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About the STEAMuseum

ibn-rochd-intro1Chicago and Casablanca have shared a strong sister city relationship since 1982, making it one of the oldest of Chicago’s sister city relationships. Through the past 35 years, the cities have worked together on numerous projects across a number of different disciplines to benefit both the people of Casablanca and the people of Chicago.

In 2016, this relationship was brought to a new level of engagement through the development of an innovative and unique education project in the area of digital diplomacy, harnessing 21st century tools to build bridges across the ocean. This project is the STEAMuseum, a project funded through a generous grant from the Aspen Institute’s Stevens Initiative.

Under the Stevens Initiative, Chicago Sister Cities International has partnered with the Idmaj Neighborhoods Association in Morocco, the Digital Youth Network at DePaul University and the Center for Arabic Language and Culture (CALC) to create the STEAMuseum, a digital museum that will act as a collaborative exchange between high school students in Chicago and Casablanca. img_8323This pilot project brings students together virtually to create digital museum exhibits for an eventual virtual, global museum.

The STEAMuseum will be a new kind of cultural space created by and for a new generation of digital learners. It will feature digital artifacts and exhibits exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Art: disciplines that cross cultures and offer powerful tools for understanding the world and each other.

Chicago Sister Cities International is among the first wave of virtual exchange programs to be funded by the Stevens Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to increase people-to-people exchange between youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Virtual exchanges use technology for sustained, people-to-people education programs. The Initiative aims to increase mutual understanding between youth in middle school through post-secondary and equip a generation of globally minded youth with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world.

The STEAMuseum is Hiring

Program Facilitator, STEAMuseum

Chicago Sister Cities International is looking for a program facilitator for their STEAMuseum, a digital museum, created under the Stevens Initiative.

The Stevens Initiative is a public-private partnership designed to increase people-to-people exchange between youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Ambassador Chris Stevens. By fostering structured online engagements between young people in secondary through post-secondary education, the Stevens Initiative aims to increase mutual understanding and equip a generation of globally minded youth with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Housed at the Aspen Institute, the Stevens Institute is a collaboration between the family of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Department of State, the Bezos Family Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Algeria, and Morocco, and Microsoft, Twitter and GoPro.

Under the Stevens Initiative, Chicago Sister Cities International is creating the STEAMuseum, a digital museum developed through a collaborative exchange between high school students, in Chicago and Casablanca. The STEAMuseum is one of ten projects funded in the first wave of the Stevens Initiative. Students from sister cities Chicago and Casablanca work together virtually to create a series of digital exhibits that will make up an eventful virtual museum. “STEAM” is an approach to science learning that encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. It offers a language and a practice that crosses cultures and provides common ground. The STEAMuseum will be a new kind of cultural space created by and for a new generation of digital learners.

Chicago Sister Cities International’s major partners on this project include: the Neighborhoods Association IDMAJ, a youth organization in Casablanca; Digital Youth Network; and the Center for Arabic Language and Culture.

Role Summary

Two Program Facilitators, one in Chicago and one in Casablanca, will provide in-classroom support to participating teachers and students by facilitating communications, program delivery, and the virtual exchange itself. This is a part time contractual position, supported by a two-year grant. It requires approximately 12-15 hours/week beginning in September 2017.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Make weekly visits to three schools throughout the duration of the program
  • (10 -12 weeks in fall 2017 and 12 – 15 weeks in winter/spring 2018)
  • Prep teachers prior to each visit with information about weekly goals, activities, etc.; provide background, handouts, and other materials as specified or needed.
  • Assist teachers with program delivery, keeping students on task, etc.
  • Communicate regularly with Program Facilitator in the partner city to coordinate program activities, exchanges, scheduling, etc.
  • Set up the equipment and connection for the synchronous exchanges; troubleshoot as needed
  • Facilitate productive dialogue between the students in partner schools in both the synchronous and asynchronous exchanges
  • Provide updates to Project Director and Curriculum Developer as needed about the curriculum – what’s working well, what needs improvement
  • Participate in biweekly (virtual) planning meetings with Chicago and Casablanca team to debrief and review upcoming activities, coordinate logistics, and maintain open and regular communication.

Requirements:

  • Experience teaching and/or facilitating group conversation
  • Experience working with youth, especially teens
  • Proficient in English and either French or Arabic
  • Proficient with computers, projectors, cameras, and other related technologies required both to facilitate communications between students in Chicago and Casablanca and to support curricular activities
  • Familiar with Office and Google Drive; experience with online conferencing tools
  • Experience with cross cultural and/or virtual exchanges desired

To Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant background experience to:

Lisa Roberts, Project Director, STEAMuseum at: lcroberts11@gmail.com

Please put “Program Facilitator” in the subject line. Also please note that at this time we are filling the position of Program Facilitator for Chicago only. Applications are being accepted until August 7, 2017.


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“By connecting high school students in Chicago with their peers in Chicago’s sister city of Casablanca, Morocco, the students will not only explore and gain STEAM education, they will learn what it means to be global citizens.”

—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

 


STEAMuseum Blog

Exhibit Development 101, April 21, 2017

students-workingAs we move into spring, the students have begun working on their exhibits in earnest. These are no ordinary exhibits, however; they’re digital exhibits, which will exist only in the virtual world of the STEAMuseum. Of course that means it’s no ordinary development process, either. The students are working in small teams online:  reviewing their digital artifacts, organizing them into a storyboard, and writing labels.

We’re also piloting a new software platform created by our partners at Digital Youth Network. It’s called CurateIt, and it’s designed specifically for the task of curating simple digital exhibits. Because this is a pilot year, everyone is working on the same general topic—the discovery of Spinosaurus in Morocco’s Sahara Desert—but they are exploring a range of different questions, just a scientist would. Stay tuned!

Lisa Roberts, STEAMuseum Project Director and Co-Chair of the Casablanca Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International

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Visit to Casablanca!, March 17, 2017

img_6547Earlier this month, Julie Stagliano, Senior Advisor to the STEAMuseum and Co-Chair of the Casablanca Committee, and I traveled to Casablanca on sister cities business. While there, we had an opportunity to visit each of the STEAMuseum classrooms where we were able meet the students face to face and observe the program in action. Seeing the mirror image of Chicago in these Casablanca classrooms was fascinating and moving, knowing how much it meant that the students were connecting with one another across so many divides.

img_7138We were given a particularly warm welcome by the students at Al Masjid which we happened to visit on International Women’s Day. We, along with the other female teachers, received a red rose and were treated to a performance and presentation (in English) about the value and contributions of women. It was a lovely and meaningful welcome which reinforced the importance of our work connecting people across cultures.

One of the ways we’re trying to deepen those connections in our project is by forming small exhibit teams, composed of 2-3 students from Chicago and 2-3 students from Casablanca. Each team has had a chance to meet and have a short chat via video conference; and they now have their own team thread on the forum where they will communicate only with one another. Many have invited one another to their social media accounts, and we are hoping that these exchanges will lead to more personalized interactions and relationships.

Lisa Roberts, STEAMuseum Project Director and Co-Chair of the Casablanca Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International

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The STEAMuseum Moves Full Steam Ahead, February 1, 2017

img_8318The STEAMuseum is moving full steam ahead! This project of the Stevens Initiative partners three Chicago high schools with three Casablanca high schools to create digital exhibits for a new virtual museum. The students spent most of the fall getting to know one another through activities designed to introduce themselves and their cities. They also had a chance to participate in two live video conferences where they were able to see and talk to (and laugh with!) one another directly.

The first semester ended with an introduction to their exhibit project by paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim who visited the Chicago classrooms in person and the Casablanca classrooms virtually. He was a huge hit—a great storyteller with a great story: the discovery of the largest aquatic dinosaur ever found in what is today the desert of the Moroccan Sahara.

Second semester is now underway, and the students are beginning their research on Spinosaurus and collecting digital “artifacts.” Our partners at Digital Youth Network are working hard to get the platform ready for its first exhibition. And we are all waiting excitedly to see what the students come up with!

Lisa Roberts, STEAMuseum Project Director and Co-Chair of the Casablanca Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International