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Thursday, October 6 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Making a Difference: Design strategies to engage underrepresented communities in maker spaces

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Despite increasing research that making matters--including evidence that through making activities youth take on new identities as capable creators, innovators, and producers, develop technological fluencies, and widen their knowledge network and increase social capital--and despite increasing opportunities for making in different kinds of learning environments, there remain stark inequities in terms of who is participating. This panel brings together researchers and designers to share strategies for recruiting, engaging, and sustaining participation in material and digital making opportunities from youth from underrepresented communities. Importantly, these design ideas take an asset perspective, focusing on learning from, building on, and designing with focal communities. The panel will consist of four presentations and time for moderated questions and discussion. Each presentation will share their focal design challenge, their unique strategy (representing levels of community, family, individual participation), and successes and challenges related to implementation:

1. Dispatching mobile vans to activate communities in urban computing deserts: Mapping code-related, face-to-face programs Chicago revealed the majority to be located downtown in a nonresidential area. Neighborhoods of working-class families or families of color had few similar opportunities, and there were numerous barriers to those youth accessing opportunities downtown. In an effort to combat these “computing deserts,” DYN formed the Mobile Van initiative to bring trained mentors, laptops, and digital making curriculum to community centers that serve traditionally underrepresented families located in areas with little to no informal computing opportunities.

2. Supporting teaching artists as facilitators in public museum spaces: As we think about designing for public participation in our museum makerspace, MAKESHOP, we strongly focus on the quality of facilitation and think about productive professional support for facilitation. We currently are engaged collaboratively with makerspace teaching artists to identify and reflect on productive facilitation and learner interactions. For maker-based learning experiences, in general, we think that the need for facilitation to respond to local audiences, resources, and priorities is vital for issues of equity and inclusion.

3. Building family engagement through creative workshops with parents: Parents can play many roles to support their children's pathways through making opportunities. In Family Creative Learning workshops, we invite children and parents to create and learn together using technologies like Scratch programming language and MaKey MaKey invention kit. Families build coding and electronic projects, and build relationships and identities as creators and makers. We collaborate with community-based organizations who serve low-income communities to ensure the workshops are relevant and meaningful to families in their communities.

4. Designing recruitment flyers and dispatch channels that acknowledge the needs and goals of diverse families: To truly broaden participation, we need to not only design quality programs, but also work to develop and understand recruiting strategies that can encourage young people and families who are not already engaged to participate. The specifics of such efforts, even for programs that have been successful in recruiting, are often undocumented. We share recommendations and results in this area, including close attention to language and imagery to engage families from non-dominant populations; and redundant, targeted, channels of distribution, utilizing online networks and local organizations.

Thursday October 6, 2016 11:00am - 12:30pm PDT
Emerald Bay D