Make-IT! is an inquiry-based, information technology (IT) program that involves under-represented girls in grades 7-12, their teachers and their parents in using e-portfolios and digital media to develop their abilities in STEM fields. The project models SCANS competencies for workplace know-how in the 21st Century and leverages the resources, programming, and community-based projects of a successful mathematics, science and IT collaborative in the southwest border region. Make-IT! will enhance life-long application of information technology to STEM learning in a year-round systemic enrichment program that includes an after-school component, monthly Saturday all-day symposiums, and a month-long summer field-based experience.
The intellectual merit of this research effort resides in using and practicing information technologies as a means for under-represented students to learn about STEM careers and gain IT abilities. Following weekend and after-school explorations, a university field-based summer lab experience supports students in an intensive experience culminating in the development of a personal STEM e-portfolio. The project also brings together university experts in science and information technology with public school and community leaders to deliver a systemic, focused, year-round enrichment model.
The broader impact of the project is the development of a model that uses information technology to support linguistically and culturally diverse girls in applying 21st century workforce know-how to their own development as future STEM leaders. The development of an extended-day community-based learning model that results in more under-represented students entering STEM fields is essential for the economic well-being of the border region.