June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Community Engagement Division
26.548.1 - 26.548.19
UCSC, in collaboration with science museums and vocational training centers supportedby the Santa Cruz County Office of Alternative Education launched the ASCENDprogram in fall 2013. ASCEND supports dual avenues for at-risk youth to gain first-handexperience with green technologies and engineering projects considered important to thesustainable development of their surrounding community. Approximately 40 youthapprentices work side-by-side with small teams of undergraduates who are either:designing and building sustainable systems/technologies, or involved in the production of“digital stories” documenting projects as they unfold. Topics range from water to waste-management, renewable energy, advanced energy storage, transportation, and greenbuilding. In summer, partner museums host community events featuring screenings ofstudent-produced digital stories and invite discussion about completed and proposedinnovations.Through comparison of learning outcomes for youth apprentices involved in digital-storytelling versus design-build projects, ASCEND contributes to a growing body ofresearch in learning science on “science as storytelling” and the use of audiovisual mediato support informal STEM education. Evidence for these comparisons is collectedthrough annotated drawing tasks, audio diaries, and interviews that use audiovisual clipsto stimulate recall of particular project tasks. Early findings suggest that youth involved in digital-‐storytelling a) feel greater responsibility towards their projects b) produce equally accurate and more sophisticated problem statements and c) have a better understanding of embedded tradeoffs than their design-‐build counterparts. ASCEND demonstrates how to leverage community initiatives as a means of preparingunderserved youth for STEM-based careers in the “green economy”. It is a model forhow museums together with community organizations can create lasting communityforums that reposition hard-to-reach target audiences and renegotiate normative practicesthat threaten to alienate members of these audiences from STEM practices and that otherscan replicate to leverage the resources that distinguish their own communities.
Ball, T., & Isaacson, M. S. (2015, June), Digital Storytelling for Apprenticeships in Sustainability Science and Engineering Design Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23886
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