Mobile Design Labs

Project: Research project

Project Details


In many neighborhoods of Chicago, Dallas, and Minneapolis, youth do not have access to opportunities that can help them develop skills needed for success in school and in life. For example, in Chicago, youth living in Bronzeville are searching for coding, gaming, and music creation programs in their neighborhoods. What they find is that 85% percent of the available programs are sports-related, while coding, design, and making represent 1%. The mobile hubs will address these programmatic gaps and provide new opportunities. Also, the mobile design hubs will enable cities to build awareness and participation with youth and parents for its Cities of Learning and similar infrastructures. In addition, the ability to ignite a community of practice will allow for DYN to engage with cities, provide professional development, share and scale best practices, leverage knowledge and resources, address challenges, innovate and collaborate, and document the development of knowledge and data. Program Description The mobile hubs will bring trained mentors, technology, and other resources, during the summer months and beyond, to the places where youth live and learn. The initiative fills gaps in opportunity and equity by deploying computer science resources in targeted neighborhoods, reaching youth who lack access to computational making activities supported by trained mentors. In addition, DYN’s mobile hub curriculum of coding, design, and making can enhance Computer Science for All (CS4All) initiatives in Chicago and around the country. An expanded grant from Best Buy will allow for the mobile hub to be “on the road” year-round and available for both in- and out-of- school learning, beyond an out-of- school summer model. More mobile hub programs and camps also mean additional ways to engage parents around the importance of coding, design, and making, and around specific City of Learning initiatives. Implementation Plan In each city (i.e., Chicago, Dallas, and Minneapolis), funding will support the development of a two-pronged strategy to bring mobile digital hubs to youth in under-resourced neighborhoods. Hubs will visit youth and parents in multiple locations to provide extended learning “camps” and brief “pop-up” introductions to coding, design and making. Youth will collaborate, share, and iterate with support of their peers and mentors, while earning digital badges that showcase participation and accomplishments. Implementation in each city will begin in February 2017 and continue in Chicago through June, 2018. In November, a mobile van webpage will launch. In December 2017, DYN will host a meeting for Dallas and Minnesota teams to discuss their initiatives and explore potentials collaborations. Sustainability In all cities, the lead implementing organizations have begun to develop partnerships to leverage and sustain mobile hub initiatives. The community of practice work will document, support, and provide best practices, outcomes, and lessons learned to communicate accomplishments and opportunities. In Chicago, DYN will partner with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Chicago Parks District to bring the mobile hubs to CHA sites throughout Chicago. Measurement Mobile labs in all cities are designed to benefit the communities by bringing vital coding, design, and making activities to youth who live in underserved neighborhoods. Youth in these communities are specifically targeted because data shows they do not have access to these resources. Participation will be documented by City of Learning platforms in Chicago and Dallas,
Effective start/end date9/1/178/31/18


  • Best Buy Foundation (letter 8/3/18)


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