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Devyn commented on I need an expert!

Great idea with a whopping amount of scalability, I love it.

I manage an organization that does this on a smaller level: STOMP (Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program) is an engineering education organization at Tufts University that pairs up university students with teachers in Boston elementary schools to teach hands on curricula focused STEM and the engineering design process. STOMP fellows teach 1-2 hr classes a week, for 8-10 weeks a semester. It is a great experience for the teacher for all the reasons you have mentioned, and really benefits Tufts students as they are able to hone teaching skills and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

Would the focus be for an expert to have a continued presence in the classroom (even just once a week for a month) or are one and done experts accepted as well?

I think the database idea is a great way to get this started, with participants filling out either "expert wanted" or "Expert for 'hire'" forms, which can be viewed by parents/community members and teachers alike. A feature I would love to see would be if a teacher wants an expert in their class they need to offer themselves as an expert in another (logistics permitting), because everyone is an expert at something!

Thank you both for your comments! I apologize for the delayed comment; I was away last week, but it feels great to get such positive feedback. Unfortunately in our current stage, our focus is expansion within the greater Boston area, including undergraduates from other Boston schools. I have actually just come into the management position this month, but I would love to sketch up a flow chart with how I think STOMP could look at another school, and see if I can comment a link here.

The two largest obstacles for an individual school to pick up STOMP is funding for materials. Many of our lessons utilize Lego Robotics kits, which are not cheap! To help work around that we could create a "low-budget" section of our online activity database that includes all of the lessons that utilize household materials such as spaghetti, basic Lego bricks, aluminum foil, and even recyclables.

The difficulty of expanding STOMP to another university or college is this issue compounded with funding the undergraduates. I have always said that I would work for STOMP for free, and I think that might be true of a good percent of undergraduates, but there is often a natural decrease in effort/investment. So I am looking to expand within Boston first so that we can use our funding, materials, and classrooms all together to best facilitate the birth of a new branch (ie providing Lego kits to students at college X who will volunteer to teach in a classroom that has years of experience with STOMP).