One Community, One Challenge: Pop-Up STEAM Studios
As part of its overall strategy to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program funds innovative resources for use in a variety of settings. The project will develop and research, as a feasibility study, a series of art-inclusive, pop-up Science, Art, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEAM) makerspaces in a high-poverty, primarily rural county in Oklahoma. A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a library, school or other community space for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to low tech tools. The makerspaces will be temporary workshops that are developed through a community planning process that assesses the needs and interests of citizen stakeholders. Scientists, artists and other experts will work together with the community to design a series of thematic pop-up makerspace sessions. The project builds a collaborative infrastructure and capacity for small and rural communities by bringing together resource providers and experts to identify and design science-oriented challenges. Long-term benefits for participants include sustained focus on new approaches for civic engagement through STEAM-driven making which could foster new role identities pertaining to science and art. The project deliverables include: (1) a theoretically informed model to build a community's capacity to collaborate toward fostering civic engagement through science-oriented pop-up makerspaces, (2) Pop-Up STEAM Studio makerspaces, (3) training for pop-up facilitators, and (4) visual documentation panels and web-based digital stories to communicate progress and process.
Project research will enhance knowledge-building of the process of developing a science-oriented community challenge that embraces STEAM and making. A key contribution of the proposed project will be the generation of insights into how community members establish consensus around the joint goal of designing, documenting, and facilitating integrated art and science making activities to address and communicate the challenge. Research will focus on the roles participants take when engaging in the making process through an identity-based model of motivated action. Analysis of advisory board meeting artifacts and focus group data will allow the researchers to identify processes of negotiation and consensus building at the collective level and in relation to each issue to which the group attends. Emergent themes (such as negotiation, shared learning, idea or project revisions, diverse perspectives coming to consensus, etc.) will be examined across individual and group units of analysis, from all data sources, and through the congruent theoretical lenses of role identity theory and negotiated learning pedagogy. The research outcomes should inform efforts to build infrastructure and capacity of community resources by providing a model for developing collaborative pop-up makerspaces.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
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