Design Squad Global: Research Findings from the Second Round of Implementation
DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL (DSG) is a web-based, mobile-accessible digital hub and outreach initiative that creates new opportunities to empower middle school youth to solve real-world problems and understand the impact of engineering in a global context. The project builds on the Design Squad model for engineering education (including a television show and website). The ultimate goals of Design Squad Global are to: (1) develop innovative ways to incorporate effective engineering education into informal learning environments; (2) inform the field about promising practices in cross-cultural collaboration, and; (3) gain a better understanding of how engineering activities can successfully enable middle school students to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world. DSG emphasizes the development of participants’ global competency – meaning the ability to communicate and collaborate with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.
A major way in which the project is reaching these goals is through DSG Clubs, an afterschool program for students aged 10-13 that is implemented using a Club Guide and an international partnership with another club in a different country. Research was a core component of the development of the DSG club. The program was implemented in two pilot rounds of seven pairs of clubs, with each round researched to better understand processes and outcomes. These findings led to recommendations for improvement to the model, in an iterative cycle of learning and improvement. This formative research study describes the findings from the second round of pilot testing.