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2011 Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn Description

INTRODUCTION. Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn is a socially innovative outof-school-time (OST) program that uses multi-level mentoring to create a critical mass of Boston youth who are fundamentally engaged in emerging science and technology. We believe that this critical mass of 3,000-5,000 youth (5-10% of Boston Public School enrollment) can catalyze cultural change in our community about what is possible to achieve and can increase the number of youth of color who go on to study science, technology and engineering in college. We are also preparing a new generation of inventors who understand that science and engineering innovation should include a social factor. Over the past nine years, we have offered meaningful paid work to over 250 Boston teenagers as they learn, build and teach with emerging science and technology. Through our collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory, these teenage youth teachers are exposed to students, research and resources at the Media Lab as they learn. To gain confidence and competence, youth teachers then work in small teams to build projects that solve a community issue they think important. Finally, these youth teachers serve as ambassadors and mentors, teaching what they have learned about emerging science and technology to elementary and middle school youth at dozens of community organizations across Boston. We also have a successful Hub model to help community organization partners develop their own capacity to offer science and technology programming. Over the past nine years our youth teachers have shared their enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math with nearly 3,000 children at over 25 housing developments, community centers, churches and youth agencies while teaching hands-on project-based science, technology and engineering activities. Our multi-level mentoring approach is based on the belief, that although caring adult mentors can serve important roles, the reality is that peer influence can be equally if not more powerful. When the influence is negative, this power is at the root of many problems facing young people. Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn works to harness this powerful influence positively to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and math. Returning youth teachers mentor and train new youth teachers. All the youth teachers mentor and teach younger children. We also believe that while mentoring certainly happens between individuals, the power of a group to mentor and form a support web can often be crucial in preventing individuals from falling through the cracks. Because our youth face so many challenges, we work to build an inclusive support community of seasoned caring adults, young people, education institutions and community organizations throughout our city. What sets us apart from other science, technology and engineering programs for youth is our approach in connecting “technologies of the 1

For instance we help youth learn strategies for “getting smart. Teach 2 Learn Hubs. Teach 2 Learn can be seen through the number of youth who go on to study STEM fields in college and return to mentor the next generation of teenage youth teachers. Long-term significance can also be seen as our community organization partners develop the education capacity to offer their own programs as Learn 2 Teach. Teach 2 Learn has been written about. significant forces in the media (pervasive negative images of youth) and their schools (low expectations and achievement gaps) present obstacles to their developing self-esteem and to the possibility of their developing a strong belief in their capacity to learn and thrive. not lack of interest. as well as in formal academic efforts like MIT dissertations. allowing access to things that would improve the quality of life and our ability to relate to the planet. Longitudinal research demonstrates that students of color are as likely as white students to show interest in careers in science.1 Boston students are faced with a troubling 1 Schmidt.” help youth develop confidence and a sense of competence. Many of our youth of color are still struggling because the work of the freedom movement is not yet been completed. academic texts and the ACM Tangible Embedded & Embodied Interaction conference BACKGROUND. technology. 2 . “What did you learn that you can teach someone else?” The long term significance of Learn 2 Teach. It can also be seen in the number of youth teachers who return for a second. yet they eventually run into problems that keep them from pursuing those interests. Technologies of the heart are those “technologies” that bring out the best in us. discussed and presented in both popular informal education enterprises such as Make Magazine and TEDKids Brussels. for shortage of black and Hispanic scientists. April 11) “Study blames obstacles.” Technologies of the earth is are the technologies that we use to get and shape resources from the earth in a way that advances our human development.” Chronicle of Higher Education. Learn 2 Teach. third or fourth year and the number of elementary and middle school youth who go on to become the new generation of youth teachers. Peter. Addressing these struggles through “efficacy work” is a big part of what we do. Over 85% of Boston public school students are youth of color. and help youth to see failure as an opportunity. in” with “technologies of the heart. Youth teachers build socially conscious projects and ask the young people they teach. enhance our relationship with each other so that each person’s gifts can be shared. (2006. The second technology of the heart that we instill in youth teachers is the importance of innovating and inventing solutions that address problematic issues in our community and of sharing what they learn. We are now working with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms to replicate our model across the international Fab Lab network. This pipeline of youth and community organizations is preparing the next generation of inventors and STEM mentors. engineering and math.

3 Boston Indicators Project. 100 out of 143 Boston Public schools were underperforming.” “Public. Seymour Papert that focuses on the reconstruction of knowledge. while we support the slow and steady efforts of Boston Public Schools to address these issues. Helping youth succeed through Out of School Time Programs. Dr. January). as well as exposing youth to both “technologies of earth” and “technologies of the heart. failing to meet achievement standards established by the state under No Child Left Behind. Teach 2 Learn. DC: Afterschool Alliance. DC: American Youth Policy 2 Based on a September 2008 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary education report. September). Our youth of color have been historically underrepresented in these fields and represent an untapped potential for rejuvenating them. 6 Afterschool Alliance (2011. Papert to adapt constructionism for K-12 STEM learning. worked with Dr. co-founder of Learn 2 Teach. Learn 2 Teach. 5 American Youth Policy Forum (2006. Teach 2 Learn’s pedagogy combines the learning theory of constructionism with longstanding and successful community and youth development practices. Teach 2 Learn Final Youth Teacher Evaluation Surveys 2007-2011. Constructionism is a learning approach developed by Dr.4 Conventional approaches to STEM learning in schools is not working well for our youth of color. it is unconscionable to stand by and do nothing while our youth suffer in the meantime. Washington. 2 persistent achievement gaps along lines of race/ethnicity and income.” because for the greatest learning to happen.3 a culture that does not reward academic success. STEM Learning in Afterschool: An analysis of Impact and Outcomes.” we can make steps towards closing and filling the gaps in schools and in the STEM field. 3 . including an increase in academic achievement”5 and that attending high quality science. PEDAGOGY. By developing a network of near peer mentors of color. technology and engineering in the United States. David Cavallo. especially by building things. Research findings suggest a correlation between frequent attendance in OST activities and positive outcomes.convergence of underperforming schools. rather than simply the transmission of knowledge devoid of a compelling context. Boston Foundation http://www. technology. engineering and math (STEM) afterschool programs benefits youth through “improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers. Washington. Teach 2 Learn grew out of our belief that. the youth must both share their design process and what they make with others. and higher likelihood of graduation and pursuing a STEM career. Learn 2 Teach.”6 There is an imminent shortage of professionals with skills in science. and lack of access to the latest science and technology ideas and tools. The theory claims that youth learn best as they design and build things that are “public entitities. increased STEM knowledge and skills.bostonindicators.aspx? id=10872 4 Confirmed by Learn 2 Teach.

We have high expectations for our youth teachers and treat them in a professional way. yet undesirable. they Learn 2 Teach and Teach 2 Learn! PROGRAM STAGES. building. technology. being able to both explain and document their work so that others can see how they did it and replicate what they have accomplished. and cultural practices that transmits the seeds of values they can live by. In the past two years. getting and giving helpful feedback to move ideas and projects forward and being able to see failures as important learning opportunities.Constructionism blends well with the practical and research-based youth and community development insights of Learn 2 Teach. Teach 2 Learn operates in three stages that correspond to our approach to building a community of mentors: learning. and ethnic groups. engineering and math at an early age because historically this has not happened. After recruiting and selecting teenage youth teacher/mentors and community organization partners. We know it is important to involve youth of color in learning science. Teach 2 Learn both provides a safe social culture of responsibility that accompanies the meaningful work and community service youth engage in. as well as a diverse level of academic success. And we are not the only ones with high expectations. meaningful work that contributes to the community. Our city-wide vision means that we actively recruit community organization partners to represent the Boston neighborhoods most in need of education resources. We believe that an active practice of inclusion is the most important way to build a community that can both mentor and receive mentoring. schools.March. as 34 former youth teachers contact us each year expressing their desire to return. Learn 2 Teach. We believe that it would be very easy.being the maker of ideas. college mentors and teenage youth teachers occurs from Mid-January through March each year. and introduces them in to a culture of making things --. teaching. we have not needed to recruit college mentors. RECRUITING and SELECTING: January . Learn 2 Teach. We have a responsibility to provide youth with: a psychologically and physically safe environment. Learn 2 Teach. innovations and inventions. to select youth 4 . Teach 2 Learn was designed to reflect the responsibilities of adults to youth advocated by historian-social activist Vincent Harding. Teach 2 Learn co-founder Mel King. We recruit teenage youth teachers who represent Boston’s neighborhoods. who has over 60 years experience in community and youth development practice in Boston and beyond. Teachers get paid to teach. The elementary and middle school youth they teach have high expectations and often confront our youth teachers with questions that motivate them to learn more! Just as our name says. so our youth get paid and we expect them to deliver. Recruiting and selecting community organization partners.

but who show evidence of extraordinary intellectual that are changing how we interact with the world. prospective new youth teachers are greeted by experienced. Our inclusive vision also means that all applicants receive an invitation to a group interview in late March. sponsored by the Museum of Science and the Lemelson-MIT Program. Part of our role as mentors is to expose the youth to interesting places that can shape their interest in science. our new youth teachers spend 4-5 hours every Saturday learning and exploring different emerging technologies and sciences. engineering and math. Youth teachers acquire skills such as design. so mentoring has been integrated into our recruiting method. we use the latest research-based science and technology teaching methods and apply an integrated STEM subject approach. Theoretical information is communicated largely through hand-on project-based activities organized by our staff. We employ a word-of-mouth strategy where a network of over 250 youth workers all over the city are willing to talk to one or two youth they feel would benefit from and be a benefit to Learn 2 Teach. computer programming and algorithm building.strictly on formal educational merit. When arriving at the interview. Teach 2 Learn and personally hand them an application. These youth workers often help with filling out the application and help the teenage youth to both deliver the application and get to their interview. We specifically target the inclusion of youth who may be underachievers in a formal education environment. college mentors (former youth teachers now in college) and exceptional youth teachers (who have been in the program for at least a year). Going to the Museum of Science in Boston twice last year was a powerful experience as fewer than 10% of last year’s youth teachers had ever visited the Museum of Science in Boston. teaching and projects on our wiki (www. Youth also learn web tool development and media techniques as they document their learning. One of the Saturdays is spent participating in a wind-power design challenge with teenagers from across the world called EurekaFest. In addition to the learning sessions. those who are not selected are usually encouraged to apply the next year (and often do). For twelve weeks in April. experimentation. youth teachers take tours of the MIT Media Lab and get exposed to cutting edge research and projects like CityCars. We have learned that many of these youth would not necessarily read or respond to literature about our program. returning youth teachers who explain more about what the program has meant to them and ask the prospective youth teachers a series of questions designed to learn more about each of them. May and June. Learning sessions are alternatively held at the South End Technology Center @ Tent City and at the MIT Media Lab. In the learning sessions. Spring LEARNING: April –June. 5 . Returning youth teachers and staff collaborate to select a cohort of new youth teachers.pbworks. technology.

and a see saw that acts as a game controller for a cooperative online ping pong game that gets more children onto playgrounds by integrating popular gaming into the equipment.” (Williston) Summer PROJECT BUILDING: July – August. an “iBed” mattress pad sewn through with conductive thread and sensors that keeps a wake-up alarm going off until a person actually gets out of bed and stays out (especially important for teenagers who oversleep and are late to school). Each small group designs and builds a project that addresses a problem in the community that they believe is important. Youth work 20-24 hours a week during the summer months. In our final evaluation surveys. Teach 2 Learn. Staff. and “It was different because I learned from my peers who seemed to be more understanding. The projects involve at least three emerging sciences and technologies. They also did not try to establish a hierarchy like classroom teachers. and. that can charge cellphones. Each group presents their daily progress and shares design obstacles both in circle-up meetings and through our documentation wiki in order to receive feedback and suggestions. an interactive “truth chair” to help people explore the truth about gun violence in the community.” (Jenny). when we ask about the difference between how youth teachers learn in school and in Learn 2 Teach. When you learn in school. new youth teachers often report that learning from and getting mentored by peers is important to them. a levee/buoy system that uses infrared lights to detect flood water levels that could help address issues that were associated with Hurricane Katrina. so that people in the community can come see and appreciate what our youth have accomplished. physical programming of inventions that use sensors and actuators. which is equipped with a number of computer-controlled machines that can turn an idea into reality. Youth teachers 6 . graphic design of personalized images and objects. they connect it back to true life and teach you in different ways if you don't understand it. windpower and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. We begin the summer with a three-week session during which youth teachers develop confidence and demonstrate their “hands-on” competency with the emerging sciences and technologies by collaborating in small groups. So in L2TT2L. iPods and gaming devices.The modules we teach include: computer programming through building animations and games. Past youth projects have included an outdoor solar powered charger. alternative energy that includes introduction to power/electricity as well as solar. Typical comments from this year include: “In L2TT2L. On our final evaluation surveys. an urban aquaponic garden and fish system that automatically regulates water flow. the teachers teach you one way and sometimes it doesn't always work. digital design and fabrication using our Fab Lab. I greatly respected that. college mentors and volunteers from the engineering and maker communities are paired with each project group. you learn it from someone your age and its helpful. because they probably experienced the same problems as you. available to anyone in the community. Projects are presented and demonstrated at an end-of-summer project expo.

and to adults like myself who are challenged to learn and grow and be our best as a role model and leader. Teach 2 Learn often offers community organizations their first access to meaningful science and technology programming.” that it is an opportunity for “youth teachers to show off their creations to the rest of the community and give them new ideas. to building and racing model “fuel cell cars. youth teachers “teach to learn. and to “animating my name” with color and music using computer programming. technology. The Hub director reports on the impact of becoming a Learn 2 Teach. saying: “Because of the multi-tier approach of the L2TT2L model. the children and youth teachers “circle up” and answer two questions: “What did you learn today?” and “What can you teach someone else?”. Mentoring of youth teachers continues through the teaching stage. In fact. to a teenage youth teacher gaining confidence as a teacher and forming a new perspective as a student returning to school. we can see change happening from a 9 year old getting excited about the material. our successful Hub at a Boston Center for Youth and Families located in the Archdale Housing Development has developed its own set of community organization partners. Teach 2 Learn Hub. At the end of each learning session.” Summer and Afterschool COMMUNITY TEACHING: July – August and October -.” moving their skills out into 20-25 community organizations to share what they have learned and serve as science. youth receive training in inquirybased teaching and develop 3-4 children’s activities for each module. For the past three years. out of more than 30 community organization partners we have had over the years. engineering and math (STEM) ambassadors to 500+ youth aged 8-13. and youth agencies. 7 . These community organizations include housing developments. to Lasercutting a “glowing name tag” by press-fitting an LED and battery using computer-aided design.” and “putting their minds to work. community centers. only 4 have had the capacity to offer children any other type of STEM enrichment programming themselves. In the last three weeks of the that the project expo is important. Community organization representatives and teams of youth teachers fill out “teaching reports” together to evaluate each learning session. Each day staff and youth teachers also meet to reflect on their teaching and how better to help each other and the young people they serve.April. saying that it “shows kids are thinking ahead for the future. last year the Boston City Council recognized our contribution to the city by presenting our youth teachers and community organization partners with Resolutions of Appreciation at a formal City Hall ceremony. Learn 2 Teach. to graphic designing “your own 3D monster”. The creative activities youth teachers design range from using resistance sensors with computer programs to “play a banana peel”. Later in the summer. churches.” to making “solar squishy circuits” with conductive play dough while learning about renewable energy.

South End News. published a chapter that featured research from Learn 2 Teach. nationally. During the learning and building stages.” He and another former Learn 2 Teach. A copy of our Rubric can be found online at: http://www. Personal Fabrication and Invention. We continue to use many methods of evaluating our Success of the Learn 2 Teach. Teach 2 Learn has been written about.” in the 2008 book. the youth that we serve. and Make Magazine. we have youth teachers fill out a 60+ question final evaluation survey. Teach 2 Learn. One of our core staff. collaborating with Native Alaskan students from a local charter school and professors from the University of Illinois. “Creating an Educational Ecosystem for Design. At a local level. we offer 10 week after school programs taught at selected community organizations. Evaluating Learn 2 Teach. four of our youth teachers traveled to set up a demonstration Fab Lab at the Alaska Federated Natives Convention in 2010. we have begun to seed Learn 2 Teach “Hubs” which develop capacity to offer their own Learn 2 Teach program components. During the teaching phase. Dr. A number of articles have been published about our model and its impact in places like the Bay State Banner. academic texts and the ACM Tangible Embedded & Embodied Interaction conference. we use online surveys and circle-up discussions with youth teachers to help us adjust the program and address any challenges. Teach 2 Learn Coordinator. as well as in formal academic efforts like MIT dissertations. Teach 2 Learn. Shani Dailey. At a national and international level. discussed and presented in both popular informal education enterprises such as Make Magazine and TEDKids Brussels. This year. Through a grant from the National Science Foundation. we are now working with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms to replicate our model across the international Fab Lab network (50+ sites globally). A number of organizations are interested in disseminating the Learn 2 Teach model. Teach 2 Learn. At the end of the program. Teach 2 Learn: Recognition by others. Teach 2 Learn. They are a catalyst for change! I am positive because my agency. we did a comprehensive evaluation of the program using a STEM program Design Principles Rubric developed by over 110 CEOs of high tech firms who formed an organization called Change the Equation as an effort to attract more young people into careers in STEM. Learn 2 Teach.I stand 100% in support of Learn 2 Teach. locally. Amon Millner based his dissertation on research over a number of years with Learn 2 Teach. and internationally. we use daily teaching reports filled out by youth teachers and community organizations to evaluate and improve teaching. “Computer as Chalk: Cultivating and Sustaining Communities of Youth as Designers of Tangible User Interfaces. Communities 8 .scribd. and I all have been changed!” In the Fall and Winter of each year.

We estimate that about 46% of our youth teachers over the years have been young women and 54% have been young men. 18% 17 year olds and 7% 18 year olds. Each year our youth teachers report speaking between 8 . For the past few years. numbers of new and returning youth teachers. or even 4th year. We estimate that over 90% of the elementary and middle school youth who have participated in Learn 2 Teach. NC: Information Age Publishing) Success of Learn 2 Teach. 32% 16 year olds. Since 2007. 14% Asian. gender. Over 90% of our youth teachers and participants have been youth of color. Languages. Our goal is to have mentors who look like the young people they work with. 5% White and 5% Other. One indication of success that the numbers of youth teachers who choose to return beyond their first year (not counting college mentors) has increased steadily over the past four years: Year 2008 % new youth teachers 78% % returning youth teachers 27% % total youth teachers in program beyond first year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year 16% 11% 0% 9 . Typically we tend to have each cohort of youth teachers have 18% 14 year olds. Youth teachers range from 14 -19 years old. 25% 15 year olds. We largely focus on having over 75% of our youth teachers be aged 15-17 to ensure that youth teachers can choose to return to Learn 2 Teach. we estimate that 65% of our staff and college mentors have been men and 35% have been women. based on data from summer and afterschool teaching reports. 3rd. We have also estimated the number of participating youth ages 8-13. Gender. 33% of our youth teachers reported that they spoke a language other than English and 25% report speaking a language other than English most of the time at home. We have not kept gender statistics for the children ages 813 who participate. Teach 2 Learn: Youth Teachers returning beyond first year. Other ways of demonstrating the success of Learn 2 Teach. Teach 2 Learn: Reaching Boston’s young women and youth of color. 28% Latin@.12 different languages. Teach 2 Learn for a 2nd. We actively seek to balance the number of young men and young women who participate as youth teachers. Last year. Over the years. Ethnicity/Race. languages spoken. Our core staff has been 75% Black and 25% White.of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators (Charlotte. Over the years we estimate that our youth teachers have been 60% Black. and the reported ethnicity/race of our youth teachers. we have kept statistics on age. Teach 2 Learn are youth of color. we have kept statistics on languages spoken by our youth teachers. Ages.

Teach 2 Learn in the spring and/or summer sessions. For the past four years. Of the 6 youth teachers who graduated high school in 2011. we have been tracking youth teacher’s career interests in order to judge the impact of our program: Year More interested in a career in science and technology 82% 64% 71% 88% More interested in how science and technology relate to a future career 82% 81% 76% 82% Want to pursue a career in science and technology 67% 60% 71% 82% More interested in a career that involves teaching Not asked Not asked Not asked 56% 2008 2009 2010 2011 7 10 . One of our college mentors. For the past two years all the college mentors have been former youth teachers who. 5 are currently enrolled in undergraduate STEM programs. Although we have thus far only collected anecdotal information about youth teachers who go onto college. unsolicited.2009 2010 2011 69% 69% 60% 31% 31% 40% 21% 16% 26% 7% 11% 7% 2% 3% 7% Former youth teachers going on to college and/or returning from Undergraduate STEM study as college mentors. contacted us with a desire to return because of both their belief in the program and how the program benefited their college studies. all but 1 is enrolled in college. Each year. Ergy Jean-Baptiste was a youth teacher for three years and a college mentor for three years.7 we can report that of the last 12 youth teachers graduating high school. Increased interest in careers involving science & technology and teaching. we are including a letter of recommendation that he wrote for our nomination for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science. Engineering and Technology Mentoring. we hire 3-4 college mentors for Learn 2 Teach.