Project Profile

The Youth Digital Storytelling STEM Academy


The project will develop a student-directed intervention that leverages research on motivation to encourage student interest and engagement in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-related field of climate science. The intervention is designed to give students the opportunity to use video storytelling to tell their own stories in a meaningful way for their communities. Through this experience, students will develop competencies in climate science, engineering design, media technology, and communications including storytelling. The program will focus on middle school students, a critical age for the development of STEM interest, who are from geographical areas traditionally underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Students will produce videos supported by teachers and students from San Jose State University (SJSU) from the sciences and visual arts. Middle school teachers will attend a one-week summer workshop focused on developing the science and filmmaking skills to implement the intervention. During the proposed project, 60 teachers and at least 2,000 students will directly participate in the project, with additional participation from parents, friends, and teachers who attend the project film festival. Students will submit their final films together with a digital portfolio that includes the supporting science and career connections to the project film festival. Selected films will be screened at The Tech Museum and featured on YouTube.

The project will use an iterative design-based research approach to study how digital technology, storytelling and the STEM-related field of climate science can be used to help traditionally underserved students identify with STEM fields and careers. Students will participate in the program in their middle school science class, guided by their trained teachers, university student mentors. A set of online instructional videos will be designed to support teacher and student learning. A collection of data sources including pre/post student surveys, classroom observations, student interviews and external evaluations of the films and digital portfolios will be used to inform and revise the project design, and to understand to what extent and nature of intended project impacts. The materials produced through this project, including videos and instructional materials, will be available online and thus support replication of this educational model in other classrooms. This project is funded by the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program that supports projects that build understandings of best practices, program elements, contexts and processes contributing to engaging students in learning and developing interest in STEM, information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, and related STEM content and careers.


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Principal Investigator(s)
Primary Contact


Award Number
Project Duration
2015 - 2019
San Jose State University Foundation, San Jose, CA
Project Work State
Target Gradespan(s)
Middle school (6-8)
Project Setting(s)
Formal Education
Geographic Location(s)
Project Status
Additional Disciplines
Environmental Science - general
Additional Target Participants
Students eligible for Free/reduced price lunch
Hispanic or Latino