The CME funded Northwestern Computer Science (CS) Opportunity Landscape report revealed the inequity of computer science learning opportunities across Chicago communities. One key contributor to this inequity and opportunity gap is the lack of trained STEAM educators (teachers and mentors), particularly in the areas of coding, digital making, and computational thinking, that can provide engaging STEAM learning activities for all youth, especially youth in grades 6th-8th, who are old enough to move around a community but not old enough to move across the city. STEAMbassadors, a newly-designed initiative that partners researchers and practitioners from City Colleges of Chicago, Northwestern University, and DePaul University, is an ecosystem approach that uses the annual CME CS Opportunity Landscape report to address the lack of STEAM educators highlighted above and two additional challenges to providing high quality, community-based computational STEAM programming in marginalized neighborhoods. The STEAMbassadors Training and Micro-Credentialing Program develops mentor-educators to engage and excite Chicago youth in STEAM, with a particular focus on coding, digital making, and computational thinking. STEAMbassadors are trained to implement learning activities designed to develop STEAM skills, interests, and identities through the provisioning of learning experiences both online and through face-to-face programming in community-based learning spaces such as schools, libraries, and parks across the city. Specially, this initiative will create a STEAM mentor-educator, micro-credentialed pathway that includes post-secondary credit and continuing education opportunities for mentors in and into the formalized teaching field or out-of-school time learning and youth development careers. The program partners with communities that have not historically not had the human capital to provide equitable STEAM learning opportunities and works to find and train young adults already in community colleges to serve as mentor-educators for STEAM learning and hangout opportunities in community-selected spaces.
|Effective start/end date||6/15/20 → 8/31/21|
- CME Group Foundation (Grant Agreement - 05/06/2020)
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