Exploring Making Through Mobile Emergent Technologies: Makerspace Education in Rural Communities

WCER Working Paper No. 2021-1

Jessie Nixon, Erica Halverson, and Andy Stoiber


March 2021, 32 pp.

ABSTRACT: Many manufacturing companies in rural regions are desperate for engineers and skilled employees who are STEM literate, yet young people have limited access to STEM and computational skills beyond the job training available for work on the factory floor. The Exploring Making Through Mobile Emergent Technologies (EMMET) program introduced STEM and computational thinking (STEM+C) skills through mentorship training and hands-on activities involving creative production—often referred to as “making.” The overall project focused on designing maker experiences, training local high school students as maker-mentors for their community, developing partnerships with area community-based organizations, and researching what program participants learned about STEM and computational thinking. The work described in this paper offers a model for regions with distributed, rural populations to build capacity for young people to develop skills and self-efficacy in STEM+C fields.

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keywords: makerspace education, mobile emergent technologies, STEM literacy, rural communities