1. Evrim Baran
  2. http://www.evrimbaran.com
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  5. Iowa State University
  1. Ezequiel Aleman
  2. Research Assistant
  3. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  4. Iowa State University
  1. Anindita Das
  2. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist
  3. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  4. Iowa State University
  1. Anasilvia Salazar
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anasilviasalazar/
  3. Graduate Research Assistant
  4. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  5. Iowa State University
  1. Eliot Winer
  2. https://projects.vrac.iastate.edu/ewiner/
  3. Director and Professor
  4. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  5. Iowa State University
  1. Kimberly Zarecor
  2. https://www.design.iastate.edu/faculty/zarecor/
  3. Professor
  4. Preparing the Next-Generation Rural Workforce Through Inclusive and Place-Based Smart and Connected STEM Educational Delivery Models
  5. Iowa State University
Public
Choice
Public Discussion

Continue the discussion of this presentation on the Multiplex. Go to Multiplex

  • Icon for: Evrim Baran

    Evrim Baran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 07:44 a.m.

    Hello and thank you for watching our video! This video highlights our planning grant funded by the Smart & Connected Communities program at the National Science Foundation. Our project is a partnership between an interdisciplinary group of researchers at Iowa State University, Iowa 4-H, and the youth, families, teachers, and other stakeholders in the Storm Lake Community School District (CSD) in northwest Iowa. Storm Lake is a meat packing town with more than 85% of its K-12 students identified as students of color, and more than 20 languages are spoken in its schools.

    We are less than a year into this project. So far, we have done several visits to Storm Lake and engaged in co-discovery sessions with students, families, teachers, and administrators about potential place-based and technology-enabled STEM education models. As a team, we are interested to work with educators and community residents to learn more about the kids growing up in rural regions in Iowa with large populations of migrant and refugee families, and how we can together help them to imagine themselves in future jobs related to STEM. We believe engaging with our community partners during the co-design process will significantly advance the goal of creating more equitable and inclusive learning opportunities and resources for stakeholders who are often left out of these discussions. We hope that the results of the planning phase will inform the future large-scale projects that build on this preliminary work.

    We welcome any discussion on our project and/or topics related to rural STEM education, co-design of place-based STEM educational programs with the community stakeholders, working with English language learners, and integrating XR (extended reality) solutions to increase the quality and impact of STEM education.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Catherine McCulloch

    Catherine McCulloch

    Facilitator
    Senior Project Director
    May 10, 2022 | 09:42 a.m.

    Hi Evrim and team,

    Thank you for the video and work. You mention that you are working across groups to develop place-based curriculum. I'm curious what ideas for the curriculum have arisen and what challenges you're encountering in the co-design process with partners.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
    James Afful
  • Icon for: Kimberly Zarecor

    Kimberly Zarecor

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 09:15 p.m.

    Catherine - I am realizing that the way to do this is to reply within your question space - so we posted some answers, but I am going to populate them here so that you can more easily find them. 

    __

    Hi Catherine, thanks for your question. I wanted to build on what Evrim has said. Storm Lake has many assets that they can build on for STEM education, including a lake in the community that can be accessed along beaches and city parks. We just did a workshop with teachers in which we asked them to think of all of STEM assets in the community - people, places, and organizations, for example. They already do quite a few activities that use these assets, but they shared with us that they have not always thought systematically about this, and need to build more capacity beyond just one individual with a passion for one project. They are excited to develop curriculum related to soil and plants and agriculture - which is a popular topic in Iowa where the soil quality is excellent, so we are thinking about how our strengths in these areas at the university and within ISU Extension & Outreach can become part of the array of resources that they will need to build a sustainable program for the students on these topics. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Kimberly Zarecor

    Kimberly Zarecor

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 09:16 p.m.

    From Evrim (below):

    Thank you for the question Catherine. We are at the initial co-discovery stage of our co-design process that focuses on defining educational needs, aspirations, and barriers around STEM education in the community. Our community visits and co-discovery activities with youth and teachers revealed some preliminary ideas for a future place-based STEM educational program, such as the need for developing multilingual resources and information about STEM careers, career pathways, and financial resources,  offering enrichment programs that are designed for immigrant and first-generation students, integrating mentoring opportunities into formal and informal STEM learning structures, and providing teacher training about project-based, hands-on, culturally relevant STEM learning activities.

     

    Regarding challenges, we are finding that the teachers in this town of diverse students do not know as much about the students' languages and cultures as they would like. There is not an easy fix given that more than 20 languages are spoken. The best support is for Spanish speakers, and we have native speakers on the research team. Our intention is to generate content in English and Spanish for families, and then use some other strategies like icons and pictograms in some of our work. The families in the community are also quite busy, as would be expected, but in the case of Storm Lake, the large meatpacking plant runs 24/7 and some parents are not available on a regular workday schedule.

     

    We have had excellent support from the local 4-H staff who have been a primary connection point for us with K-12 students and their families, but so far we are working with a limited number of people who are affiliated with 4-H. As the project continues we hope to do some more public outreach at school events.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Evrim Baran

    Evrim Baran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 03:52 p.m.

    Thank you for the question Catherine. We are at the initial co-discovery stage of our co-design process that focuses on defining educational needs, aspirations, and barriers around STEM education in the community. Our community visits and co-discovery activities with youth and teachers revealed some preliminary ideas for a future place-based STEM educational program, such as the need for developing multilingual resources and information about STEM careers, career pathways, and financial resources,  offering enrichment programs that are designed for immigrant and first-generation students, integrating mentoring opportunities into formal and informal STEM learning structures, and providing teacher training about project-based, hands-on, culturally relevant STEM learning activities.


    Regarding challenges, we are finding that the teachers in this town of diverse students do not know as much about the students' languages and cultures as they would like. There is not an easy fix given that more than 20 languages are spoken. The best support is for Spanish speakers, and we have native speakers on the research team. Our intention is to generate content in English and Spanish for families, and then use some other strategies like icons and pictograms in some of our work. The families in the community are also quite busy, as would be expected, but in the case of Storm Lake, the large meatpacking plant runs 24/7 and some parents are not available on a regular workday schedule.


    We have had excellent support from the local 4-H staff who have been a primary connection point for us with K-12 students and their families, but so far we are working with a limited number of people who are affiliated with 4-H. As the project continues we hope to do some more public outreach at school events.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
    James Afful
  • Icon for: Kimberly Zarecor

    Kimberly Zarecor

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 12:31 a.m.

    Hi Catherine, thanks for your question. I wanted to build on what Evrim has said. Storm Lake has many assets that they can build on for STEM education, including a lake in the community that can be accessed along beaches and city parks. We just did a workshop with teachers in which we asked them to think of all of STEM assets in the community - people, places, and organizations, for example. They already do quite a few activities that use these assets, but they shared with us that they have not always thought systematically about this, and need to build more capacity beyond just one individual with a passion for one project. They are excited to develop curriculum related to soil and plants and agriculture - which is a popular topic in Iowa where the soil quality is excellent, so we are thinking about how our strengths in these areas at the university and within ISU Extension & Outreach can become part of the array of resources that they will need to build a sustainable program for the students on these topics. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
    James Afful
  • Icon for: James Afful

    James Afful

    Graduate Student
    May 11, 2022 | 01:34 p.m.

    Great job!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Anasilvia Salazar

    Anasilvia Salazar

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 15, 2022 | 07:21 p.m.

    Thank you, James!

  • Icon for: Anindita Das

    Anindita Das

    Co-Presenter
    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist
    May 11, 2022 | 01:53 p.m.

    Thank you so much for watching the video. It has been much fun working in this project and the awesome team members along with our Storm Lake collaborators. It has been empowering to see the youth engaged in activities and scenarios and in solving everyday challenges with STEM. We have learned so much about what it means to aspire for STEM career for this group of young people and in particular youth who are first generation school students and have such diverse experiences growing up. We have also learned a lot about co-design method, and approaches to data collection that are better fits for this audience. We look forward to sharing more how things have shaped, what has worked, not worked etc.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Researcher
    May 11, 2022 | 02:03 p.m.

    I'd like to hear how your co-design process works -- did you start with a well-defined model of who does what when, and implemented that, or did you have to negotiate that as you began to get to work?

     

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Kimberly Zarecor

    Kimberly Zarecor

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 09:15 p.m.

    Thanks for the great question. As we are a mix of designers, learning sciences scholars, engineers, etc., the vocabulary around co-design has been a topic of discussion for us - what it means, who is using this term, for example NSF really wants community-engaged work to use co-design methods, but doesn't necessarily define what this is. 

    For this project, we have a 4-part co-design method that we described in our proposal that comes out of the design world: 1) discovery - empathize with problems, 2) define - scope insights, explore opportunities, 3) develop - generate ideas, 4) deliver - implement and assess.

    So the short answer to your question is that we did not assume that we knew what the community would want, what meets their expectations for students, and so you can't start with more than the intention to work together - you start by building trust, you visit, you listen, you offer things to them, and value their place-based knowledge, and only then once there is some trust can you begin to discover in a co-discovery process what sorts of problems exist that might be addressed. 

    We've done a few visits and a few workshops, mostly recently with a group of teachers in the Storm Lake schools, who we engaged in a process that helps them to frame a set of issues around STEM and set some aspirations for the future, that we can then work together to address, i.e. we can help them to get from where they are to where they want to be. It is a very different approach than might be used if we imagine that we have some cool new tools or curriculum modules that we want to share with them and get them to use because we think it might add something to their classrooms. As a group, it has been very rewarding and those members who are new to this way of thinking are seeing how important it is to come with an attitude as a listener and a collaborator to a new community. 

    And also, we are in the discover and define phases. We have a summer workshop with high-school students coming up in June and another in August, we hope that the same group of students will come to both. These workshops will be educational for the students as we are planning great activities with them, but we will be testing out some of the prototypes that we are developing between June and August - they will present ideas and some preliminary work with modeling and coding in June, and then by August we hope to demo some potential XR/VR interfaces with them where they also become the users doing testing with us. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Small default profile

    Marian Krzyzowski

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 11, 2022 | 04:21 p.m.

    Super!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Anasilvia Salazar

    Anasilvia Salazar

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 15, 2022 | 07:22 p.m.

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Mike Szydlowski

    Mike Szydlowski

    Facilitator
    K-12 Science Coordinator
    May 11, 2022 | 08:55 p.m.

    I love that you are bringing place-based opportunities to these students. If everything goes as you hope, what outcomes do you think you will see at the end of this phase of the project?  

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Kimberly Zarecor

    Kimberly Zarecor

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 09:40 p.m.

    This planning grant is part of a bigger vision that we are developing with an interdisciplinary team at Iowa State about the future of rural communities and reimagining the communities as innovation hubs for new technologies and STEM-focused businesses. One of the serious problems in rural Iowa is that many of the high performing K-12 students leave for college and do not return. Many will stay close to home, cities like Des Moines and Omaha are really booming in terms of new housing construction and jobs, but we see this as a long-term structural crisis for rural towns. If they improve STEM education, which makes it possible and likely to send more of their kids to community colleges, apprenticeships, and four-year universities, young professionals will not come back if there are no full-time, full-year, high-wage jobs. 

    So the place-based opportunities function in two ways - first, to give teachers and students access close to home to exciting learning opportunities in STEM, Storm Lake for example has a large lake (as you might guess) with beaches and local parks to access the water, the farms situated around the town are now highly technological, and the meatpacking industry challenges students to think about the food supply and animal science - there were severe COVID outbreaks in many of the plants and this got students interested in the science of virus, for example. Second - if communities are serious in the long-term about seeing local K-12 students go off to college and choosing to come back, professional opportunities need to be there that relate to the assets of the place - so careers in fields such as agricultural services, data analytics, 3D printing and fabrication, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship in general (Storm Lake is full of locally owned small businesses), are all careers with professional trajectories that can be done from a town like Storm Lake.

    Our team is trying to understand more about how the community can communicate all of this to their local students, most of whom are the kids of low-skilled workers in service industries or meatpacking plants who would be the first in their families to seek education beyond high school. Iowa 4-H and its local staff have been amazing to work with because they have a high level of trust with the local K-12 students and their families, so one outcome for the planning grant is to start with a group of students who already work with our local partners and build out from there. Those kids tell their friends, their siblings, and the access to us and the resources of our university open many doors for them, and demystify the process of applying to and finding funding to attend college. We already see positives in this regard and we are excited to host students this summer for a multi-day event on campus. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Hasan Sungur

    Hasan Sungur

    Graduate Student
    May 11, 2022 | 10:22 p.m.

    Fascinating project.

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
    Evrim Baran
  • Icon for: Anasilvia Salazar

    Anasilvia Salazar

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 15, 2022 | 07:22 p.m.

    Thank you, Hasan!

  • Icon for: David Campbell

    David Campbell

    Facilitator
    Program Officer, retired
    May 12, 2022 | 11:34 a.m.

    This could be a great model for other rural communities.  Do you have buy-in from the meat packing industry?  Are there other technology industries that could buy in to the project? Have they helped you with curriculum development so that students who graduate high school or the community college could enter the work force "ready to go" without much additional training?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Eliot Winer

    Eliot Winer

    Co-Presenter
    Director and Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 12:12 p.m.

    This project is part of a larger effort at reinvigorating rural communities. While we don't have a partnership with the meat packing plant in Storm Lake, we do have partnerships set up with other industries that have factories in rural communities in Iowa as well as surrounding states. We are also working with a local community college, in collaboration with these industries, to figure out curriculum that can be used for existing work forces, as well as new students, to get them skills for "future "manufacturing facilities that will entail high end technologies in automation.

    The concept is there would be multiple courses, and levels achieved, in this curriculum. At various levels, industries would then hire them immediately into full-time positions with benefits. The incentive would be to take additional courses to achieve higher levels, and thus higher-paying jobs. The higher levels, of course, educate on additional skill sets beyond traditional manufacturing ones, such as machine learning, optimization, electrochemical and optical sensor technologies, etc.

    We envision this partnership between Iowa State University, Hawkeye Community College, and these local industries has an innovative way to develop the future workforce

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 12, 2022 | 12:11 p.m.

    Thank you for this important work. I, too, am working on a project embracing the co-design process, and I'd be interested in hearing more about what this process has looked like for you so far. What ways have you found to eliciting and building on ideas, as well as ensuring that individuals' voices are being heard, respected, and incorporated into designs? Has/How has co-design shaped what you are designing in any unanticipated ways. Thanks, again. And best wishes with the project.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Ezequiel Aleman

    Ezequiel Aleman

    Co-Presenter
    Research Assistant
    May 12, 2022 | 02:05 p.m.

    Hi Teon! Thanks for your question.

    We are working hard to listen to the needs of our community, but also to make sure different stakeholders feel heard and respected in a participatory design process. 

    Our first workshops focused on framing the challenges the community is experiencing with places and lived experiences to elicit ideas for the co-design process. One activity the educators really enjoyed was a community mapping exercise, where they explored STEM connections with place in the Storm Lake community. In our teachers' workshop, we used a map to identify organizations, people, natural spaces, and cultural elements present in the community. We are planning to do a similar activity with the students to analyze how their lived experiences differ. Using this data, we are planning to identify what assets the community has identified to incorporate them into our co-design process. 

    In our project, co-design involves having individuals from different groups engage in the design process. I believe framing the problem adequately is crucial for co-design as individuals' expectations regarding a given design can be wildly different. By looking into the overlapping and non-overlapping perceptions from stakeholders in what STEM means for the SL community, we can engage in designing learning experiences and spaces that can be meaningful for them. 

     

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anindita Das
    Teon Edwards
  • Icon for: Ben Pullen

    Ben Pullen

    Informal Educator
    May 13, 2022 | 12:19 p.m.

    I want to say thank you to everyone who has watched the video and engaged in this conversation.  An even greater thank you to those involved with the research team!  I am grateful that Iowa 4-H was invited to be part of this interesting research, and am exited to see the results/potential application.

    I do want to highlight the importance of something Kimberly said in her comment above; "we did not assume that we knew what the community would want, what meets their expectations for students."  As a former educator in Storm Lake, I can say this is of tremendous importance in building these partnerships, and an approach that is greatly appreciated.  

    Great work all, and looking forward to future partnership opportunities. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Anasilvia Salazar
    Anindita Das
  • Icon for: Evrim Baran

    Evrim Baran

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 17, 2022 | 09:30 a.m.

    Thank you Ben. We do value the co-discovery process with our partners (designing with as opposed to designing for). Our team includes researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds (design, engineering, educational technology, and youth development) that contribute to the use of such techniques and add to the richness of our discussions. 

  • To post to this discussion go to