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La Clase Mágica as a Community Based Expansive Learning Approach to STEM Education

Andrew Schuetze, Lorena Claeys, Belinda Bustos Flores, Shannon Sezech

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As an alternative to experimental design, using a social design experiment methodology, we analyzed the Academy for Teacher Excellence’s La Clase Mágica’s (LCM) Robotics Clubs, a university-school collaborative partnership. Given the scarcity of minority representation in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), we established robotics clubs to provide young learners, ages 5–14, with STEM opportunities to engage in playful informal learning that promotes creativity, mathematical, and scientific skills along with other forms of literacy. In this manuscript, we describe the learning process that occurs within the robotics clubs established at seven schools who serve large numbers of underserved-underrepresented populations. Multiple data sources include meeting notes, interviews, field notes, and focus groups. The use of multiple data sources, peer-review, and triangulation of the data assisted in establishing trustworthiness. We found that this community based expansive learning approach contributes to the mutual learning benefits of the different participants, learners (protégés) and undergraduate students (mentors).

Keywords: Communities of Practice, Robotics, Latinos, Informal Learning, STEM


Bibliography: Schuetze, Andrew/Claeys, Lorena/Bustos Flores, Belinda/Sezech, Shannon: La Clase Mágica as a Community Based Expansive Learning Approach to STEM Education, IJREE, Vol. 2, Issue 2-2014, pp. 27-45.