Sustaining and Expanding Mobile Making in Underserved Communities
This project by California State University San Marcos and their collaborators will expand and continue to innovate on a pilot Mobile Making program with the goal of developing a sustainable, regional model for serving underserved, middle-school aged youth in twelve after-school programs in the San Diego region. Evaluation of the current Mobile Making program has documented positive impacts on participants' interest, self-efficacy, and perception of the relevance of Making/STEM in everyday life, and led to a model for engaging underserved youth in Making. The work will focus on implementing the program model sustainably at greater capacity by increasing the number of undergraduate activity leaders, after-school sites, and level of community engagement. The expanded Mobile Making program is expected to engage ~1800 middle school youth at 12 local school sites, with activities facilitated by ~1020 undergraduate CSU-SM STEM majors. The sites are in ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, with as many as 90% of students at some sites qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. The undergraduate facilitators are drawn from CSU-SM's diverse student body, which includes 44% underrepresented minorities. Outcomes are expected to include increases in the youth participants' interest, self-efficacy, and perception of the relevance of Making/STEM in everyday life. Positive impacts on the undergraduate facilitators will include broadened technical skills, increased leadership and 21st century skills, and increased lifelong interest in STEM outreach/informal science education.
The program is designed to achieve sustainability through innovative means such as involving undergraduate facilitators via Community Service Learning (rather than paid positions), and increased community engagement via development and support of a community of practice including local after-school providers, teachers, Makers, and University members. Evaluation of the program outcomes and lessons learned are expected to result in a comprehensive model for a sustainable, university-based after-school Making program with regional impact in underserved communities. Dissemination to other regions will be leveraged via CSU-SM's membership in the California State University (CSU) system, yielding a potential statewide impact. The support of the CSU Chancellor's Office and input from a CSU implementation group will ensure the applicability of the model to other regional university settings, identify common structural barriers and solutions, and increase the probability of secondary implementations.
This work is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments.