Design Squad Global

September 1st, 2014 - August 31st, 2017 | PROJECT

This project will help address the urgent need for a new engineering workforce. Middle school students will be entering a workforce that is increasingly global. They will need not only technical skills but also global competencies including: the ability to investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate ideas, and take action. This model integrates engineering with global competencies and will provide new knowledge about how this type of learning experience impacts students and educators. This project builds on the success of the previous Design Squad project funded by NSF and developed by WGBH, which has implemented a national model for engineering education for middle school youth. This project expands the model internationally, connecting U.S. based youth with those in Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland). The project partners are FHI 360, a non-profit organization in 60 countries around the world that helps build capacity for improving lives. They will facilitate the implementation of the afterschool programs in Southern Africa . The US dissemination partners include Promise Neighborhoods Institute, Middle Start, Every Hour Counts, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Project deliverables include a global engineering curriculum; a web platform with videos, games, activities; an afterschool Club Guide; and a Community of Practice for informal engineering educators. A knowledge building component will provide new evidence on how high quality accessible resources and strategies can impact students' development of global competencies and engineering skills to solve real world problems. An iterative approach will be used to develop the resources including the global engineering afterschool curriculum, Club guide, and other components. The methodology uses a continuous cycle of improvement including: assess/design, test/ implement, synthesize/reflect, and utilize/disseminate. The Summative Evaluation will generate evidence about whether and how this kind of collaborative work builds children's understanding of engineering, motivation to participate, and confidence in taking informed action on behalf of pressing global problems. This will contribute to a larger body of work about whether and how engaging with global, collaborative engineering problems leads to greater self-efficacy for children with very different backgrounds, experiences, and opportunities. This project will add new knowledge about how the well-honed Design Squad model in the U.S. can be expanded with a global context and global partners. This proposal was co-funded by EHR/DRL, Engineering/EEC, and International Science and Engineering. During the project period approximately 125,000 children in the US and 5000 children in southern Africa will be reached. In the long term, with the continued global access to the resources, the reach will potentially be in the millions.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Design Squad Global Clubs
Design Squad Global: Research Findings from the Second Round of Implementation
Design Squad Global Summative Evaluation Report
Design Squad Global Outreach Partner Report
Video – Design Squad Global Clubs

Team Members

Marisa Wolsky, Principal Investigator, WGBH Educational Foundation
Sonja Latimore, Co-Principal Investigator, WGBH Educational Foundation


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1422236
Funding Amount: $2,734,997

Funding Source: Private Foundation
Funding Program: Lemelson Foundation
Funding Amount: $461,748


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Engineering
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media