ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Digital Leadership
Summit at ISTE20 Live
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

STEM Mio: Digital Pathways for Latino Youth to Pursue STEM Career Futures

Location: W193a

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Monday, June 25, 10:30–11:30 am
Location: W193a

Dr. Anna Arici   Sasha Barab  
STEM Mio is a NSF-funded digital platform to engage Latino youth in STEM college and career pathways. Designed by learning scientists and game engineers, this free platform brings together digital experiences with real-world practices, as students level up on missions exploring STEM interests and related college/career pathways.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None required. You can register for a free account beforehand at and access the demo account. We will then give a special code at the session that provides access to the full experience.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Game-based learning and gamification
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, ESL
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.
For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Latinos make up the fastest growing demographic in the US but remain underrepresented in STEM professions, often because they lack familiarity with STEM careers, Latino-STEM role models, or the college resources to make it possible. To address this, we are enthusiastic to share and train ISTE educators in our newly released digital platform designed to support Latino youth, their peers, and their families in realizing STEM college and career pathways. Funded by NSF, and designed by learning scientists, game engineers, and Latino educators, STEM Mio was designed to help empower students through game-infused missions where they level up in STEM careers of interest and the college futures to make these a reality. These missions are embedded within four Quests: Identifying Passions, Exploring Professions, Pursuing Pathways, and Planning Futures, with the first two focused on matching interests to potential STEM careers, and the last two focused on college preparation and the admissions/funding process. Participants in this session will take on the student role in engaging in the platform itself, and then will be trained to use the Teacher Toolkit (a management backend embedded within the platform itself) and STEM Mio curriculum guide so that they can take this innovation into their own districts, classrooms, or informal learning settings.

In addition, participants in this session will learn the learning science principles in which this platform was designed. Within each mission, learners progress through a 'Growth & Impact Cycle', based in Transformational Play theory, and designed to help students 'Imagine, Grow, Create and Inspire.' While these steps can be taken by students working alone, they are maximized when done within a classroom community with an educator to facilitate those steps and provide support in each of the stages. In the Imagine stage, learners connect with the stories of students who have come before, to get inspiration for the various paths they could take in this mission. In the Growth stage students engage in digital and real-world learning experiences, the content and training they need to succeed. In the Create stage they write a brief story to summarize what they've accomplished, and finally, in the Inspire stage they act as peer mentors and/or can publish their story to inspire others, which brings the cycle full circle to inspire those just beginning that mission.

The STEM Mio Platform includes inquiry-based STEM learning, real-world tasks in class and the community, curated digital games, high-end videos highlighting Latino role models and their careers, strategic college preparation (digital games, course planning, completing applications), and a corresponding Spanish public TV series, Generacíon STEM, to engage the whole family in learning the value of STEM careers and college futures. The platform technology provides the structure to bring together digital skills and real-world experiences, embedded within powerful growth and learning cycles, so that students can progress towards personalized goals, with just-in-time content, available on any device, anywhere, anytime.

We will also share the results of our design-based research, which we have and will continue to conduct this year, with both quantitative results and qualitative findings to further illuminate our research insights and practical take-away. Thus far, beta testing in classrooms and after-school clubs has already shown compelling results, with very positive attitudinal responses from teachers and students and motivated progress, where gamification layers inspired students to complete even non-required activities. The peer review element encouraged students to think deeper about their own understanding of each mission and consider how to communicate these ideas to their peers. Further, students went beyond classroom expectations in their writing to ensure their stories were their best quality before they were published in the platform, with many students continuing to work further on their STEM stories even after they were accepted.

We will make the STEM Mio platform, teacher toolkit, curricula and materials available to ISTE participants. They will also have the option to be supported in gathering their own research in their classroom if interested in pursuing action research. The STEM Mio program is funded by NSF and the platform has been developed over several years in partnership with Intel. We are enthusiastic to release and support this program in reaching Latino students, their peers, and their families, to continue having impact on their access and interest in STEM futures.


1. Review of literature and learning theory underlying Platforms for learning (10 mins)
-Game-based learning -> Blended Learning -> Platforms
-Transformational Play Theory
-Growth and Impact Cycle in STEM MIo

2. Engage in STEM Mio platform (25 mins)
- guided practice
- laptop or device-based activity
- peer-to-peer interaction, audience participation

3. Facilitator training (15 mins)
-overview of teacher dashboard, data analytics, feedback editor
-overview of STEM Mio curriculum and role of educator
-teacher and peer review practice within platform
- individualized learning and differentiating instruction

4. Questions, Discussion, and Future Support (10 mins)

Supporting research

Barab, S.A., Gresalfi, M. & Ingram-Goble, A. (2010). Transformational play: Using games to position person, content and context. Educational Researcher 39(7), pp. 525-536.

Arici, A., Barab, S., & Borden, R. (2016). Gaming up the practice of teacher education: Quest2teach. In Educational Technologies: Challenges, Applications and Learning Outcomes (pp. 95-114). Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Barab, S. & Arici, A. (2014) Game-enabled agency: Outcomes that matter. ICLS '14: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Volume 2. International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Barab, S., & Arici, A. (2016). An eco-centric framework for game-enabled impact: Lessons learned from the Quest2Teach project. In M. F. Young & S.T. Slota, [Eds}, Exploding the Castle: Rethinking How Video Games & Game Mechanics Can Shape the Future of Education. Information Age Publishing.

Arici, A. & Barab, S. (2013). Transformational Play: Using 3D Game-based narratives to immerse students in literacy learning. In P. Escudeiro, & C. Vaz de Carvalho (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Games Based Learning. (Vol. 1) pp 35-45.

More [+]


Dr. Anna Arici, ASU - Center for Games and Impact
Sasha Barab, ASU - Center for Games and Impact

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