Pathways: Apprenticeships in Sustainability Science and Engineering Design (ASCEND)

October 1st, 2013 - September 30th, 2015 | PROJECT

Our goal is to demonstrate an educational model fully commensurate with the demands of the 21st Century workforce, and more specifically, with the emerging “green-tech” economy. We recognize a pressing need creating more sustainable solutions for the (human) built-environment and of stabilizing economic patterns that uphold sustainable systems. to prepare citizens for the challenges of The ASCEND model is designed to encourage these societal shifts, but at the same time, it is an attempt to put theory into practice - activating educational practices aligned with research on human development and cognition. For some time now strong recommendations for apprenticeship learning have emphasized the function of legitimate peripheral participation – the possibility of which becomes more prevalent in robust communities of practice. As compared to top-down approaches (typical of formal education settings) these "learning communities" are seen as being more closely aligned with our natural propensities for learning and cognition. ASCEND represents a design-experiment -an attempt to learn how we can create and sustain opportunities for apprenticeship learning in an interdisciplinary arena at the leading edge of technical innovation. In addition, the ASCEND model introduces and examines the efficacy of “digital storytelling” as an alternative to more traditional forms of apprenticeship learning and as a means to engage and advance this and future generations in STEM. A further goal is to develop innovative measures of assessment commensurate with this new model of apprenticeship learning. Finally ASCEND explore how informal learning organizations (museums, libraries, preserves etc.) can use digital storytelling to develop community-driven programs inclusive of at-risk youth and other hard to reach audiences.

Project Website(s)

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Project Products

Poster - Apprenticeships in Sustainability Science & Engineering Design (ASCEND)

Team Members

Michael Isaacson, Principal Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz
Doris Ash, Co-Principal Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz
Jeffrey Bury, Co-Principal Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz
Irene Lusztig, Co-Principal Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tamara Ball, Project Manager, University of California, Santa Cruz


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1323804
Funding Amount: 249411


Access and Inclusion: Low Socioeconomic Status
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Making and Tinkering Programs | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs