What is Tech Tales?

Explore technology with your family! Learn about circuitry, robotics, e-textiles, and programming together—use old and new technology to bring your stories to life.

This partnership between the University of Washington Bothell’s OpenSTEM Research, UW Seattle Institute for Science + Math Education, Pacific Science Center, Highline Native Education Program and the Seattle Public Libraries has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year project called Backpacks for Science Learning. The project fosters opportunities for families to explore science and engineering together as they engage with robotics, computer science, and coding.

This partnership leverages the unique strengths of all involved – a university, science center library system and a Native American community organization – to bring engineering and robotics education to a broad range of communities.

Families will learn computing and robotics ideas at workshops at Pacific Science Center, the Native Education Program and The Seattle Public Library, then continue their exploration at home by checking out backpacks full of projects. Families will “level up” to new challenges through a digital badge system, which will also encourage interaction among participants.  This project will be a way for young people to explore STEM and, possibly, start to think of themselves as scientists or engineers.

Throughout the project, researchers at the University of Washington in Bothell and Seattle will examine the program’s impacts on family learning and identity development, especially among populations that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The project will also study the effect of this multi-partner model of workshops and take-home STEM materials.

What is it? 

Series of  workshops for families in your community

Telling stories that are important to your family while exploring new technology

Learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math while learning more about each other

What do I need to know about writing code or engineering?

Nothing, or everything! Everyone is welcome!

What about the research?

As part of the Tech Tales team, researchers at the University of Washington’s OpenStem Research and Institute for Science and Math Education are interested in understanding how programs like Tech Tales can support families working together, connecting STEM with the things that are important to them and their communities. All too often, science and technology are taught without connection to the cultures, languages, or issues that are important to learners. We hope that Tech Tales represents a new type of program–one that incorporates science, technology, engineering, math, and art with the everyday practices of learners of all ages. We are also interested in how librarians and other kinds of facilitators learn how to run programs like Tech Tales so that we can help others start similar types of programs.

Tech Tales @ ATALM 2017

Download the poster shared at ATALM 2017 at Santa Ana Pueblo

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Highline Native Education Program nsf1-web