NYCI TechSpace STEM in Youth Work Maker Project.
National Youth Council of Ireland and Camara Education Ireland.
The project is strengthening the delivery of STEM education in the youth sector through training and support, resource development, creating communities of practice, celebration events dissemination of good practice, and partnership development.
It is a partnership between the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI – lead partner) with Camara Education Ireland (delivery partner) and is delivered through TechSpace. It is funded by the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI), ESB and Inver.
NYCI began work in the area of STEM and digital media in youth work in 2012 with an international seminar that brought youth organisations together to discuss the potential of using STEM and digital media to enhance youth work and associated risks. From 2014 until 2016, NYCI led research that heard from 300 youth workers and found that:
During the same time-period Camara Education Ireland, through the TechSpace Programme, began a pioneering STEM project funded by ESB, an industry partner. The project delivered training and support to 20 youth workers, who learned how to facilitate Maker activities with 150 young people. The outcomes provided additional evidence of the needs for support.
In 2016, Camara Ireland and NYCI successfully bid to SFI for the STEM in Youth Work Maker project, to further address these needs on a wide, systemic-scale across Ireland.
During an introductory training day youth workers undertake a range of STEM & Maker activities and gain the skills needed to facilitate high-quality STEM projects with young people. They learn how to solder; use Makey Makeys to turn everyday objects, such as bunches of flowers, into computer keyboards; make circuits; make scribble bots; and make speakers.
Following the introductory training, youth workers receive equipment grants. They also gain access to follow-up support, further training, resources, a community-of-practice and more, so that they can continue to develop their STEM in Youth Work practice. The young people have opportunities to showcase their creations at events, including at the amazing annual Creative Tech Fest.
As part of the support provided to youth workers, they receive easy-to-use activity equipment lists and are supported to use their grants to purchase equipment. Youth workers can choose from a range of equipment such as batteries, circuit boards, and components, copper wires, art supplies, MaKey MaKeys, laptops, etc. They need storage space for equipment, wifi and table space for young people to work on.
Please see questions about the benefits below.
Pre and post-training surveys, youth as researchers, post-facilitation surveys, observations, and interviews with youth workers and managers.