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Abstract Title: Making through a lens of culture, power, & equity: Visions for Learning and Teaching in Informal Settings
Abstract: Physics education in informal settings often happens in places that are described as makerspaces or tinkering settings. Claims are made by the branded maker community that the creation of objects with physical and digital tools will provide equitable access for children of all ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to STEM learning that will open career paths  in which they are underrepresented. But these broad claims need a lot of conceptual and pedagogical work to help educators design spaces and activities that shift the nature of learning and teaching within informal settings to be responsive to the needs of all children.

This presentation will consider the questions -What allows the physics of sound to be a material for exploration/investigation within a makerspace that is designed to be equitable and inclusive? How can educators come to think about learning and teaching where equity and science ideas are intertwined?

We will discuss four principles from equity-oriented and making/tinkering research: critical analyses of educational injustice, historicized approaches to making as cross-cultural activity, ongoing inquiry into the sociopolitical values and purposes of making, and explicit attention to pedagogical philosophies and practices (Vossoughi, Hooper, Escude 2016). We will examine two cases that embody some of these principles that can help this community to recognize and design for equitable informal STEM learning environments.  One case is a teaching interaction within an after school program where students are engaged in exploring sound with physical and digital tools. The other is an example of a professional development design that engages both formal and informal educators in grappling with how inquiry-oriented pedagogical structures can become tools for valuing multiple paths of sense making about science ideas.
Abstract Type: Plenary
Room: Ballroom C

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Paula Hooper
Northwestern University