Category Archives: Video Showcase

STEM for ALL video hall logo and text: Eager Maker: Studying the role of failure in design making

EAGER: MAKER: Studying the Role of Failure in Design and Making

by Angie Kalthoff

One of the videos in the STEM for All Video Showcase covered learning what failure means. In the video, Alice Anderson says, “we really heard from educators that they wanted their learners to struggle and persist through struggle and problem solve.” I connected with what Alice described in the video, it made me think “This is it! This is what I want too!” This blog post shows my reflections on this video.  I recommend watching the video to better think with me about the role of failure in learning.

As an educator, I value growth mindset–being able to say to myself, I don’t know it yet but I can work towards it and try my best. I work to instill this mindset in my students at the early childhood, elementary, and university levels. When reviewing this STEM for All project, I connected with a comment made by Adam Maltese “My sense is that the best way to achieve this is to create a culture where iteration toward improvement is a core ideal.”

There’s often not time nor the correct culture for iteration in schools. With my students, I use the word FAIL as an acronym: First Attempt In Learning; I tell my students that I expect them to fail, I fail too. I know it can be frustrating to fail and I try to support them with read-alouds of books to show how the characters have dealt with failure.  (Side note, for inspiration and to show grit, Rosie Revere, Engineer books are great to share with students.) I will share more from the video about projects and findings around failure and some ideas for the classroom.

Overview of the program featured in the video

Over the last few years, the research team that created the video explored how kids (9-15 years of age) engage in making in both formal and informal contexts to see how they respond when things do not go as planned. They looked at how youth reacted to moments of failure and what role adults play in these experiences in hopes of finding a way to help kids persist when they experience frustration. Their goal was to help kids keep coming back and understand how they define failure.

Kids in this study were from three locations: a museum-based maker program, middle school classrooms, and an after-school making and tinkering program.

Around persistence, the team considered was if the attitude displayed by students was related to how familiar a learner was with the tools and materials. Could their familiarity have influenced their persistence?  For example, if a student was engaging with new material and they gave up after only a few attempts but persisted much longer on another project, was there any correlation between having experience with a tool and the amount of time spent problem solving.

How to use in practice

If you’re interested in thinking more about failure, this project gave some practical tips teachers can implement in their classrooms. To illustrate, I make connections from their suggestions to similar things I’ve done in classrooms.

They suggest: Save failures to learn from.

After attending DevTech professional development and working with students in the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Graduate Certificate Program at Tufts University (where I currently work), I was inspired to keep a Kibo (a robot created for young children available through Kinderlab Robotics) hospital of broken parts. Instead of throwing away parts that no longer work, we keep them for kids to see and explore. They now get to explore broken motors to understand why it’s important for them to use them appropriately. By keeping things that don’t go right, or are a fail, they get to learn from the experience. In this STEM for ALL research project, researchers explain how at one summer camp, they created a Museum of Bent Nails. They took the experience of being frustrated when learning how to use nails and the failure one might feel when one becomes bent and turned it into a learning experience. Fellow CIRCL Educator, Sarah Hampton also loves how it turns all the hard work and learning into a badge of honor — it’s such a tangible way to value failure as a necessary part of the process!

They suggest: Facilitate learning, don’t fix things that aren’t working.

When I was first attempting to facilitate learning with kids and programming, I attended a workshop. In the workshop, I heard a suggestion about pretending to hold a teacup or actually holding something in my hands like a cup or a book to stop me from taking control of a device to fix broken programs. By doing this, as I walk around as an educator, I am not tempted to touch student projects and fix things for students. Instead, I ask questions to help when students are stuck.  (It’s really easy to not realize you do things FOR students!)

Some tips from educators in the video:

  • Keeping your hands behind your back while talking with learners (so you don’t handle their project)
  • Ask for permission to touch student projects
  • Suggest that learners ask two other people before a teacher

They suggest: Take time to reflect on your own behaviors

Related to facilitating learning and not doing it for the students, Co-Presenter Amber Simpson shared what she did: “I decided to wear a GoPro camera to capture my interactions with upper elementary students engaging in making activities. It is alarming what you learn in watching yourself on video as I was not necessarily modeling appropriate behavior for the undergraduate students I was working with in the space. I found myself not allowing the elementary students to experience failure as much as I thought (or hoped for). However, being on this project has made me aware of such instances and trying to be mindful of my response (or not) to failures not only in making contexts but other contexts such as an academic setting.

If you have the resources, it is great to watch yourself on video. Okay, it might be a little painful, but the insights are so important.

They suggest: Think about how the word FAILURE is used.

The researchers discussed the reticence they saw in educators to use the term failure. For K12 classroom educators, it can be hard for us to embrace because of the need to assign grades. For informal educators, who are often bound by the need to make the experience fun, they may find the word failure antithetical to their purposes. Also, a teacher’s background relates to how they use the word failure.  For example, educators with an engineering background are very familiar with iteration in a design cycle and bring that in. Educators with an artistic background also talk about the process of creating and not ever reaching “the end.” That notion can either be daunting — to think one is never done, or it can be comforting to know that you can always continue to improve.

As an educator, I am still curious about a few other things related to practice:

  • Mindset around failure. What were people already thinking about and how did past experiences influence their experience?

I know some of my students are more ready to think about and handle failure.  How can I help all of them?

  • Working through struggles. How can adults help kids redefine failure as a chance to try something new?

I have some new ideas, but I’m going to keep thinking about this.

  • Developing practical experiences around struggle. Can a particular experience be designed to help all kids and adults become comfortable with struggle?

Again, no easy answer, I’ll keep thinking here.

Practical note: I discussed this project and the idea of failure with Sarah Hampton. She and I agree that it is important to instill the iteration/design process into lessons and yet we find it hard to take the time with current academic expectations and demands in the school day. If you have suggestions for us, please share via Twitter at @circleducators and #CIRCLedu

Presenters’ Choice Award Winning Project:Hero Elementary

By Angie Kalthoff

When I saw that Joan Freese was the lead presenter for Hero Elementary, I knew I had to check it out! I have long followed her work at TPT Twin Cities with SciGirls, a separate project. The project I’ve been most interested in is SciGirls Code: A National Connected Learning Model to Integrate Computing in STEM Learning with Middle School Girls, supported by the National Science Foundation’s STEM + Computing Partnerships Program. You may have read my post from last year on the STEM For ALL Video Showcase Featuring SciGirls Code. I knew I wanted to review this Presenters’ Choice award winning project called Hero Elementary.

Overview of the program
The video gives an introduction to Hero Elementary. Go watch it if you haven’t. Hero Elementary is described as an equity driven educational media initiative focused on improving school readiness on science and literacy in grades K-2. The design of the program includes aspects on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and equity strategies. Kids engage in activities to promote a growth mindset and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in a blended approach. They have real world hands-on learning plus digital and multimedia learning. It has 25 science-themed educational media collections, called “playlists,” which are ”aligned to NGSS. Resources provided to educators include:

  • Animated stories
  • Digital and analog games
  • Non-fiction ebooks
  • Hands-on science activities
  • Digital Science Power Notebook

Hero Elementary has a target audience of kids in Latinx communities, English Language Learners, children with disabilities, and children from low-income households.The program “ignites children’s natural curiosity, broadens their understanding of how the world works, and empowers them to make a positive difference in their communities.” Their approach is child centered, equity focused, and asset based. As a constructivist inspired program, kids build their knowledge through active learning and reflection, which helps them make sense of their new learning experiences.

The goal of the program
Using formative research to aid in development, the project is working to transform learning and track progress with embedded learning analytics. Hero Elementary’s resources integrate science and literacy. The team identified similarities in the following English and science standards strands:

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Utilize the skills, thinking, and language of Scientific Inquiry and Engineering Design.
  • Literacy & English Language arts: Produce and receive communication in a variety of forms.

Through playful characters, kids learn about the “Superpowers of Science” by engaging in activities that encourage them to investigate, collect information, look for patterns, name the problem, make sense, explain, ask questions, compare, show what they know, and figure out a solution. Science educators will recognize these superpowers as the Science and Engineering practices, part of the NGSS. The program has a focus on literacy as well that appeals to many of the educators who have been involved in the development of this program. The program will debut for all this coming summer.

Educators involved with this program receive professional development training and free resources. Hero Elementary uses a train-the-trainer model with support from child-serving partners across the country, all of whom have a strong commitment to equity, interest in science education, and experience working with targeted student groups.

Using in practice
If you work in elementary education, you have probably experienced that the school day is full and planned out to the minute. I think the approach Hero School has taken – alignment to standards that schools are already implementing – is great.
Hero Elementary is broken into playlists. A playlist is a collection of content about a topic to inspire, empower, and deepen children’s science learning. Each playlist consists of the following resources: ebooks, hands on-activities, notebooks, videos, and digital games. While there are 25 playlists, educators can pick what works best in their classroom.

Through the research done on this project, the Hero Elementary team has found that kids are paying attention to the extent to which a character is relatable. CIRCL Educators feel that this topic deserves its own blog post. Watch for an upcoming post to read more about how kids are paying attention to character relatableness and why this matters for learning. In the meantime, check out how Hero Elementary can help bring fun science content and NGSS into your classroom.

2019 STEM for ALL Video Showcase with image of youth in the background

2019 STEM Video Showcase Review: Teaching Accessibility to Broaden Participation

By Pati Ruiz and Amar Abbott

When this year’s STEM for All Video Showcase came around, two of us (Pati and Amar) were drawn to a video presentation titled Teaching Accessibility to Broaden Participation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 15% of K–12 students, 11% of college students, and 5% of graduate students have a disability. While this video focused on raising awareness about accessibility needs in graduate computer science courses, we found the video helpful in thinking about leveraging technology tools in the equitable design of courses.

Meeting the accessibility needs of all students is a federal mandate, however as an accessibility expert, I (Amar) think that it is often a struggle to provide students with the right supports due to a range of barriers including the absence of professional development opportunities for instructors as well as a lack of  affordances* in technology tools.

*What are affordances? Researchers use the term affordances to talk about the opportunities that a technology makes possible. The affordances of learning technologies are described in How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures as “a feature or property of an object that makes possible a particular way of relating to the object for the person who uses it (Gibson, 1979; Norman, 2013).”

After watching the video, we wanted to learn more about the work that still needs to be done to bring an awareness of accessibility needs to those who design technology tools. Co-PI of AccessComputing, Sheryl Burgstahler shares that a major barrier to information technology (IT) that her Accessible Technology Services office works on is non-accessible PDFs; scanned-in images that screen readers can’t access. Another major barrier is videos that don’t have captions or that have unedited computer-created captions. Here’s a great example of a video of computer-created captions going wrong and more information about creating accurate captioning. Sheryl encourages faculty members to use accessible IT when delivering online content instead of just teaching about it. In the showcase video comments, lead Presenter, Richard Ladner described a “chicken and egg problem” in graduate computer science (CS) programs that don’t teach accessibility topics and textbooks that don’t cover these topics. The lack of education about accessibility perpetuates the lack of accessibility content in courses.

There are a few points to underscore:

  • It is essential for educators to be aware of the ways in which software is disabling to their students and other stakeholders.
  • We need to ensure that our video content is captioned and that the documents we share with students, like PDFs, are machine readable.
  • We need to understand that there is a lack of education in CS programs about accessibility and that we should be asking questions about the IT that’s being developed and used in our schools and students from learning management systems to  websites and videos.
  • When we make tools more accessible, the benefits are often ones that help everyone!

Through this video, we learned that the technologies like speech recognition, captioned videos, texting, and video chats that were designed to solve accessibility problems, often become mainstream because they make using technology easier for everyone. An example highlighted by the presenters is the use of video subtitles when we find ourselves watching a video in a noisy setting like a bus or a train. I (Pati) often use  the screen reader on my phone, voice recognition, audiobooks, and captions in videos. I (Amar), use many of the same accessibility features that Pati does. As a person with a learning disability, I also use accessibility technologies to function in my daily professional life. Those technologies include Kurzweil, Dragon naturally speaking, and Mindview mind mapping software. I also teach my students to use assistive technologies to manage barriers in their academic and personal pursuits.

We find that assistive technology tools can change a person’s life and hope that projects like Access Computing can continue to raise awareness – in technical fields – about the accessibility needs of all people. This is essential as we work towards the equitable design of courses. We encourage other educators to explore Teach Access, The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center, and CAST to learn more about removing barriers to participation in the resources we prepare for our students, our colleagues, and their parents. As always, please share your thoughts with us on Twitter @CIRCLedu.


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

STEM Video Showcase

Career Connections: Bridging the gaps through STEM Explorations and Community Partnerships

By Angie Kalthoff

I’ll be doing a series of blog posts around videos I from the NSF 2019 Video Showcase. The Bridging the gaps video caught my attention because I worked with underserved and underrepresented students for many years. As a technology integrationist, I was constantly thinking about how I could connect students and their families with careers they may not know about–maybe even careers in our own community. Based on our goal of connecting with the community, during the Hour of Code celebration in December, we created Community Code. Community Code was a way to bring people from our community into our classrooms to share their jobs and how technology is used in their workplace.

In addition, some local businesses and universities hosted family nights and offered a variety of activities for families to engage with. The goal was to connect our community with our classrooms from kindergarten through senior high school. As I watched the video, I became interested in learning more about this project because of the segment where students and community members shared their experiences.

Overview of the Program
i3STEM is a project focusing on “inquiry based extended learning opportunities for underserved and under-represented middle school student populations.” This program includes hands on STEM explorations and collaborative events with community partners for college and career connections. Researchers on this project are working to increase an interest in STEM through the events that are offered to the underserved and under-represented students in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Their goal is to grow academic achievement in science and math and increase STEM awareness with the outcome of more students going into STEM careers. “STEMgineers”, students in the program, shared experiences about field trips, activities, and how they are now inspired to be future computer scientists, geologists, and science teachers! Kids who have faced challenges in the traditional classroom have now been able to participate in an experience that made them feel empowered and successful. Students were excited about the experiences they had with their community partners. The video shows how connections that were once difficult to make were turned into real life learning opportunities. Researchers close the video with a statement sharing how the experiences the students had are helpful for the whole child and not just for academics.

The Goal of the Program
Career Connections: Bridging the gaps through STEM Explorations and Community Partnerships offers extended learning opportunities to underrepresented schools. Their goal is to improve academic achievement in science in math, increase awareness and interest in stem in hopes that their students will pursue STEM related careers.

Outcome of the Program
A few of the main points researched include:

  • Attendance and participation in learning opportunities
  • Student views and interests in STEM or pursuing a STEM career
  • Student scores in math and science
  • Academic/observation scores for teachers in the program

They shared positive results in the Stem For All Showcase discussion; those included:

  • 73% of the students entering high school chosea STEM academy
  • 75% of students expressed an interest in pursuing a STEM related career
  • Academic gains for students in both math and science doubled from one year to the next
  • 73% of the teachers in the program have maintained or increased state standardized testing scores based on their students’ performance.

My thoughts on how this could be used in practice
After viewing their i3STEM website, I was able to see numerous activities that were implemented in their classes. Some of the activities were similar to what I’ve done in classrooms while some were brand new to me. For example, the Mystery Bag STEM pdf, includes cards that you can print off and add to a bag with resources for students to complete a project. Other projects include:

  • “As part of the Homestead Act, you are required to cultivate your many acres of land. Using only the items in your bag, engineer a technology to help with that task.”
  • “Production costs for your “Fancy Fidget” have gone up. Using the items in your bag, engineer an interesting fidget toy that costs less than .75 to build.”

The way the website is organized makes it easy for viewers to find what they are looking for based on the following categories:

  • Teacher Resources
  • – Here you can find lesson plans, links to helpful videos, and a teacher guide.

  • Student Resources (which were used for their project, probably less helpful for you)
  • – Student survey links, links to resources for local issues, help for choosing topics, and resources for projects.

  • About Us
  • – Shares contact information for the project, information about the schools and sponsors, and an over of the project evaluation.

I found their resources and thinking really helpful. I think this is a great way to create a bridge between community and education.

We’d love to hear from you — Tweet to @CIRCLEducators or use #CIRCLEdu.

2019 Video Showcase

By Sarah Hampton

You know how excited you get when a movie you can’t wait to see is finally released? That’s my current state of mind because the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase will be here May 13-20!

The showcase features short videos from over 200 innovative STEM+C education projects. It’s one of my favorite ways to learn about cutting edge research and interact with researchers themselves. Even more, it’s a great way to spark ideas for my classroom and bolster my collection of STEM resources and tools. Plus, the showcase is practically designed with filters that allows me to browse videos by the relevant age bands and topic.

While many of the tools I’ve learned about are still in beta phases, some of the projects have become go to resources for me. For example, I first learned about PhET Simulations through this showcase video and can’t imagine teaching math and science without them now. Even when the resources I learn about haven’t become classroom staples, they’ve been perfect for those one off situations. For example, I was asked to teach a life science unit just a few weeks ago while another teacher was out. I don’t normally teach life science, but I remembered seeing a video about a genetics simulation called Geniverse and decided to try it. I was thrilled with how well it helped the students see how traits are passed down! I’m sure I could have explained it with whiteboard and markers, but I doubt the process would have been as interesting and individualized as the simulation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reminded of a showcase video which led me to incorporating some element of it in my classroom!

Sometimes the videos are so motivating that they make me want to change how I teach a unit or my pedagogy in general. That was the case after I watched this video about IC4 which inspired me to design two physical science units around United Nations Sustainable Goal #6: Ensure Access to Water and Sanitation for All. My students monitored our campus stream and partnered with EarthEcho International to report our findings on their international database. They also designed and built gravity fed water filters, a water desalination device, and a cross between a fog net and harp (two tools to harvest fog) to brainstorm how people worldwide might be able to gain better access to clean and safe water. Not only were the students able to think deeply about physical science topics because of the project, they were also exposed to topics that are more traditionally considered to be earth and life science concepts and, most importantly, they learned in context of something that matters locally and globally. (You can read about my early thoughts after watching IC4 in this post to see how I progressed from reflection to action.)

I like to think of the time I invest in the showcase as adding ideas and tools to my teaching toolbox. (Bonus: the ideas and tools are free because the projects are federally funded!) Some tools will be like screwdrivers and hammers because I know I will use them frequently. Other tools will be like a car jack or a paint sprayer–I won’t need them often, but there’s nothing better when those situations come up. I can’t wait to see what this year’s videos add to my toolbox and hope you find the STEM For All Video Showcase as useful as I have. Let me know what you find interesting by tweeting @CIRCLEducators!

4 students in The International Community for Collaborative Content Creation

The International Community for Collaborative Content Creation (IC4)

by Sarah Hampton

In my last post, we talked about how much there is to effective collaboration and discussed some of the things we should promote during collaborative activities. In this post, I will share how one cyberlearning project is capitalizing on all my favorite aspects of collaboration.

A few months ago, I had a chance to facilitate for the 2018 STEM For All Video Showcase, an online collection of very short videos from federally funded projects that aim to improve STEM education. I really enjoyed thinking deeply about my assigned videos and having conversations with the researchers involved, and, since then, I’ve enjoyed watching several more of the videos outside my group. One of these projects has continued to hold my thoughts. It’s called the International Community for Collaborative Content Creation (IC4). In this project, students from different countries collaborate online to create a media presentation, most often a video, that explains a STEM topic to their peers. The groups work across national, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to create these artifacts using tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack, and iMessage to communicate. Several things about this project are appealing to me:

  1. Students are reflecting deeply on STEM topics, deeply enough to be able to explain them to others. The project team calls this “participatory teaching”. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” So, the expectation for meaningful content comprehension is embedded in the project. Furthermore, Project Lead, Eric Hamilton observed that, “If you combine helping people with learning, then instead of being in class to do well on a test, you instead are learning to help yourself and others succeed. The result can be transformational.”
  2. The researchers place an emphasis on the process of finding and negotiating shared meaning. Coming to a shared understanding through interaction and reciprocal sense-making is called co-construction. Co-construction can result in a visible outcome like a jointly created physical product and/or an invisible outcome like a more sophisticated way of thinking about something. The students involved in IC4 are not passively receiving knowledge. They are actively co-constructing their understanding of STEM topics as they grapple with them in conversations with others and as they co-construct digital media artifacts. I highly recommend Learning by Collaborating: Convergent Conceptual Change, Co-constructivism in Educational Theory and Practice, and From Intersubjectivity to Group Cognition to learn more about how this plays out during collaboration and what it brings to the learning process.
  3. The participants represent fundamentally distinct cultures, countries, economic, and social backgrounds. People tend to consciously and/or subconsciously choose to socialize with others who are similar to themselves. (That tendency is called homophily if you’re interested in googling a term to learn more.) At the same time, research tells us that diverse groups routinely outperform their homogeneous counterparts. And it doesn’t only benefit the group, it benefits the individuals, too.
  4. Students are working on STEM problems that matter. One teacher said that initially students selected their own STEM topic, but in a more recent iteration, they were asked to choose topics from the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Too often, we ask our students to complete tasks that carry no real-world meaning, and I know that our world has untapped intellectual capital in our students – I see it every day! Why not allow our students to apply what they’re learning in their subjects to work toward solutions for ambitious real world challenges? After all, they are the ones who will inherit them.

Because I’ve been so encouraged by the nature of this project, I keep thinking about how it could be implemented on a larger scale, and like many projects that have piqued my interest, I am frustrated by the very real obstacles that would make that challenging. Right now students are participating in this project in club settings. I’m sure part of that is because of the difficulty coordinating online meetings in different time zones; parts of the project occur synchronously and other parts asynchronously. But I would love to see this become accessible for all students as part of their everyday classroom experiences. However, teachers are so constrained by their national and state mandated learning objectives that there isn’t much time for long-term projects like these. In my opinion, this is an absolute shame! I feel like we are sacrificing more important goals (international cooperation, shared meaning making and problem solving with diverse peers, and the UN sustainable development goals) for more immediate and measurable ones (subject/verb agreement and fraction operations). I’m not saying the latter goals are unimportant, but rather I am saying that there has to be a way to teach and assess the latter in the context of the former. We as teachers need to feel like we have the time, permission, funding, and support to pursue both goals during the school day. Otherwise, meaningful and ambitious projects like this will not be able transform education at the scale I think it has the potential to do.

Stepping beyond my teacher role for a moment, as a parent, I want this kind of learning experience for my sons. I want them to engage in real and significant problems with people they otherwise wouldn’t have access to without social media and a digital makerspace. As a parent, I would be willing to sacrifice three to six weeks of standard educational fare for that kind of experience. I remain encouraged by the fact this project is active and federally funded. Despite the lag between current educational research and widespread current education practices, I hope this suggests we’re headed in the right direction. I tend to be a wee bit impatient sometimes, so my husband has to frequently remind me that you only make slight adjustments to the course when you’re steering a big ship. I just hope that by the time my boys are in middle school this is the course we’ll be on.

Since some of my favorite aspects of this project are co-construction, diverse participants, and working on challenges that matter. I would love to hear your take on the project and your reactions to my concerns about the obstacles to running this through the classroom. Let’s see if we can negotiate some shared meaning online just like these students are doing. What aspects of the project appeal to you? What obstacles would prevent you from doing something similar during your school day?

Learn More

2018 Stem for All Video Showcase

IC4 2018 Showcase Video

IC4 Website

CIRCL Perspective on Project Lead, Eric Hamilton

Co-constructing Shared Meaning

Learning by Collaborating: Convergent Conceptual Change

Co-constructivism in Educational Theory and Practice

From Intersubjectivity to Group Cognition


Homophily: Measures and Meaning

Homophily and Ethnic Background in the Classroom

Benefits of Diversity

The Benefits of Socioeconomically and Racially Integrated Schools and Classrooms

The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

The Truth about Diverse Teams

Groups of Diverse Problem Solvers Can Outperform Groups of High-ability Problem Solvers

Why Diversity Matters

Why Diverse Teams are Smarter

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

Broadening Youth Participation in Computer Science & Engineering

UN Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals

SciGirls Code Image STEM for All

STEM for All Video Showcase Featuring SciGirls Code

By Angie Kalthoff

The STEM for ALL Video Showcase is an online film festival of 3-minute videos about educational projects that are really interesting to watch. It includes projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations with a goal to highlight projects that are transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science education. In 2018, there were 214 video projects shared that highlighted the work of 713 presenters and co-presenters. The showcase project brought people from over 174 countries to the site to learn and discuss.

The showcase is an interactive event. Viewers were invited to ask questions and have discussions with the people doing the research and with other viewers, right on the site in a discussion thread. You can still go read the conversations that happened on the site during the event. Conversations were also carried over to social media. To follow along the Twitter conversation, you can visit #STEMvideohall.

An additional element making this an interactive project is the awards. Projects were recognized through the following awards:

  • Facilitator Choice
  • Presenter Choice
  • Public Choice

All projects fell into one of the following themes which revolve around

Transforming the Educational Landscape:

  • Partnerships that advance education
  • Broadening participation & access to high quality STEM experiences
  • Innovative practices transforming education
  • Research informing STEM learning and teaching

As a facilitator for the STEM for ALL Videoshow case, my job was to review projects and facilitate conversations with presenters and visitors. I facilitated discussions on projects around Computer Science (CS) and Computational Thinking (CT) in education. For me, this was an incredibly exciting experience. I am  a public school educator, more specifically a Technology Integrationist. I began my teaching career in an elementary English Learner (EL) classroom before transitioning to my current position. I am constantly thinking about ways to incorporate CS and CT into elementary classrooms while creating a culture where classroom teachers confidently deliver the lessons. In my job, I have conversations on a daily basis with educators, families, administrators, our community, and students about the importance of CS and CT in education. This showcase gave me insight into projects that are currently being worked on to make CS and CT education accessible for all students in a variety of different ways.

The video  project I would like to highlight in this post is SciGirls Code: A National Connected Learning CS Model. It was the winner of Presenters Choice and Public Choice awards!

As described on the site, “SciGirls Code,” a pilot program funded by the National Science Foundation STEM + C program, uses principles of connected learning with 16 STEM outreach partners to provide 160 girls and their 32 leaders with computational thinking and coding skills. To reach this goal, SciGirls developed:

  • a nine-month curriculum centering on three tracks—mobile apps, robotics, and e-textiles;
  • role model training for female technology professionals;
  • professional development for STEM educators;
  • a research component that investigates the ways in which computational learning experiences impact the development of computational thinking as well as interest and attitudes toward computer science (CS.)”

Girls in the program participate in projects around apps, robotics, and e-textiles all while sharing their learning with other girls in the program across the nation. Using Flipgrid, a Minnesota startup, girls create quick videos in which they share their thoughts and experiences. Through their experience they understand that coding isn’t an individual venture, it is connected.

SciGirls Code is trying to understand the following three questions:

  • How do computational learning experiences impact the development of computational thinking? [learning]
  • How does engaging in computational learning experiences impact interest in and attitudes towards computer science? [interest]
  • How does engaging in computational participation practices impact learners’ perspectives of self and world? [participation]

What they have seen so far from girls who participate in SciGirlsCode:

  • Increased confidence with coding in girls
  • Increased interest in pursuing CS careers
  • Excitement around CS, CT, and coding in general

I loved learning more about SciGirls because prior to the showcase I had been using and sharing resources from SciGirls Code. One of my favorite ways to talk with kids about STEM+C careers (which is STEM with Computing) and why we learn about computer science, is through personal stories. I have found many of SciGirls Code profiles helpful when introducing a coding or robotics activity. I like to start my lessons in classrooms by connecting how what we are doing could relate to the world around them. It could connect to a future career or real life examples they have experienced. While many of the activities have a focus towards girls in middle school, I am able to be selective in resources and adapt them to meet the needs for kids in kindergarten or while working with students of any age.

When you have time, visit their website so you can explore the many different resources they have. They have so much in addition to coding resources. Here are a few of my favorite:

  • Profiles – Featuring a variety of young and diverse women in STEM careers through short videos that showcase their careers and experiences.
  • Educator Resources – Providing a variety of resources for classroom use, access to training, and scholarships.
  • Kid Resources – A site for kids to explore videos, games, and create their own profile.

How do you connect classroom activities on STEM+C with real world stories? Who are the female role models you look to when encouraging a more inclusive culture? How could you use SciGirlsCode resources with kids you know (in and out of the classroom)?

The STEM for All Video Showcase is funded by (Award #1642187) and done in collaboration with the following NSF-funded resource centers: MSPnet, CADRE, CIRCL, CAISE, STELAR, and CS for All Teachers.

Visit the following links to see additional projects Facilitator Choice , Presenter Choice , Public Choice

Visit the following link to view additional facilitators.

We are ready for the 2018 STEM for All NSF Video Showcase


Over here at CIRCLEducators, we’re excited for the 2018 STEM for All NSF Video showcase http://stemforall2018.videohall.comThe showcase is May 14-21 and there will be over 200 very short (3-minute) videos.

Last year, we had one CIRCLEducator as a facilitator.  This year, we’re thrilled that 3 CIRCLEducators will be facilitators at the event. If you can, come join us and give your thoughts on the NSF projects. We need educators in the conversations about the projects.  The showcase is a great way to get new ideas, learn about new projects, and meet others who are passionate about STEM education and learning. If you want to know more, read a post from last year when Sarah Hampton wrote about it and called it an “education wonderland!” 

So what do you have to do?  Just head over to the site and watch some videos.  

You can also sign up to leave comments and vote so you can add your voice and thoughts.  

You can see our other posts about the video showcase from previous years here.  Stay tuned for our thoughts about exciting projects after the showcase.  

Programming + Music with EarSketch

By Pati Ruiz

The timing of this year’s  STEM For All Video Showcase worked well for me as a teacher. It allowed me to see something right when I was starting to evaluate my curriculum and prepare for next year. During the 2017-18 school year, I will be teaching two high school computer science courses: one is an introductory course for Sophomores and the other is a new (for me) intermediate course for Juniors. Due to time constraints, our school schedule will not allow me to offer the AP Computer Science Principles course. Instead, I am designing a curriculum that’s appropriate for my students. I am excited about the content and hope it will be engaging for them.

As I watched the videos in the showcase, the EarSketch: teaching coding through music video presented by Lea Ikkache and Jason Freeman really captured my attention, or, dare I say it – caught my ear. As I read through the discussion thread, I learned quite a bit from the comments. I learned that there is a community of CS educators who are now using EarSketch, and even a Facebook group where the community can discuss the curriculum and share their materials and tips. The curriculum is aligned with the AP CSP standards currently, and the team is looking to align to CSTA standards in the future! Among other topics, students will learn to use variables, loops, conditionals, and lists appropriately. They will also learn to use functions and write appropriate comments for their code.

Now that it’s August, I find myself planning for next year and really digging deeper into this curriculum. As I work through the modules, I find that the instructions are very clear and well-structured, and the tasks are engaging. Best of all, EarSketch is super easy to use because it’s completely free and works right in your web browser – there’s nothing to download or install. So my students can easily access this programming environment from home or the library. While you can use EarSketch in either Python or JavaScript, I have opted to use the Python version. I am learning a lot, and am even planning to invite our music teacher to our class so she can help us make sense of the music theory elements that we might encounter. I am lucky to teach in a school where the performing and visual arts are emphasized. I will also be encouraging music teachers to check this tool out.

I am still learning about EarSketch, but what I can tell so far is that it will engage some of my students (all young women) who are very involved with music-based extracurricular activities. It is also an application for programming that my students might not be anticipating. Through my dissertation study, I am learning about the importance of designing relevant and interesting examples and assignments for our students. EarSketch is definitely going to provide my students an opportunity to apply and practice programming concepts in a creative context with very appropriate supports in the form of instructions, resources, and examples. There are many links to audio and video files throughout!

I know that the research group is conducting further research to better understand EarSketch and its implementation in schools, specifically as AP CSP classes integrate the curriculum. I will be on the lookout for more publications about EarSketch – here is one about engagement across gender and underrepresented populations. Also, check out this EarSketch video that includes a variety of perspectives of people who have engaged with music and computer science through EarSketch.

​Image from Website:

5 videos from the STEM for all Video Showcase

By Judi Fusco

I just watched this video about mathematics educators and Makers.  If you’re interested in either topic,  I suggest stopping by the STEM for all Video Showcase and watching.  The videos from the video showcase will be available after the showcase ends, but right now you can participate in the ongoing discussions and give feedback.  You can also VOTE for your favorite!  

There’s a lot over there so you may feel like a kid in a candy store.  I’ll share some of the others I have watched and enjoyed.  If you tweet, take a look at the twitter hashtag for the showcase to see what others are saying. 

The image on the right shows what you see when you get to the showcase.  You can filter by keywords, age/grade level, and 5 other ways.  

I started watching in the Cyberlearning area (filtered by keyword) and then went to the Teacher Audience type.


There seems to be something for EVERYONE in the Showcase.  There is EarSketch: teaching coding through music.  As I watched it, I became very interested because it has curriculum aligned with AP Computer Science test, and it seems to be inspiring to students.  If kids are inspired they often go further than is required of them and it makes their learning fun.  

I spent some more time watching videos and I want to go to the K12 Engineering Scholars Program! It looks like such a great experience!  I would love to see these in other states!  

​I also watched the TechFit Video as I think keeping our kids active is very important.  I love what I saw in the project!  

And finally, number five (the first video is linked in the first line of the post) is the EcoXPT video — it’s a virtual environment for students to learn about field research in biology.  It seems like it would give great experiences and help students learn. 

I tried to share a diverse set of videos in this post to show how much ground the STEM for All Video Showcase covers.  I hope you’ll take some time to explore and watch!