Equitably Consequential Making among Youth from Historically Marginalized Communities
As part of its overall strategy to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program funds innovative research, approaches and resources for use in a variety of settings. There are few empirical studies of sustained youth engagement in STEM-oriented making over time, how youth are supported in working towards more robust STEM related projects, on the outcomes of such making experiences among youth from historically marginalized communities, or on the design features of making experiences which support these goals. The project plans to conduct a set of research studies to develop: a theory-based and data-driven framework for equitably consequential making; a set of related individual-level and program-level cases with exemplars (and the associated challenges) that can be used by researchers and practitioners for guiding the field; and an initial set of guiding principles (with indicators) for identifying equitably consequential making in practice. The project will result in a framework for equitably consequential making with guiding principles for implementation that will contribute to the infrastructure for fostering increased opportunities to learn among all youth, especially those historically underrepresented in STEM.
Through research, the project seeks to build capacity among STEM-oriented maker practitioners, researchers and youth in the maker movement around equitably consequential making to expand the prevailing norms of making towards more transformative outcomes for youth. Project research will be guided by several questions. What do youth learn and do (in-the-moment and over time) in making spaces that work to support equity in making? What maker space design features support (or work against) youth in making in equitably consequential ways? What are the individual and community outcomes youth experience in STEM-making across settings and time scales? What are the most salient indicators of equitably consequential making, how do they take shape, how can these indicators be identified in practice? The project will research these questions using interview studies and critical longitudinal ethnography with embedded youth participatory case study methodologies. The research will be conducted in research-practice partnerships involving Michigan State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and 4 local, STEM- and youth-oriented making spaces in Lansing and Greensboro that serve historically underrepresented groups in STEM, with a specific focus on youth from lower-income and African American backgrounds.