June Ahn: Reimagining STEM Pathways through the Design of Learning Environments and Technologies @ MAGNET Town Hall, 2 Metrotech Center, 8th floor, Brooklyn, NY

11/20/2014 1:30 pm – 11/20/2014 3:00 pm Reimagining STEM Pathways through the Design of Learning Environments and Technologies June Ahn, University of Maryland An enduring challenge in the United States is achieving equitable representation of underserved populations in STEM fields. We typically address this challenge to improve the STEM pipeline by changing standards, curriculum, and pushing students through formal milestones (e.g. graduating high school, taking advanced mathematics courses, getting to college, majoring in STEM etc.). In this talk, I will argue that the learning outcomes that are often stressed in these settings – content knowledge and skills – explain only a small portion of why someone ultimately pursues STEM in their lives or career. Research in the learning sciences and new media studies suggest that different learning environments and uses of technology (e.g. social media, games, online communities etc.) influence factors such as one’s identity, interests, and literacy skills. How do these factors interact over time in one’s life, and influence a learners’ pathways in STEM learning? I will present several of my design-based research projects at the University of Maryland where we are designing new technologies, learning programs, and sociotechnical systems to probe this question and build deeper insights about how to connect STEM learning across formal and informal settings. These projects include the design of social media apps for children, after school programs using science fiction and new media production, and large-scale peer to peer learning through online communities and alternate reality games. June Ahn is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He holds a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies and College of Education. His research interests include (1) using design-based research to understand how technology and new media can be used to help young people develop learning pathways in STEM and (2) studies that explore the sociotechnical configurations that arise as educators and education systems adopt new technologies, and its relationship to learner outcomes. His past and current projects include the design of an after-school program that leverages science fiction and new media in efforts to help adolescents identify with STEM, studies of peer-to-peer learning at P2PU, the design of social media tools for children’s scientific inquiry, and development of alternate reality games (and analytics of gameplay) to promote informal science learning. These projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation in the Cyberlearning and Advancing Informal STEM Learning directorates. More information can be found at: http://ahnjune.com/