In this project Science Discovery, and the CU’s Department of Computer Science and School of Education, as well as numerous public libraries and the Colorado Center for the Blind, are working together to connect youth and community MakerSpaces with CU Boulder’s Tactile Picture Books Project. Through this Build a Better Book initiative, middle and high school youth develop technology skills as they design and create accessible, multi-modal picture books that you can see, touch and hear!

The initiative centres developing workshops focused on different Maker technologies, including paper engineering, 3D design and printing, and circuitry and sound, all designed to create interactive books for children who are visually impaired or have other learning abilities. Workshops are designed for youth ages 11-20, and we welcome the participation of local Makers and other STEM professionals. The project is part of an NSF Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant #1615247.

This project centred on three research questions: a) What aspects of the TPBP curriculum and informal learning environment most effectively support students' STEM competencies and dispositions, including multimodal literacy and 3D design for diverse learners, fabrication skills, collaboration and innovation, and self-efficacy and persistence? b) In what ways and to what degree do STEM Professionals, serving as Makerspace mentors, influence students? awareness of and interest in STEM careers? And c) What aspects of the Critical Making experience focused on tactile books most effectively engage and support underrepresented learners, including girls, minorities and students with visual impairments, in 3D design and fabrication activities, and in developing STEM attitudes and interests?

Watch the video below or read more about the project on the CU Science Discovery website:

CU Science Discovery Article: Build a Better Book