University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Thomas Akiva and Research Team Receive National Science Foundation Grant

Published on 8/16/2017 10:00:00 AM

Thomas Akiva, a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, received a grant of nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to undertake a project entitled "Remake Making: Understanding Adoption and Adaptation of Facilitated Making in Libraries."

Akiva leads the investigative team that includes Pitt faculty Kevin Crowley (School of Education) and Leanne Bowler (School of Computing and Information), along with Peter Wardrip from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

The funding will support professional development programs for staff in two local library systems to help improve their existing makerspaces. A makerspace is defined as a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.

These spaces provide informal learning opportunities for kids in science and technology, accelerating intellectual growth. The grant supports investigation of adults' roles in facilitating activities in makerspaces and the development of relevant professional development programs and assessment.

Akiva’s overall research focuses on understanding and improving out-of-school learning (OSL) program experiences for children and youth. His team investigates child and youth program processes at multiple levels, with studies about program practices, staff professional development, and cross-program networks. This research is designed to uncover practical findings to support adults who work with youth in program settings.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in this country. By advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, our nation can develop the knowledge and cutting edge technologies needed to address the challenges we face today and will face in the future.


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