Smart Cookies

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Thin MintsFrom the growing body of research literature on experiential education, it seems that fewer researchers are questioning the merit of experiential education these days as a complementary approach to classroom-based learning. Indeed, we’ve seen for ourselves how hands-on activities can teach students a wide range of valuable, new skills in a short period of time through the SEAFUEL program. That being said, there are still relatively few studies that manage to provide concrete evidence—mostly because it’s incredibly difficult to collect—connecting specific experiential education activities with their supposed outcomes.

Nevertheless, experiential education undoubtedly has a lot to offer, particularly in its ability to appeal to individual student interests. SEAFUEL employs the experiential model to help students prove to themselves that they are inherently creative and scientifically capable, which helps them overcome many of the social issues they face growing up. A student’s perception of their role in society can be heavily influenced by the images and messages they are exposed to every day. Consequently, as an organization that is committed to increasing the diversity and skill level of our future STEM workforce, we wish to draw your attention to the recent efforts of the Girl Scout Research Institute.  A lot of folks probably associate the Girls Scouts with their world famous cookies, but the organization is also responsible for extensive research and the advocacy of girls’ issues.  Their recent efforts to quantify the impact of social perceptions on girls’ interest in STEM careers is quite interesting.   Some of their findings include:

  • Seventy-four percent of high school girls across the country are interested in the fields and subjects of STEM.
  • Girls who are interested in STEM are high achievers who have supportive adult networks and are exposed to STEM fields.
  • Perceived gender barriers are still high for girls and may help explain why STEM fields aren’t their top career choices.
  • African American and Hispanic girls have high interest in STEM, high confidence, and a strong work ethic, but have fewer supports, less exposure, and lower academic achievement than Caucasian girls.

Check out the report here. It’s an interesting read!

Seafuel.org Goes Live!

December 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

SEAFUEL
For the last couple of months, we’ve been poring over books on SQL databases and C# code over breakfast so that we can begin to offer you better services and applications. Meanwhile, we’ve passed many an afternoon compiling the material we developed over the summer for the SEAFUEL program in Boston. To test our newfound skills, we developed a brand new web site to host the resources we’ve compiled and we are pleased to announce that it is being launched today at www.seafuel.org. We hope you’ll let us know if you find any bugs…

On the home page of the new site, you’ll see a short video about the pilot program we launched in July to offer a glimpse of what SEAFUEL is all about. Other resources include free curriculum and source code for Arduino projects.  Over the coming months, more content will be added to the site (e.g. hardware components, teacher presentations, and more) as we gear up for the summer of 2013. If you’re interested in running a SEAFUEL program for students in your area, simply reach out to us by email for more information. We’d love to hear from you!

New MudWatt Module

December 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

CurriculumAn oversight was recently pointed out to us by the good people at Science Buddies (whose site is a great reference for science projects, by the way). A group of educators working under an NSF grant put together a 3-week-long MudWatt™ module to be used at the middle-school level in physical chemistry classrooms. The resulting curriculum is both free and fantastic! It includes a variety of engaging lesson plans, slides, activities, and homework assignments that we think the Keego Community ought to know about.

We have provided a new link to this free material in the Educational Resources section of our website.  Check it out! The module was created by Shannon Root, Keri West, Andrea Dale, Dr. Haluk Beyenal, and Jerome Babauta, and supported by NSF under the care of Dr. Richard L. Zollars of Washington State University.

SEAFUEL Rocked!

November 1, 2012 § 1 Comment


With funding from the Office of Naval Research, KeegoTech piloted a new education program this past summer, called SEAFUEL, to help inspire today’s youth to take more interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The program was held at our headquarters in Somerville, Massachusetts from early July to late August, and about a dozen students from Charlestown High School were selected to participate.

The SEAFUEL curriculum was designed to emphasize experiential learning because we feel that a hands-on approach is the most effective way to show that science and engineering are interesting and fun.  During the 8 week program, students learned firsthand how to do basic computer programming,  circuit building, 3D modelling, rapid prototyping, and much more.  They also got their hands dirty on a regular basis with electronics projects involving the Arduino microcontroller. By the end of the summer, students with no prior experience with electronics were able to build circuits and write programs to control a wide range of devices.

Once a week, students also visited companies and institutions in the greater Boston area  (e.g. the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Blue Fin Robotics, Artisan’s Asylum, IDEO, and others) to see what STEM professions are really like. These visits effectively deconstructed many of the preconceived stereotypes and misconceptions students had about STEM careers (i.e. that they involve boring people, tedious projects, and austere work environments).

For the final project, students were divided into groups and tasked with designing and building their own autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).  Students first brainstormed possible biomimetic designs before developing a build plan for the frame.  Next, students built the necessary circuits (involving sensors, motors and more) and wrote the control program to give their vehicles functionality. Finally, each group demonstrated their outstanding progress by showing off their AUVs at the MIT pool.

We are very proud of our first round of SEAFUEL graduates, and we thank them for all of their hard work and great attitudes. Over the next few months, we will be compiling all of the curriculum we developed over the summer to be made available for free on our website.  Stay tuned for updates!

From Mud to Satellites

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Say what? We haven’t written anything since April? It’s a shameful excuse, we know, but we’ve been busy!

Arlene Ducao at Maker FaireOver the last few months, we’ve been working on some new projects and products that we’re really excited about (more details to come soon). For the moment though, we’ll get the blog ball rolling again with a shout-out to Arlene Ducao at the MIT Media Lab. Arlene recently presented her work on OpenIR at the Maker Faire in Boston. The project seeks to map features using existing infrared satellite imagery to provide a means of identifying risks to ecologically vulnerable areas.

By using infrared imagery, OpenIR is able to reveal features that are ordinarily concealed by true color imagery. For instance, concrete and vegetation are highlighted by infrared, which can be used to assess an area’s risk of flooding. As OpenIR continues to develop, Arlene hopes to see the technology integrated with ground-based sensor networks to cross reference the existing data, and technologies like the MudWatt and Twine may be able to aid OpenIR in realizing that goal.

For more information, check out the OpenIR website where several prototypes are available for demonstration, or you can see her full talk at the Maker Faire here.

New Tutorial Video

April 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Our very own Annette Potvin has put together a sweet tutorial video showing you how to put together your MudWatt.  Check it out here!

Big kudos to Annette for the rockin’ video!

Announcing SEAFUEL

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Keego Technologies is pleased to announce the receipt of a $100K grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to implement a summer science education program entitled SEAFUEL (Summer Exploratory Activities Fostering Underwater Energy Learning).

As one of 12 winning proposals recently selected for the ONR’s Sponsoring Scholars in Science challenge (from over 125 submissions), SEAFUEL will support the ONR’s objective of cultivating student interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

SEAFUEL is an inquiry-based, STEM exploration program focused on underwater energy harvesting.  Twenty-five (25) high school students will be selected to participate in an initial phase of the program, beginning in June of 2012.  Students will receive instruction from accomplished experts in industry and academia on topics in marine engineering, robotics, power generation, and more as they collaborate to assemble unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) of their own.

We are very thankful to the ONR for this opportunity, and we are very excited to launch SEAFUEL this summer!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers