Sons and daughters of migrant workers from across Indiana were recently immersed in technologies that may someday lead to new careers in a variety of rapidly growing industries.
For the second consecutive year, Teachers College was host to 50 middle school students and their teachers who participated in the Migrant Education S.T.E.M. Technology Summit. The three-day program was a partnership between the Indiana Department of Education Migrant Education Program and the Educational Technology Programof Ball State University’s Teachers College.
Goals for the summit are to engage students in problem solving activities where they develop communication, teamwork, and leadership skills.
“This is the second year of the summit and we hope to make it an annual event,” said Jon Clausen, an associate professor of secondary education and education technology at Ball State.
“The summit brought together students and teachers from across the state of Indiana to engage with each other and explore how different technologies can support student learning and potential career opportunities.”
One theme of the summit focused on storytelling through technology. Participants toured the WIPB-TV studios and then created their own stories using green screen and video editing.
Students also participated in a Maker activity called the Catapult Pentathlon. Participants used the design thinking process to construct a catapult out of various materials, including straws, rubber bands, plastic spoons, and popsicle sticks. Students then used the catapult in five different challenges. Students constructed and tested their designs and eventually competed in the pentathlon where they scored points to earn prizes.
On the final day of the summit, students ran their own print shop, creating and editing their own designs using editing software. Then they applied their designs to bag tags and backpacks.
An additional highlight was the visit by Ball State Provost Susana Rivera-Mills who sat in on several sessions and spoke with students about her own educational journey. The participants also explored campus including the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, Atrium, and Student Center, where they enjoyed the pool hall and bowling.
“Our own undergraduates played a major role in the summit,” said Clausen, noting Ball State students introduced summit participants to campus by designing a BreakoutEDU game that required middle schoolers to collaborate and problem solve several challenges to learn more about the Ball State.
Ball State students also developed and taught sessions on how to take 360-degree pictures and transforming them into virtual reality tours, and 3D animation.
“This was a great opportunity for the teacher education students to plan and teach, to engage with educators from across the state, and to model how technology can be used to provide students with authentic learning experiences.”
Clausen believes the camp will spark the imagination of these young students.
“We are bringing together young students to campus to have them interact with all sorts of technologies as part of an effort to help them understand what education can do for their lives,” he said.
A migrant student is defined as any child, ages 0-21, who moves across school district lines, either by themselves or with a parent or guardian, for the purpose of seeking qualifying seasonal or temporary agricultural work. That work is crucial to producing and harvesting many crops grown in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Education. Migrant students often move multiple times per year— experiencing interrupted schooling and facing other barriers.