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Wednesday, August 1 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Hall of Failure

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The Rise and Fall of Digital Corps
Ani Martinez, Thomas Akiva

The Digital Corps (DC) was a county-wide initiative in 2014-2015 to equip digital savvy adults to conduct technology-based workshops with youth ages 9-12 in existing out-of-school time programs. The program boasted numerous successes: DC trained and deployed 82 adult corps members to 53 locations, engaging over 500 young people, and provided outreach to another 1,000 children and families through events. Moreover, a majority of participating organizations reported an increase in youth participation; these were very cool workshops in robotics, programming, and web development! However, the program was discontinued after a very short time and we seek to understand why. Possible reasons include the cost (e.g., paying educators a livable wage) and the nature and infrastructure of OST (e.g., irregular attendance). Perhaps we failed to communicate the successes well. We hope that understanding what happened will help us and others learn from this initiative.

Learning on the Move: Lessons from a Research-Practice Partnership Focused on Evaluating, Assessing, and Reflecting on Connected Learning
Nathan Phillips, Virginia Killian Lund, Wendy Gonzales, Emma Martell, David Bild, Ilana Bruton, Ani Schmidt, Jaclyn Carmichae, Shawndra Allen

In this Hall of Failure presentation our team of practitioners and researchers will discuss lessons learned from four years of design and iteration of a set of tools, methods, and activities for evaluating, assessing, and reflecting on connected learning “on the move.” Our development and implementation team consists of educators from a zoo, a nature museum, an after-school STEM initiative for middle school and high school girls of color, a history museum, and university-based learning scientists and researchers. Recently, we have completed a macro-cycle of iteration by producing and distributing a published facilitator guide so that teachers and mentors can utilize these tools and activities in their own work with youth and adult learners. The completion of this four-year cycle of iteration and design affords us an ideal opportunity to share what worked and didn’t work across our collaboration.

The School of Hard Rocks: Lessons Learned From Our Youth Digital Music Program
Tom Swanson

When students told us they wanted to learn about digital music production we were excited to explore how advanced technology could be used to empower creativity. We believed this class would be a huge hit, but we were wrong. It turned out to be far more difficult to engage students than we anticipated given the popularity of the subject among youth. We tried many different class formats and tools, yet still failed to get consistent attendance and follow-through. When things worked, the outcomes were fantastic, so we kept at it and iterated on our approach.

Today, we've used those hard lessons to build a program that's finally growing. As audio technology becomes more available, our goal is to share our mistakes to ensure that other educators can leverage what we learned and build programs that give students the power and access to be composers.


Thomas Akiva

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Education
avatar for David Bild

David Bild

Coordinator, Teen and Young Adult Programs, Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Ilana Bruton

Public Programs Manager, Chicago History Museum
avatar for Jaclyn Carmichael

Jaclyn Carmichael

Program Director, Project Exploration
avatar for Virginia Killian Lund

Virginia Killian Lund

PhD Candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago
I'm interested in young people's composing processes with media, and with the communities and practices that support their work.
avatar for Ani Martinez

Ani Martinez

Field Director, Remake Learning
avatar for Nathan Phillips

Nathan Phillips

Assistant Professor, UIC College of Education

Ani Schmidt

Public Programs Coordinator, Chicago History Museum
avatar for Tom Swanson

Tom Swanson


Wednesday August 1, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
Media Lab - Lecture Hall, 6th Floor, Building E14 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA