Youth Motivation and Interests in STEM

Youth STEM Motivation: Immersive Technologies to Engage and Empower Underrepresented Students

In this white paper we describe a project underway at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in which we are designing innovative technological environments that draw from theories of motivation to support and augment the engagement and motivation of students in Grades 5-8 mathematics.

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Motivation and Culturally Responsive Technology for COMPUGIRLS

Insights from the COMPUGIRLS project have provided significant evidence that lack of motivation is a misrepresentation of our girls’ lived experience.

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Motivating Youth Through Authentic, Meaningful and Purposeful Activities: An Examination Through the Lens of Transformative Activist Stance

An ongoing and at times seemingly intractable issue in science education and STEM fields is the underperformance and underrepresentation of marginalized youth. This is often attributed to disconnect between school in general, school science specifically and the cultures that youth enact and experience in their daily lives. Although research demonstrates that youth become engaged in STEM when it is relevant to their well-being and that of their community, the question of what motivates underrepresented youth to pursue STEM interests is still not fully understood.

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Instruments for Assessing Interest in STEM Content and Careers

Two new instruments created to assess perceptions of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines and careers are analyzed and found to have respectable to excellent internal consistency reliability, as well as good content, construct, and criterion-related validity for the areas assessed. Cronbach's Alpha for the individual scales on the STEM Semantics Survey and the STEM Career Interest Questionnaire ranged from .78 to .94 across the eight constructs represented.

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West Virginia student discovers new pulsar

A West Virginia high-school student has discovered a new pulsar, using data from the giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT).  Shay Bloxton, 15, a participant in The Pulsar Search Collaboratory, an ITEST project in which students analyze data from the radio telescope, spotted evidence of the pulsar on October 15. Bloxton, along with NRAO astronomers observed the object again one month later. The new observation confirmed that the object is a pulsar, a rotating, superdense neutron star.

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High school student discovers strange astronomical object

A West Virginia high-school student has discovered a new astronomical object -- a strange type of neutron star called a rotating radio transient. Lucas Boylard, a sophomore at South Harrison High School in Clarksburg, W.Va., made the discovery while participating in the Pulsar Search Collaborative, an ITEST project, in which students are trained to scrutinize data from the National Science Foundation's giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT).

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Program teaches students science of video games

Many teens pass the hours away from school playing video games, but through the ITEST Digispired ii program, students will explore science and engineering principles behind game controllers while learning programming tools to help create their own video games.  Students will learn the concepts that make controllers, joysticks and dance pads work. The teens also will use computer programming language like C#, which will help them learn to use the game-developing software Unity.

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WHS girls earn national recognition for their tech knowledge

Watsonville High School freshmen Idzel Cano and Brianna Flores are students participating in “Tech Teach,” part of Watsonville TEC (also known as ITEST project Animando a Estudiantes con Technologia), as high school instructors who teach middle school students computer operation and webpage design.  Years prior, as middle school students at Lakeview Elementary, Cano and Flores were part of an after school program called the Girl Game Company, in which they learned the basics of video game design.

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Students to launch weather balloons in northwestern Minnesota

As part of ITEST project Reach for the Sky, teams of 4th through 8th grade students are to launch eight spacecraft to the edge of outer space (“near-space" — the upper reaches of the atmosphere, above 80,000 feet). In about 30 experiments, the students will test science theories and apply hands-on science and math to their world. 

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Three county girls recognized for technology achievements: national award aims to encourage tech-saavy women

Watsonville High School freshmen Idzel Cano, 14, and Brianna Flores, 14, are among 25 talented Bay Area girls who will be honored by the National Center for Women and Information with an award for aspirations in computing Sunday at the Computer History Museum in San Jose.  Cano and Flores learned game design while middle-schoolers through the Girl Game Company, an after-school ITEST project sponsored by Scotts Valley-based ETR Associates in Watsonville.

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