EAGER: Partnerships for Urban STEM Learning Hubs


PI: Nichole Pinkard
DePaul University
Award Details

This project will begin to build a testbed for research partnerships to design and test cyberlearning systems for smart and connected communities for learning. Doing this type of research requires partnerships between educators, researchers, technologists, and youth, and enduring relationships between organizations within a city. The Digital Youth Network at DePaul designs learning systems aiming to ensure that all youth, especially the underserved, cultivate the critical skills, literacies and agency necessary to have the opportunity to create lives that are engaged, empowered and successful. Building on prior successes of testing its own learning technology initiatives across the city of Chicago, this project will help DYN serve as a testbed for other researchers working towards models of learning with technologies at the scale of a large city. This will allow many more researchers to more effectively build and study innovative ways to deploy technology to empower diverse learners at that scale.

The project will explore the creation of frameworks and protocols to reduce the friction in creating research partnerships to support the creation of ecosystems that support the fluid integration of the technologies, learning frameworks, activity structures, curriculum, and human capital, necessary to support learning across space, place, and time. To achieve this goal, the project will conduct four activities: (1) Playtest and pilot three existing NSF-funded projects with DYN formal and/or informal learning partners, and refine models for testbed partnerships based on these experiences; (2) Develop case studies that shed light on the problems of practice (from diverse stakeholder perspectives) around the creation and implementation of a city-scale testbed within a community learning hub; (3) Develop protocols for differential sharing of student learning data with hub partners and aggregate learning data with the larger cyberlearning community; and, (4) Host a two-part workshop that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, including hub partners, to develop a testable model for the development and implementation of research-instrumented innovation hubs designed to support playtesting of still-in-development NSF interventions with under-resourced communities.