NeoStem Ecosystem adopts projects
George Bilokonsky of Cuyahoga Community College and Alexis Crosby of Tech Corps walked out of Thursday’s NeoStem Ecosystem meeting carrying the bones of a Soap Box Derby car. For the next few weeks, Bilokonsky’s students and some of Crosby’s colleagues at Tech Corps will be thinking about how they can take those wheels and boards and develop an autonomous car.
That’s just the first part of the work. Representatives from Cuyahoga Community College, Tech Corps, The Soap Box Derby, ideaStream, Cleveland Public Library, Wickcliffe Schools, TIES and Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center will translate the idea of a driverless Soap Box Derby car into a program that can be taken to libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations that host after-school programs.
And the Soap Box Derby will begin discussions about adding the driverless car category to its races that are held all over the country.
The Soap Box Derby project is one of several that the NeoStem Ecosystem launched Thursday. The group, which has been meeting for more than two years, has also adopted two high-tech/arts-inspired learning projects and a collective project to inventory, catalogue and publicize computer science-related after-school learning opportunities for students.
Thursday’s meeting follows nearly two years of conversation and planning about ways to increase excitement for and awareness of computational thinking, computer science and digital literacy. The basic premise of the group’s work has been to take existing curricula and community resources and pair them with computer science, computational thinking or digital literacy to create learning opportunities that will engage and inspire students, especially the region’s underserved.
Between now and the beginning of April, NeoStem Ecosystem members will map the steps to develop and launch the projects. At a meeting to be scheduled in early April, three projects will be presented to the larger NeoStem Ecosystem group for feedback.
While the NeoStem Ecosystem will be developing just a handful of programs to take to after-school settings, other work of the Ecosystem continues and includes development of a CS-focused curricula for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and informal matchmaking among dozens of organizations in Northeast Ohio to support the overall mission of increasing access to and excitement for computer science, computational thinking and digital literacy.
The group focused on arts-related projects is exploring collaborations that would involve the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and others in a digital storytelling and public campaign to bring to life the stories of some of the men and women whose patents have changed the world. Discussion included creation of life-size and interactive robotic figures of the inventors. These figures could then travel to libraries and other after-school serving as STEM role models and inspiration for students.
In addition to the bringing inventors to life project, .the group is considering a project that would have students design wearable technologies to overcome disabilities, with an eye helping remove the stigma often associated with disability.
The Collective Impact group will work with Starting Point of Cuyahoga County to retrofit the organization’s existing “locator” to become a data collection, asset mapping and sharing tool for the region. The intent is to first inventory and then analyze data about where programs are operating and who they serve with an eye toward identifying areas that need to be developed or refined. All data would be made available to the public in an easy-to-use searchable database.
To join one of the groups and participate in the exciting planning phase of this work, please contact Alyssa Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time, day and location of the April meeting will be announced soon.
The Soap Box Derby Planning Group Includes:
Representatives from Cuyahoga Community College, Tech Corps, The Soap Box Derby, ideaStream, Cleveland Public Library, Wickcliffe Schools and TIES and Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center.
The Arts Planning Group Includes:
Representatives of the Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center, Arts-Inspired Learning, Western Reserve Boys and Girls Club, The National Inventors Hall of Fame, Cuyahoga County Public Library, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Elyria Public Library and Great Lakes Biomimicry.
The Collective Impact Planning Group Includes:
Representatives of The Diga Group, The Cleveland Foundation, University Circle Inc., Starting Point, Get With the Program, Cuyahoga Community College, Breakthrough Schools, Ashland University, Perry Local Schools, Current powered by GE and Horizon Schools.