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Mobilizing and Empowering Students to Run Large-Scale Efforts

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Listen and learn : Panel

Asher Cohen  
Daniela Delyusto  
Leo Gu  
Colleen Larionoff  
Radha Munver  
Sujan Munver  

When the New York area was the epicenter of the pandemic, students in grades 5-12 collaborated to take home school 3D printers and produce personal protective equipment. Students had agency, and they designed, tested and iterated, made contacts at local hospitals, and donated thousands of pieces of PPE.

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Student agency, choice & voice
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
  • Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
Additional detail: Student presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this panel is to use the examples of several large-scale student-run projects to inspire educators to empower their students to plan large-scale efforts. These projects include producing and distributing PPE, designing assistive technology, forming citizen science partnerships, starting a biotechnology research program, and hosting a webinar, all done in the last year and all student-driven. The panel includes the teacher as well as 5 students ranging from 11 to 15 years of age.
While we were remote in the spring and at the epicenter of the pandemic, the students identified a problem of lack of PPE. The administrators trusted the students to take home 3D printers, and the students took over from there with some guidance from me. They learned Tinkercad to design their own models, tested them and sought feedback, figured out ways to manage this effort remotely, and made contacts. This is a great example of student-driven design process, and the end result was hundreds of respirator caps, thousands of student-designed face sheilds, and tens of thousands of student-designed ear savers donated. This is just one of several projects this panel will discuss.
Students can identify and solve authentic problems and educators can serve as facilitators rather than enforcers.


15 minutes: Overview of the effort
15 minutes: panel discussion of student autonomy
15 minutes: panel discussion on student-driven design process
10 min: panel answers audience questions
5 min: concluding motivational talk

Supporting research



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Asher Cohen, Dwight-Englewood School
Daniela Delyusto, Dwight-Englewood School
Leo Gu, Student
Colleen Larionoff, Dwight Englewood
Radha Munver, Dwight-Englewood School
Sujan Munver, School

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