

     
    1
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    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Osubi Craig

    Osubi Craig

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 16, 2021 | 12:36 p.m.

    This video was so well done. And the project sounds looks amazing.  Have you all considered scaling it up and approaching school systems and municipalities with this program to be implemented on a large scale?

     
    1
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    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 16, 2021 | 03:26 p.m.

    Thanks for your interest Osubi!

    We think there are lots of ways to scale and one of the reasons we are doing it in three locations is because we believe in place-based learning environments that are responsive to and sustain local culture. So, we would like to focus on scaling the methodology by sharing it with others. Methodology refers to the research and the design as they are integrated in our work with young people. We want to share how we work with folx because what is sustained and what is transformed are different in different places, but the kinds of attention to personhood and to relationships can be scaled.

     
    1
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    Christopher Wright
  • Icon for: Jacqueline Genovesi

    Jacqueline Genovesi

    Researcher
    May 16, 2021 | 06:29 p.m.

    Awesome project!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Christopher Wright
    Eli Tucker-Raymond
  • Small default profile

    Tajma Cameron

    Graduate Student
    May 17, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

    You've creatively combined my two loves of hip hop and STEM into a masterful integration of art and science. The principles of ecologies are awesome! This is an amazing project. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Christopher Wright
  • Small default profile

    Tajma Cameron

    Graduate Student
    May 17, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

    You've creatively combined my two loves of hip hop and STEM into a masterful integration of art and science. The principles of ecologies are awesome! This is an amazing project. 

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