A type of qualitative research that seeks to understand people's lived experiences through close interaction over a period of time
The ethnographic team, composed of 5 interns from 5 diverse academic institutions, is exploring questions about 21st century skills and an ever-growing, diverse STEM workforce.
Attempting to answer questions like:
What defines the community that we work in?
How does experiential learning influence workforce development?
How do students learn in an authentic environment with real world consequences?
How does multidimensional diversity influence the functioning and outcomes of a team?
How does Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem interact with the Southeast Neighborhood and what are community members' perception of its involvement?
How do arts influence knowledge retention in STEAM education?
*Science, Technology, Education, Arts, and Math
To answer these questions, student researchers employ a variety of techniques including participant observation, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. For 10 weeks the researchers engage with interns and participate in their various projects, using self as a tool in order to gain a deeper understanding of every dimension of the educational ecosystem. Their work is centered around four projects.
Musical Instruments and STEAM Education
Ethnographic interns helped plan and instruct child STEM+music programs, using a combination of custom instruments, grade-level science and math concepts, and introductory musical concepts. The goal is to offer an authentic, informal learning experience (like BCe2 in general) that is more engaging and collaborative than a typical classroom experience and to highlight the interplay between music and STEM fields.
Workforce Development and Diversity
As a part of the Southeast Neighborhood, Bowman Creek plays an important role in working with the neighbors to implement solutions to the present problems. It is essential for the success of this project to identify who speaks for the community, what problems do they want addressed, and what about this neighborhood is valued most. This study is being conducted to discover neighbors' voices and how BCe2 sees to it that they are heard.
Over the course of this internship, the interns have been exposed to learning in an authentic environment. Outside of the classroom, interns have the opportunity to develop technical, scientific, political, bureaucratic, social, and practical skills when placed in Bowman Creek’s environment. Ultimately, this study is conducted to discover what learning processes are best for obtaining and retaining information.
Interns study how STEM students learn to collaborate and problem-solve when working on place-based projects in diverse settings. They also observe how working on projects with real life consequences helps interns identify career pathways and gain workforce development skills. Studying these topics allows Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem to create design strategies required for the successful replication elsewhere.