1. Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh
  2. http://teamthroughmywindow.org/about-our-project/who-are-we
  3. Professor, Principal Investigator
  4. Through My Window
  5. http://www.throughmywindow.org/
  6. Springfield Technical Community College, Smith College, Through My Window
  1. Isabel Huff
  2. http://teamthroughmywindow.org/about-our-project/who-are-we
  3. Program Outreach Coordinator
  4. Through My Window
  5. http://www.throughmywindow.org/
  6. Through My Window
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 11:39 a.m.

    I’m Isabel, outreach coordinator for Through My Window. Feel free to post questions or comments below, or join in by sharing your ideas about the following questions:

    How/why do you think story is a powerful tool for fostering STEM identity? Can you think of a book or other story that shaped the identity you have today?

    Transmedia storytelling—immersive storytelling across different media (books, websites, videos, toys, etc)—is being used in education to increase engagement and improve media literacy. Do you have favorite examples of transmedia resources? How do you think transmedia should be incorporated into education?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    UCSC Foundation Professor of Psychology
    May 16, 2016 | 05:10 p.m.

    I love the use of humor and animation in telling the story of your project! Barbara Rogoff

  • Icon for: Tamara Ball

    Tamara Ball

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 06:28 p.m.

    While my own understanding of the research is minimal, I am aware that there is a strong literature developing around the “narrative structure” of knowledge, knowledge-building and knowing. There is also literature that discusses “science as storytelling”. This project seems to be tapping into that work but it is not clear if it is intentionally or not. I am curious to know more about what you are finding out about the importance of narrative and how immersion in a narrative impacts STEM learning. You allude to it – when you say it provides the context but I would love to hear more about how you see this all working together.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 10:03 a.m.

    Hi Tamara! Yes, the use of narrative/story is absolutely intentional. One of the major theories we’re exploring through our work is called Imaginative Education, developed by Kieran Egan at Simon Fraser University. Imaginative Education involves using developmentally appropriate stories to engage students’ emotions and help them learn more deeply. In addition, stories provide context by illustrating the meaning of the content. For example, in the Talk to Me novel, readers see that engineering design is important because it’s the way the characters find a solution and solve a crime. Artificial intelligence is important because it helps Maddie, a character with a real anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism, feel comfortable enough to talk. Does that make sense? Let me know if you have other questions about this!

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 10:24 a.m.

    I had a chance to look at your video last year and read the novel. It’s good to see that the project continues to grow through the combination of Imaginative Education and Knowledge Building. The Talk to Me storyline offers many entry points for engaging diverse students . What would you say are the most important challenges you have faced in putting together the various elements of the project and meshing IE with KB? Translating IE and KB theories into concrete elements of the program must have involved many trial and error efforts. How did you involve your target audience in sorting this out and seeing what works best? What types of research and evaluation are you conducting as the program matures?

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:35 a.m.

    Hi Vivian! We remember your great comments and questions from last year—thank you! IE tends to be comparatively easy to implement because it’s fun and because any topic can be woven into an exciting story. On the other hand, KB is more challenging because it requires educators and facilitators to relinquish control of the conversation. They have to pose a question and then leave it open to exploration and discussion by students. This is difficult—especially for educators with no background in engineering—because there’s the unknown of where the conversation will lead. The good news is, as other presenters of story-based projects have also said, is that the use of IE/story helps educators feel more comfortable approaching the often unfamiliar topic of engineering.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:35 a.m.

    We work closely with educators implementing our materials to get their feedback on implementing KB specifically and Through My Window as a whole (another challenge here is the wide variety of afterschool programs and formal classrooms out there). Those who have allowed students to explore open-ended questions like those posed in the novel, online learning adventures, and offline enrichment activities have been impressed by students’ level of engagement and sophisticated discourse. We have also used educator feedback to improve our offline enrichment activities and improve the design and functionality of our upcoming learning adventures.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:55 a.m.

    Our student surveys indicate that they finish the program better understanding the breadth of what engineers do, that they’ve learned a lot about artificial intelligence and design, and that they might consider becoming engineers. I hope this provides some response to your questions. Please feel free to ask more!

  • Icon for: Catherine McCulloch

    Catherine McCulloch

    Project Director
    May 21, 2016 | 10:51 a.m.

    Isabel,
    Thank you for sharing this video and project work. Having recently reported on interviews and survey results of engineering education stakeholders in Massachusetts, I know that there is not only a lack of educator confidence about teaching engineering in the K-12 setting, but there is also a general lack of agreement about what engineering education is or isn’t. Your work will help address those issues!

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 23, 2016 | 10:02 a.m.

    Thank you so much, Catherine! We’d love to hear more about your work and impression of the K-12 landscape in Massachusetts!

  • Icon for: Catherine McCulloch

    Catherine McCulloch

    Project Director
    May 23, 2016 | 10:12 a.m.

    Sure. The report can be found here: http://ceeo.tufts.edu/research/projectsMEIDC.htm. Beth was one of our interviewees!

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 12:07 p.m.

    Looking forward to your second novel and more learning activities. Your project certainly makes engineering come alive. Will you be following the participants over time to get a sense of how the program has impacted their skills, attituds, course taking, and plans?

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 05:11 p.m.

    Thank you, Vivian! We don’t currently have a way of tracking participants over time (in part because we’re working with so many different schools/programs/settings), although it would be great if we could implement something like that in the future. For now, the best we have is our pre- and post-surveys.

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Senior Science Educator
    May 18, 2016 | 04:58 p.m.

    I’ve been part of several projects that address student “talk” in science classrooms, especially at points where students design investigations or make meaning of their findings. Many elementary teachers do not have deep science experience and are uneasy facilitating student discourse around question that are “open” in contrast to “right answer” questions. Have you developed or found resources that you especially like that support teachers who are trying to “relinquish control of the conversation?”

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 05:25 p.m.

    Hi Sally—great question! We don’t have any specific resources to support teachers in that regard. However, we dedicate time to this issue in our professional development sessions with educators. We try to engage educators in the idea that engineering is as much about open-ended thinking, creativity, and innovation as it is about math and science, and that seems to make them more comfortable because it means they won’t be “wrong,” either. The other thing that seems to help is having the questions we want educators to pose to students based in the context of our novel or online stories. An open-ended question (even if it’s related to engineering) about a story feels more familiar than one solely about engineering.
    We clearly don’t have a silver bullet, and we’d love to hear more about the kinds of work you’ve done regarding student talk in science classrooms!

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 09:31 p.m.

    Hi Sally, after discussing with my co-presenter, there is one other thing we do to help teachers with discussion. We provide them with a “toolbox” of ways to better structure open-ended discussions and make it less daunting.
    One example of this is posing a question and having students use sticky notes to share their ideas and build on others’ ideas. This gives every student—even those who might not be comfortable talking—a chance to respond, and removes the potential for awkward silence that could make teachers uncomfortable.
    Another example is what we call “idea pillars,” which are posters with open-ended questions like “Can __________ think?” and options like washing machines, iPhones, and Google. Students can vote “yes” or “no” using dot stickers. Then, teachers can facilitate discussion using related questions like “What does it mean to think?” and “Is being able to follow programming, like a washing machine does, the same as thinking?”

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2016 | 11:48 a.m.

    The toolbox for open ended discussions is very important to learn (even though sometimes hard to implement:) Do teachers ever invite engineers or others who are comfortable with deeper content into their classrooms to participate in such discussions? Or do you do this in the professional development forums—and then capture the discussion through video or response sets?

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:03 p.m.

    Hi Vivian—another great suggestion! Beth, one of our Co-PIs, is an engineer and one of the leaders of our professional development. We do facilitate discussions in our PD sessions but haven’t filmed them or created response sets. Sometimes we have the author of our novel, who has a masters in engineering, visit local programs and answer students’ questions about both writing and engineering. Throughout all of this, we want teachers to feel empowered even if they aren’t engineers and even if there aren’t engineers in the room.

  • Icon for: Lisa Samford

    Lisa Samford

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 10:23 p.m.

    This is a really engaging project…I’m fascinated with the process of immersive engagement and wonder what YOU are imagining for the future. Have you demo’d any Virtual Reality/Virtual Experience?

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:12 p.m.

    Thank you! For the future of our project, we’re hoping to create a transmedia experience sort of like the 39 Clues series or the Skeleton Creek series, but about engineering! We want to keep a lot of the focus on books. Having books allows English teachers to integrate STEM into their classes and allows educators without extensive STEM background feel more comfortable facilitating an engineering curriculum.
    We haven’t tried virtual reality or virtual experience, but if we had the resources for it, it would be a really interesting thing to explore in the future, especially for our online content!

  • Icon for: Lisa Samford

    Lisa Samford

    Facilitator
    May 21, 2016 | 06:49 p.m.

    I love that you are incorporating the arts and humanities into the process of STEM discovery—an incredibly integrated approach.

  • Icon for: Jim Boyd

    Jim Boyd

    Technology Director
    May 19, 2016 | 06:22 p.m.

    This seems like very different approach to STEM engagement. The artwork on the site is wonderful.
    It’s great that you are including engineering contemporary issues and ethics to the experience. This seems like a great way to show context for real world problem solving. How do you incorporate this into process that the students interact with?

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:42 p.m.

    Thank you, Jim! The artwork is actually done by Smith College undergraduate students, primarily Evanleigh Davis.
    Our online learning adventures allow students to explore the real-world engineering topics through journaling, games, and videos. For example, students watch videos and journal about “What is Intelligence,” learn about algorithms as the basis of classical artificial intelligence by playing number games, and talk to a “chatterbot” to determine whether it’s sophisticated enough to replace Rio’s (one of the characters from the book) brain. Offline activities allow students to further explore engineering topics related to artificial intelligence like facial recognition, coding, and machine learning.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:49 p.m.

    By the end of the calendar year, we hope to have two new learning adventures (with associated offline enrichment activities) available about ethics and engineering design. The design adventure will feature interactive games and journaling about design challenges like AC vs. DC electricity and Apollo 13. The ethics adventure will include cyberbullying as well as professional engineering-related ethical dilemmas.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:51 p.m.

    Let me know if I answered your question or if you’d like any more details!

  • Icon for: Christine Cunningham

    Christine Cunningham

    Founder & Director, Engineering is Elementary
    May 20, 2016 | 01:33 p.m.

    What a great project! Your video communicated your work in a creative and clear way. Do you have any footage of Through My Window being used in the classroom or any student testimonials? It would be interesting to hear from some students.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 12:23 p.m.

    Hi Christine, thanks for your comment! We’re working on some videos—in particular, some educator testimonials—right now, but they’re not quite ready. We’re also working on getting some footage of students and Through My Window being used in classrooms. Your video did a wonderful job incorporating all of those elements!

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 12:25 p.m.

    For now, I can give you some brief quotes of things educators and students have said.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 12:26 p.m.

    Educators:
    “I thought Through My Window was a fabulous program… It engaged my third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders in ways that I had never imagined were possible…For an educator, that’s the most amazing thing; to see children learning and having fun while they do it.”
    “I learned a lot during the program…It changed my view of engineering. I was part of the group of people that thought that engineering was about math and science, about building bridges, and I learned that it’s more than that. You just need to be curious and have some problem-solving skill to be a good engineer.”

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 12:27 p.m.

    Students:
    “The website is a good way to get better at reading and helps you to think in a different way.”
    “It was a great experience and it was super fun and exciting. And it also always left you on a cliffhanger so you had to read on.”
    “I would recommend this to a friend because it was a great way to understand and grasp the idea of engineering while having fun.”
    “I really enjoy Through My Window and it’s a really great website to go on because you learn and have fun at the same time.”

  • Icon for: Christine Cunningham

    Christine Cunningham

    Founder & Director, Engineering is Elementary
    May 23, 2016 | 03:52 p.m.

    Thanks for getting back to me with these great quotes! I’ll keep a look out for those upcoming testimonial videos. Thanks for the kind words about our video as well.

  • Icon for: Geralyn Abinader

    Geralyn Abinader

    Creative Producer
    May 20, 2016 | 01:58 p.m.

    The illustrations in the novel are lovely. Have you tested if one gender responds better than another? Your video is fun too – great way to get out the content.

  • Icon for: Isabel Huff

    Isabel Huff

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 01:04 p.m.

    Hi Geralyn, great question! So far, we’ve seen that both boys and girls are equally engaged by Through My Window, which is what we had intended and hoped would happen. We did this by creating activities that appealed to students’ intelligence, rather than gender stereotypes like pink and princesses (a new trend among STEM resources for girls) or men in hard hats (the route of many traditional STEM resources). We also use elements like mystery, limits and extremes of reality, heroes and heroines, etc that Kieran Egan, developer of Imaginative Education, lays out as particularly appealing to students of this age, regardless of gender.

  • Icon for: Geralyn Abinader

    Geralyn Abinader

    Creative Producer
    May 23, 2016 | 09:57 a.m.

    Thanks. That’s a really interesting route to go. We’re testing right now for some comic illustrations. this is helpful.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.