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E-Textile Video Wins Award in NSF Challenge

09/24/2020

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student working on e-textile project
A student working on their e-textile project

A video highlighting the e-textiles work of ITLS Associate Research Professor Deborah Fields recently received the Experts’ Choice Award for PreK-12 in the National Science Foundation’s STEM Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition Challenge.

Over the last several months, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been judging entries to their STEM Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition Challenge. The video contest invites NSF grantees to showcase, in the form of a short video, how forging partnerships, networks, or alliances has contributed to an increase in diversity and inclusion in STEM. Fields’ submitted video, “Stitching the Loop: Electronic Textiles in Exploring Computer Science,” was produced in 2018 by former ITLS graduate student Matthew Havertz to show Fields’ experiences in broadening, deepening, and diversifying computing experiences in high school computer science classes through e-textile design.

“The electronic projects are not so much about teaching students stitching,” a representative of Fields’ team stated. “It involves a lot of problem solving and thinking about procedures and steps, which connects very closely to thinking about computing and procedures.”

The e-textiles curriculum developed by Fields and her team has now been used by hundreds of students in public schools. Since the completion of the original curriculum in 2018, they have added four intermediate modules for students and teachers who want to explore computing and crafts more deeply.

The Expert’s Choice Award includes a $2,500 prize, and Fields’ team plans to use this money to support professional development for experienced computer science teachers who wish to further their own learning and creativity through e-textiles.

To learn more about the free online curriculum, visit exploringcs.org/e-textiles/curriculum-projects or contact professor Fields at deborah.fields@usu.edu.