Using Data Visualizations to Empower Informal STEM Educators from on Vimeo.

Caitlin Martin, Elaina Boytor, Denise Nacu, Jim Sandherr submitted this video to the National Science Foundation STEM for All 2016 Video Showcase in May 2016.

Educators working in informal learning spaces must attend to learning goals without the structures provided by a formal learning institution. While the need for STEM learning opportunities in informal environments is increasingly apparent, educators and mentors in these spaces often do not have STEM content specialization or expertise. To address these challenges, as part of work led by PIs Nichole Pinkard and Denise Nacu, we are co-designing data visualization dashboards with mentors in an informal, blended learning environment.

The Digital Youth Divas (DYD) program is designed to engage girls in urban Chicago, especially those from underserved communities, with computational circuitry and programming through fabrication and design. DYD, run by the Digital Youth Network, incorporates project-based learning and an online platform. Five program mentors engage with the girls in the face-to-face classroom each week and two mentors are responsible for online assessment of computational projects submitted to the online space.

In this video we share educator data dashboards that pull live data from the online DYD platform, displaying metrics to help mentors manage their blended-learning spaces and support their young STEM learners. We focus on sociotechnical dimensions, including platform features and technical capabilities that support mentorship in informal STEM communities alongside authentic DYD mentors practices, intentions, and challenges. Together, researchers, designers, and practitioners are determining which metrics are useful in this context, how information should be displayed in order to be most effective, and how mentors use the data to support individual girls in their STEM learning trajectories, and build community engagement and success across the cohort.

Link to NSF Video Showcase website.