Telephone Workshop Syllabuses
STEM-Style Electrical Engineering Workshops
'Telephone Workshops' is a full-scale development project that examines the impact of a scalable, STEM after-school program which inspires children and young teens to become engineers. This project builds on two years of Telephone Workshops which demonstrate improvements in participants' engineering interest, history and mathematics knowledge, and self-efficacy. It also tests the model for scale, breadth, and depth. The content emphasis is electric theory and engineering and includes topics such as Ohm’s Law, historically significant telephone advancements, semiconductor technology, telephone architecture, transmitters, receivers, inductors, handsets, and historical figures in science.
The project targets youth and teens in the Greater Boston Area. The design is focused around electric theory and is intended to foster participants' intrinsic curiosity and self-motivation while discovering the invisible world of electricity with physical and mathematical analogies. Participants engage in ‘taking stuff apart’ as they uncover the practical applications of electric theory as applied to telephony. The activities are provided in a series of Telephone Workshops which take place in after-school programs such as LEAP (Lincoln Extended Activity Program). The Telephone Workshops are taught by undergraduate and graduate engineering students with support from engineers who serve as mentors. The project deliverable is a two-year longitudinal evaluation designed to assess the impact of the Telephone Workshops in an informal atmosphere and the participants' interest in and understanding of engineering. This project will reach approximately one thousand students.
The evaluation will be conducted by The Telephone Museum, Inc. The evaluation questions are as follows: Are activities such as taking stuff apart, wiring of components, as well as the Telephone Workshops, aligned with the project's goals? What is the impact on participants' interest in and understanding of electric theory as a mathematical ratio? What is the impact on participants' interest in and understanding of the voice-to-electric current-to-voice phenomenon? What is the impact on participants' hands-on tool skills and dexterity with small parts? Is the project scalable, able to produce effective learning tools, and develop long-term partnerships with schools? Stage 1 begins with the creation of a schedule by The Telephone Museum, Inc. and the collection of baseline data on participants' STEM experiences and knowledge. Stage 2 involves a two year collection of formative evaluation data on; teaching by the Telephone Workshops’ informal educators, understanding of electric theory, taking stuff apart, wiring of components, and knowledge of historic technical events.
Finally, a summative evaluation addresses how well the project met the goals associated with improving participants' understanding of electric theory, engineering, historically significant telephone advancements, as well as scalability. The project extends its impact in the professional education communities via various online social networking forums as part of a comprehensive dissemination plan. The Telephone Workshops help informal science education organizations broaden participation, promote collaboration between schools and informal science education organizations, help increase STEM-based community awareness, and compel parents to invest in and help sustain a community STEM program. The Telephone Workshops’ model for sustained STEM learning experiences promises to help advance the field.
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