PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
This past Spring STEAM Punks worked with two partners to test the workshops with the target user group, test the kits, and are currently working on the development of the community content created website. The parter Women for Afghan Women(WAW) allowed STEAM Punks to test the the first two kits and workshops with two groups of children within the target population. The goal of the tests were to identify if students met the educational objectives,engagement, usability and if kits facilitated group work?At total of 24 hours were spent testing over a month. Both teams facilitated the sessions.
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
Teaching through rote memorization does not support the development of higher level thinking skills such as critical thinking and creativity, or skills associated with the 21-century economic needs. This claim stems from the combination of findings from cognitive neuroscience studies, learning scientists and practitioners as well as the forecasted future international workforce needs. It has been shown that through free play children are able to develop higher order thinking skills as well as be immersed into tasks that teach skills associated with the new economy.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
Learning through play is learning while exploring something physically and mentally in a hypothetical state. When people are at play they feel safe to explore in what some call the magic circle. Learning that occurs within this space gives an individual choices, challenges, and engagement opportunities that are all within their reach but do not have preset societal pressures or expectations. This allows for risk taking to occur. Play is essential for learning because it produces a safe space that supports high engagement levels, which have been found to lead to long-term retention of an event.
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
The New Challenge Grant from The New School: 40%
Michael Kalil Foundation Smart Design Award: 40%
Hearst Foundation Grant: 20%
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
We believe that by focusing on a hybrid business model we will be able to appeal to the larger market. This will allow us to not have to rely on continually looking for grants and non-profit funding for the development of the workshops, kits and community centers.
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
40% to the production of kits and the testing of those kits in seven different schools and centers in Afghanistan. Changes would be made and then a final kit would go to market. Production of website and marketing 30%.Based on sales schools would receive kits and workshops. The reaming costs R&D.
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York... and focus on cultivating leadership in women and young girls.
School for Leadership of Afghanistan (SOLA) is a boarding school outside of Kabul that houses about forty girls ages thirteen to eighteen.
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
Yes! There have been many people that I have been in touch with through this platform. One of which is Skatestain.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
Development of a fabrication center in Afghanistan. Expanding into a couple more countries with similar needs. Multiple kit offerings, education practitioners networked and sharing similar kits and learning through play resources. Fully self funded through sales and partnerships.
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
Based on the current research 80% of the participants who had no prior knowledge met the educational objectives. 90% expressed excitement or joy during the exploration of the kit or the making period during the workshop. 70% of the participants wanted to continue. It is imperative that over time the understanding of the concepts learned is evaluated to measure retention rates. In the future pre/post assessments of critical thinking skills.
APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.
Play with Objects, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.