Monday, February 29, 2016

Iridescent or Tara Chklovski’s model of Education

After Tara Chklovski graduated at the university she suddenly realized that what she had studied there was not quite the field she wanted to devote her life to. She had felt that it was education that would form the future and that she needed to be part of it. Therefore she decided to set up Iridescent, an organization that creates and delivers powerful science, engineering and technology education to help underprivileged children and youth develop.

She knew that it is not just the content that shapes good education but also curiosity, creativity and persistence. These three attributes have become the key attributes of the model of education she with her team provides.

In this non-profit educational project they mediate and arrange to train professional engineers, scientists, and parents to deliver STEM education to underserved girls, children and their families.

Their two flagship programs - Curiosity Machine & Technovation have different approaches, but share the same core objectives: problem solving & innovation, parent involvement and STEM mentorship.
For more look at the presentations about Iridescent STEM Model and Club Model.

Let’s have a look at both programs in more detail.
Curiosity Machine is an original, hands-on, engineering design curriculum for girls and boys aged 5-13 years (Grades K-8) and their families. Trained engineers and scientists develop and teach unique hands-on projects based on current research and mentor. 
Parents are engaged as learners which is a key ingredient for lasting impact not addressed by other STEM educational programs. They build hands on engineering design challenges along with their children. Not only are they helping their children, they are also actively involved in the process. They learn science and engineering concepts and practice helping their children troubleshoot and solve problems. This video is a great example of what it looks like and you can find the research evaluation results here.
More about Curiosity Machine in the video below or at YouTube channel.

Technovation is a technology entrepreneurship program for teams of middle and high school girls. During this 12 week program, girls learn to brainstorm and research ideas, develop a business plan and pitch, and create a mobile APP, to address a local issue in their community.
Moreover, they offer Scientists and Engineers’ Outreach, multiple ways for professional scientists and engineers to get involved with their programs. Opportunities include learning how to translate academic and professional work into an open-ended design challenge; becoming an online mentor for children building those challenges; teaching a full family science course; and telling your story in a video. (1)
For more look at the Technovation curriculum and YouTube channel.

So, if you are a competing 19-or-under girl and want to join this program to launch a new start-up, start thinking about a team between three to five members, about a teacher to be your team coach and also about a mentor, a professional in technology or business to consult  particular issues during the project. After you, your team-mates, the teacher and the mentor register, you can create a team in the system and then be connected as a group. The team will submit its app idea and deliverables for the competition through the team page.
Teachers can also become regional Technovation ambassadors.


When Tara Chklovski’s presentation finished I had a long chat with Allie Holmes, one of Tara’s colleagues and we had a very interesting and inspiring conversation that confirmed my opinion about this amazing team of people and the great job they do here.