June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Minorities in Engineering
24.915.1 - 24.915.12
MOTIVATE: Bringing Out the Fun with 3D Printing and E-Textiles for Middle- and High-School GirlsWomen, and more specifically, minority women, are largely underrepresented in computing. Withrespect to African Americans (AAs) as underrepresented minorities in Computer Science (CS), the mostrecent data available reveals that in the US, 3.6% of undergraduate, 1.6% of master’s, and 1.2% ofdoctoral degrees were conferred to AAs. Though it is expected that fewer individuals actually pursue aterminal degree in CS, it is clear that at every point in the pipeline, the number of AAs isdisproportionately low when compared to their percentage in the US. This lack of ethnic diversity withingender diversity compounds the exigent need to promote and support minority women into the S&Epipeline.In this paper, we describe the MOTIVATE framework, developed to expose AA girls to CS, through, a summer program for middle- and high-school girls. The MOTIVATEframework integrates five specific areas known to impact students’ success as follows: (1) technical skilldevelopment, (2) parental support, (3) non-technical skill development, (4) mentoring, and (5) informaleducation. The framework was implemented in the 2013 offering of a summer program for middle- andhigh-school girls at XXX. The program enrolled 17 girls from grades 6-11 and engaged them inactivities such as e-textiles, 3D printing, and mobile app development.The recent popularity of the Maker or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement as a method of attractingstudents to STEM includes the use of hands-on, construction, and crafting activities. Though theseactivities are easily (clearly) connected to STEM, it is possible to complete DIY activities without theuse of a computer or computing tools. We included creative DIY activities that combine the technicaland non-technical skills that are part of the MOTIVATE framework. We describe two DIY projects thatmake explicit the creativity and fun in computing. We describe our use of E-textile projects that includetextiles and electronics that can be easily sewn into fabrics and the use of CAD software and 3Dprinting.Our results show that we were able to change the girls’ perceptions about computing and our analysesindicate that the girls enjoyed the computing activities. For example, when asked, “Do you think CS isfun?” two out of nine students indicated ‘No’ on the pre survey and only one of the nine indicated ‘No’on the post survey. One respondent who indicated ‘No’ on the pre-survey wrote, “Not really, because Idon't have much interest and it frustrates me. I do think it is cool, but I'd rather not do it.” However onthe post-survey she wrote, “Kind of. The things you do are [sic] fun but the process is challenging forme.”. Our goal was to make computing accessible and to remove the mystique and “this is hard” imageof CS. By making explicit of the fun and creative aspects of computing we were able to use theMOTIVATE framework to introduce students to computer science through the use of computing andonline tools to create tangible objects rather than to create artifacts that exist only online.
Brown, Q., & Burge, J. D. (2014, June), MOTIVATE: Bringing Out the Fun with 3-D Printing and E-Textiles for Middle- and High-School Girls Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22848
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