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Title: Space Public Outreach Team: Successful STEM Engagement on Complex Technical Topics
It is the responsibility of today’s scientists, engineers, and educators to inspire and encourage our youth into technical careers that benefit our society. Too often, however, this responsibility is buried beneath daily job demands and the routines of teaching. Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) programs leverage a train-the-trainer model to empower college students to make meaningful impacts in their local communities by engaging and inspiring younger students through science presentations. SPOT takes advantage of the excitement of space and the natural way college students serve as role models for children. The result is a win-win program for all involved. This paper describes the original Montana SPOT program, presents analyses demonstrating the success of SPOT, gives overviews of program adaptations in West Virginia and with the NANOGrav collaboration, describes how college student presenters are able to share complex topics, and discusses the importance of college student role models. We hope that our experiences with SPOT will help others implement similar strategies in their own communities.
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1944412
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10197170
Journal Name:
The Journal of computers in mathematics and science teaching
Volume:
39
Issue:
4
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
339-359
ISSN:
0731-9258
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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    Computer programming is rarely accessible to K–12 students, especially for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Middle school age is a transitioning time when adolescents are more likely to make long-term decisions regarding their academic choices and interests. Having access to productive and positive knowledge and experiences in computer programming can grant them opportunities to realize their abilities and potential in this field.

    Purpose/Focus of Study:

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    Research Design:

    This longitudinal case study focused on analyzing the experiences and shifts (if any) of students who participated as cofacilitators in AOLME. Their narratives were analyzed collectively, and our analysis describes the experiences of the cofacilitators as a single case study (with embedded units) of what it means to be a bilingual cofacilitator in AOLME. Data included individual exit interviews of the six cofacilitators and their focus groups (30–45 minutes each), an adapted 20-item CPM attitude 5-point Likert scale, and self-report from each of them. Results from attitude scales revealed cofacilitators’ greater initial and posterior connections to CPM practices. The self-reports on CPM included two number lines (0–10) for before and after AOLME for students to self-assess their liking and knowledge of CPM. The numbers were used as interview prompts to converse with students about experiences. The interview data were analyzed qualitatively and coded through a contrast-comparative process regarding students’ description of themselves, their experiences in the program, and their perception of and relationship toward CPM practices.

    Findings:

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