1. Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh
  2. http://teamthroughmywindow.org/about-our-project/who-are-we
  3. Professor, Principal Investigator
  5. Through My Window, Springfield Technical Community College
  1. Isabel Huff
  2. http://teamthroughmywindow.org/about-our-project/who-are-we
  3. Program Outreach Coordinator
  5. Through My Window

Through My Window

NSF Awards: 1223868, 1223460

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

Through My Window is at the cutting edge of changes in K12 engineering education designed to prepare young learners for success in the knowledge age. Developed by engineering educators at Smith College and Springfield Technical Community College, the project targets traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering—especially girls—and is changing the way in which children/young teens (grades 4-8) identify with STEM. Improving attitudes toward engineering, providing a deeper understanding of what engineering is about, supporting development of specific engineering skills, and increasing interest in engineering careers are the goals of the project.

Through My Window has been thoughtfully designed in the ways in which children and young teens engage and learn. Two pioneering educational theories are applied in an idea-centered, multimedia learning environment: (1) Imaginative Education (IE), in which developmentally appropriate narrative engages learners’ imaginations and helps them structure what they learn in meaningful ways; and (2) knowledge building (KB), which emphasizes collaborative online discourse in the development of knowledge skills and innovative ways of thinking. Together these approaches support deep learning and address the critical need of equipping children and young teens with 21st century skills and attributes.

IE and KB frame learning in three project components: (1) the full-length, young adult STEM novel Talk to Me, which features well-integrated engineering themes and diverse, relevant characters with female leads; (2) interactive online learning adventures in artificial intelligence (AI), engineering design, and engineering ethics, in which learners deeply explore engineering concepts introduced in the novel; and (3) innovative offline enrichment activities that build upon the idea-centered approach to learning about engineering. Journaling, reflection, and idea improvement are emphasized as learners make strong, broad connections to engineering and develop STEM identity.

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