“Making” Change at Y-Creator Space

[Many times the most creative approaches to learning occur in after or out-of-school programs. Three sites for the YMCA in Pittsburgh have tapped into human-centered design to challenge young people to not only “make” items, but to solve problems in their communities. Here’s an article from Remake Learning that highlights a creative use of eTextiles to solve a transportation issue. I have visited two of the sites and observed the kids at work. They tackle the challenges with enthusiasm and creativity.]

Written by Natalie Orenstein on November 12, 2015

Photo by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

Last year, a group of kids in Pittsburgh set about making cycling safer—and more stylish. With a sewing machine and a lesson in circuitry, the pre-teens created a shirt that lights up and changes color depending on how fast you ride your bike.

The young designers were participants in Y-Creator Space (YCS), an afterschool program that serves low-income youth at three Pittsburgh locations. The mission of YCS is to teachhuman-centered design using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Kids create prototypes and then build products that solve a problem or hurdle that a person or a community faces—thus the “human centered” tag.

At first glance, YCS might appear a lot like other local programs—Assemble or MAKESHOP—that emphasize creativity and hands-on learning. “But we’re different from a makerspace in that we’re very purposeful,” said Nic Jaramillo, YCS director since its start in 2011. At YCS, the goal is less open-ended tinkering and more tangible application of ideas and creativity. The kids are always making something—whether that’s the playful wearable technology or an aquaponics system that encourages healthy eating.

Read more…

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply