This discussion is about Careerspotting 4 Kids: STEM4Girls.
I like the interactive premise of this entry. Do you envision this website being used in the classroom as part of instruction or more as supplemental education? Does the program connect kids to actual people in their desired STEM-related careers or perhaps for teens, create a way to find internships?
Hi Jen, thanks for your questions.
Most of the details around our game mechanics are under-wraps, but to answer to your question, yes, our badge system is moderated by common-core standards and involve lesson plans that are activity based.
Qykno uses "careercards" where real-life professionals become mentors to our users through content. Our mentors are curators for the content on each page, and users who "unlock" a career card have opportunities to join a social group linked to that career field and/or industry.
For example, the Geoscientist League will be a group just for the Geoscientist careercard. A user can use the scavenger hunt track to win the "Shake it Up" badge that uses a lesson plan created by our in-house curriculum designer and from our mentors.
Once a user wins enough badges, they can unlock that careercard and be entered into the league where they can compete for contests, earn prizes, apply for scholarships, internships opportunities, and apply to be a mentee by our mentors.
We plan for Qykno to be used in classroom as part of instruction or supplemental.
I am very happy for your accomplishments.. please support the idea i have entered... it's not about wining the contest, it's about who can help the most in the area of STEM education and i am sure to bring you more ideas with the idea i presented across the entire internet -The Proposal-
Hey Ryan, thanks for checking us out.
I read your entry, "The Proposal" but was confused about how much of it can be executed on or if it's a Utopian society that you want to build.
Have you thought or a small but scale-able first step to realizing your vision? Perhaps it's a good premise for a book you could author.
If there's anything I can help you with, please feel free to reach out to me.
Kamilah, this is a great idea. I hope that your concept and business takes root and grows.
God bless you
Wow, thank you Ronald for your kind and generous words that I am both honored and humbled by. Wish us luck on our mission to Make Career Day, Every Day!
I love the underlying premise behind the project, and am very impressed by your bio.
Gamefication in science education is a newly developing field, and the fact that you are focusing on it is potentially groundbreaking.
However, in order to make this a stronger proposal, I have a few suggestions.
First, write a paragraph that outlines what the average student will be doing. Sometimes the reader needs to see the steps the students will undergo. How will they begin on their journey to select a science career, what would be the next step after that...and so on. A chronological step by step of the game would be helpful.
The proposal would also benefit from a section that discusses the ways that you plan to recruit professionals that will potentially match up with students.
All the best,
Thanks so much for your valuable response. We're actually revamping our profile in time for the final entries to be submitted. Changes will reflect key learning, partnerships we've formed since we originally submitted our startup, and will include suggestions from comments like yours.
I'd also welcome the opportunity to learn about the valuable work you're doing and invite you to join our advisory board. We can chat more about that over the phone.
Please Sir, Can I Read Some More
August 17, 2011 By Kalimah Priforce | The Good Men Project
--When Kalimah Priforce was eight years old and in foster care, he got more books the only way he could. He went on a hunger strike.--
Every great story has its miracles.
A few weeks before reaching nine years of age, impossible became a daily part of my life as a foster care resident of a Bedford Stuyvesant group home–deep in the heart of Brooklyn. It belonged to the very powerful Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (CBCC) of New York City.
There weren’t many leisure activities other than a single television that most of the kids fought regularly over. Residents weren’t allowed to leave the premises except to attend school, group trips escorted by staff members, or chauffeured around in vans to fulfill medical appointments. Rather than engaging in squabbles with other kids about which shows to watch (Yo MTV Raps was very popular then), I monopolized a small library of donated books to satisfy my insatiable curiosity about the world.
I read every book, many of them twice. As a result, I approached one of the group home staffers and kindly requested that they order more books to expand the library in a, “Please sir, can I read some more?” Dickensian way.
I was the first to make such an odd request, so they ignored me at first, but I was persistent. Several hours later, I got my answer that it was “impossible” and that there simply “wasn’t enough funding for more books.” I wasn’t convinced, and it didn’t help them that I had just finished reading the stories of Peter Pan, Encyclopedia Brown, Huckleberry Finn, The Little Prince, Pippi Longstocking, and other precocious youth.
I wanted more books, and even tried negotiating with them.
I was already a vegetarian by the time I arrived to the group home, and my dinner selections consisted mostly of salads and breads. I calculated that for every meatloaf or chicken sandwich I didn’t eat, that the agency was saving a dollar or two per day. My suggestion to them was that they use the money they were saving to purchase of books.
They angrily declined and forcefully stated that it couldn’t be done. Since all my neogotiaitons failed. it was then that I decided, at eight, that if they couldn’t feed my brain, there was no use to them feeding my stomach. I wrote a letter to them declaring that I would fully withdraw from eating any food until they ordered more books. I was on a hunger strike, though I didn’t know what to call it.
Read more here: http://goodmenproject.com/families/boys/please-sir-can-i-read-some-more/...
Since moving forward with our STEM4Girls content gallery, I've been combing the internet for video stories of professional women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields sharing the how-tos of their success.
Here's what I learned: they exist - in the hundreds. The volume of content I discovered isn't massive enough for any one web destination to become THE dedicated resource for closing the gender gap in highly scientific fields, but it is large enough to make a difference for girls who've never seen a woman marine biologist, or astronomer, or video game designer.
However, I did come across a consistent problem in trying to bring all this righteous content together. Most of this content, produced by government and non-profit organizations, are inaccessible to the less-than-Google-savvy let alone most 13 year olds.
For example, NASA’s site is a super load of content - which is awesome, but not easily navigable and there isn’t an attractive front end for kids to explore and tinker with. Many of the sites funded by the National Science Foundation, they used proprietary software (which I’m guessing they paid someone to encode) to limit the ability for their content to be made available outside their site.
What I don’t understand is that…they are taxpayer dollar funded content…so why get so serious about content protection?
If we are going to get serious about a STEM-revolution as being our “space race” moment in education, then we are going to have to work together.
So I did what any healthy red-blooded American hackademic would do – I hacked them.
Read more here: http://blog.priforce.me/hacking-for-stem
Content Blocked: YouTube might be a little racist, but Vidyard helps edtech startups workaround it.
I'm a detective at heart. Next to Peter Pan, Huckleberry Finn, and Pippi Longstocking, I always thought Encyclopedia Brown was one of the coolest fictional kids to read about. His ability to detect subtle clues that baffled most adults was just as impressive as the way he surprised those who underestimated his sleuthing gifts - because he was just a mere boy of course.
I think the difference between Encyclopedia and most of the people around him was his genuine love of solving problems. I share that same excitement and was especially happy to see Qykno's first user issue in my inbox when I woke up this morning. The game is afoot!
We recently reached out to several schools and after-school programs to invite them to tour our STEM4Girls content library (http://bit.ly/stem4girls) and share their thoughts about our over 200 videos and games centered on the theme of introducing girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematic careers.
So far, we've gotten several emails, most of them as "thank yous" for providing such a resource to them. Their feedback helps us engineer a platform that will not only host this content, but also feature a mission/badge achievement system and challenge board.
Today I received this:
"Just a thought… I was trying to check out your STEM4Girls site, but I can’t access it due to district firewalls because all the videos are on YouTube. I’m not savvy enough to know the way around the firewall, so it makes it difficult for educators to expose students to it in the classroom! Love the concept though!
5th Grade Math Teacher
KIPP Voyage Academy for Girls"
I was very happy to reply to her because the YouTube content block issue is something we knew when designing Qykno needed a workaround. It's a painpoint that presents an opportunity.
Read more here: http://blog.priforce.me/content-blocked
What should teachers know about Qykno if they are interested in using it? How would it fit into their lessons plans or daily teaching rituals?
The problem that Qykno solves for teachers is the need for a classroom-friendly career literacy tool that tackles student motivation and engagements in scaleable ways. As part of their daily teaching ritual, teachers have the satisfaction of having a tool that allows for their curriculum development to be crowdsourced by Qykno's mentors.
Can you lay out the STEM philosophy behind Qykno, and some of the efforts you have been leading to get more young girls on career and education tracks that answer to some of the important issues in science, technology, and engineering we face globally?
In the United States, less than 20% of engineering and computer-science majors are women. STEM4Girls is our first content channel featuring eight career fields. We decided to incorporate STEM focus into our product development strategy because of a pressing need that we identified as closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
We've already assembled more than 200 videos and games towards STEM4Girls. Qykno's philosophy rests on the notion that gaming can do a great job at assessing the critical thinking and problem solving involved in STEM learning.
What is your vision for how we can make students more global learners and doers, and how does Qykno address this call?
Our challenge board is an exciting place for kids to engage the world in real-time, because the real-time world will be coming to them. When a student goes into the classroom on Monday, by Friday three political dictators have been removed--but their college textbooks remain the same and are too costly to update. The "current events" feed on their homepage is being constantly updated with content that comes from multiple points. The flow of information can come from their Careercards, mentors, and challenges that they are currently undertaking.
We challenge our clients to think of fun ways to engage our users. A weak challenge would be for a user to visit their website, so we discourage those. For one of our clients, Happy Day Micro Fund, one of our challenges is for users to upload a video pitch about their business and get their friends to vote on them.
This helps students learn how to pitch, tell their story, and market their ideas to friends using social media and offline promotion. We're hoping that global challenges will engage our users to think very different about how accessible parts of the world are to them and how what happens in the Sudan or in China can affect them at home.
Read complete interview here: http://www.fastcompany.com/1775546/students-qykno-every-day-career-day
Qykno is now Qeyno! Kids love the new name better than the old, so we decided to change it. We've also moved from Oakland to Berkeley, California. So many wonderful changes and new partnerships have been made in the past couple of weeks, but our mission remains to same - To transform children's lives by making Career Day, Every Day.