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Board 7: Work in Progress: Toy Adaptation as Engineering Outreach to Diverse High School Students

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Biomedical Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30090

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Molly Y. Mollica University of Washington

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Molly Mollica earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

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Heather A. Feldner University of Washington

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Heather Feldner received her BS in Human Biology and Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Marquette University. She has been a practicing pediatric physical therapist for 16 years, and began teaching in the University of Illinois at Chicago's DPT program in 2010. She became a board certified pediatric clinical specialist in 2012, completed her Assistive Technology Certificate from UIC in 2015, and earned her PhD in Disability Studies from UIC in 2016. She joined the University of Washington's Department of Mechanical Engineering as a postdoctoral researcher in September of 2016. Heather has a special interest in user-centered design and participatory research, and has been a lab member of the GoBabyGo program, which creates custom safety and accessibility modifications to commercially available battery powered toy ride-on cars for children with disabilities, since 2012. Heather's research focuses on investigating the impact of traditional and alternative mobility technologies on the experiences of people with disabilities and their families, and the direct and indirect influences of physical and social environments, technology design, industry, and disability orientation on those experiences.

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Shawn Israel PT, DPT University of Washington

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Shawn Israel, PT, DPT is a pediatric physical therapist and clinical teaching therapist at the University of Washington in the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. She has experience working with individuals with a wide variety of neurological diagnoses across their lifespan and feels strongly that everyone should have access to toys, mobility and their environment to enhance their play skills and social interactions.

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Anat Caspi P.E. University of Washington

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Dr. Anat Caspi is director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology housed by the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Caspi received her PhD from the Joint Program in BioEngineering at University of California, Berkeley & UCSF. Her research interests are in the areas of ubiquitous computing and data science. Caspi is interested in ways by which collaborative commons and cooperation can challenge and transform computing disciplines.

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Katherine M. Steele University of Washington

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Dr. Steele is an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. She received her BS in engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She is the head of the Ability & Innovation Lab, dedicated to designing new tools and techniques to improve human ability through engineering, and also a leader of AccessEngineering to enable individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in engineering. Dr. Steele previously worked in multiple hospitals as an engineer, including The Children's Hospital of Colorado, Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

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Dianne Grayce Hendricks University of Washington

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Dr. Dianne G. Hendricks is a Lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, where she leads the Bioengineering Outreach Initiative, Bioengineering Honors Program, and the Bioengineering Summer Camp in Global Health. She holds a PhD in Genetics from Duke University, and BS in Molecular Biology and BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Hendricks’ teaching activities at the University of Washington include introductory and honors courses in bioengineering, tissue and protein engineering lab courses, bioengineering ethics, leadership, and bioengineering capstone writing and design courses. She is committed to enhancing diversity and inclusivity in engineering, and creating opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in K-12 educational outreach. Dr. Hendricks has over a decade of experience leading educational outreach and summer camp programs at both Duke University and the University of Washington.

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Abstract

The well-documented lack of diversity in engineering, coupled with the growing evidence that diverse teams are more successful, begs for the development of effective educational outreach tools that appeal to students from underrepresented groups in engineering - including females, racial/ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, and first-in-family college students. Building on our previous work-in-progress [1], here we describe an educational outreach initiative that aims to engage underrepresented students by highlighting the positive societal impact of biomedical engineering.

Service learning combines curriculum presentation with community service and has been shown to enhance classroom learning, student retention, and personal and professional skills [2-5]. Additionally, research has found that making a positive impact on society is especially important to underrepresented students in career selection [6-7] and engineering courses with clear service connections commonly attract students from underrepresented groups [8-9].

Here we describe our implementation of educational outreach activities focused on the hands-on, real-world engineering application of toy adaptation for children with developmental or physical disabilities. Toy adaptation involves modifying the toy’s activation to enhance the child’s interaction with the toy. The process includes deconstructing a toy, examining its circuit, and soldering an alternative activation switch. This involves conceptual and technical learning such as basic circuitry, hand tool usage, reverse engineering, and soldering techniques, while it also provides a concrete example of how bioengineers may benefit their communities.

Utilizing toy adaptation in outreach is a novel application of this universal design strategy. Previous work by the Toy Adaptation Program at Ohio State University [10-12] utilized toy adaptation as a method to increase first-year engineering students’ understanding of the field of engineering, and the connection between engineering and society [10]. The novelty of our work is the implementation of toy adaptation as an outreach tool to engage underrepresented students who have not yet selected engineering as a course of study or career path.

Assessment includes both qualitative and quantitative self-reported data obtained by surveys after outreach events. These events occurred both during the academic year as well as at summer camps and they primarily focused on underrepresented students in engineering at the middle and high school level. We found that students overwhelmingly agreed that they enjoyed toy adaptation. When asked on a Likert scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, students responded to the statement, “I enjoyed toy adaptation” with an average of 4.76. In the open response section, students often commented that they enjoyed the “hands-on” aspect, “working with a team”, and that the final product “benefits people.” Preliminary data also show that female students may especially understand the impact of toy adaptation. When responding to the statement, “Toy adaptation is valuable,” female student responses averaged 4.91 while male student responses averaged 4.46 and this difference was statistically significant (p = 0.017) when tested with a Mann-Whitney U Test.

In conclusion, we describe an effort to engage a more diverse body of bioengineers through the novel use of toy adaptation in a bioengineering outreach initiative that highlights the positive impact of bioengineering. Our efforts are targeted to underrepresented local middle/high school students and community college students who are preparing to make decisions about their future educational and career paths.

[1] 2017 ASEE Annual Conference paper, anonymized for blind review [2] Oakes, W., Duffy, J., Jacobius, T., Linos, P., Lord, S., Schultz, W. W., & Smith, A. (2002). Service-learning in engineering. In Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual (Vol. 2, pp. F3A-F3A). IEEE. [3] Duffy, J., Tsang, E., & Lord, S. Service-learning in engineering: What why and how? ASEE Annual Conference 2000. [4] Eyler, J., & Giles Jr, D. E. (1999). Where's the Learning in Service-Learning? Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. [5] Sax, L. J., Astin, A. W., & Avalos, J. (1999). Long-term effects of volunteerism during the undergraduate years. The review of higher education, 22(2), 187-202. [6] National Academy of Engineering (2008). Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering. [7] Google (2014). Women Who Choose Computer Science – What Really Matters. [8] Davis, R. E., Krishnan, S., Nilsson, T. L., & Rimland, P. F. (2014). IDEAS: Interdisciplinary Design Engineering and Service. International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, 165-179. [9] Rader, C., Hakkarinen, D., Moskal, B. M., & Hellman, K. (2011, March). Exploring the appeal of socially relevant computing: are students interested in socially relevant problems?. Proceedings of the 42nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 423-428). ACM. [10] Mollica, M.Y., Kajfez, R.L., Riter, E.R., West, M., Vuyk, P., Community Service as a Means of Engineering Inspiration: An Initial Investigation into the Impact of the Toy Adaptation Program. ASEE Annual Conference 2016. [11] Stavridis, O.M., Kajfez, R.L., Riter, E.R., Mollica, M.Y., Modeling real-world objects: connecting SolidWorks to toy adaptation. Frontiers in Education Conference 2016. [12] Kajfez, R., Vuyk, P., Mollica, M., Riter, E., West, M., Toy Adaptation Program Workshop: Enriching First-Year Engineers by Teaching the Electronic Toy Adaptation Process. First Year Engineering Experience ASEE Conference 2016.

Mollica, M. Y., & Feldner, H. A., & Israel, S., & Caspi, A., & Steele, K. M., & Hendricks, D. G. (2018, June), Board 7: Work in Progress: Toy Adaptation as Engineering Outreach to Diverse High School Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30090

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