Evaluation of Start Making! in The Clubhouse Networks | SRI International

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Evaluation of Start Making! in The Clubhouse Networks

SRI served as the external evaluator for an out-of-school educational making program implemented in 38 out-of-school Clubhouse Network sites throughout the world.

The Clubhouse Network is an international network of out-of-school programming sites for youth. In 2014 and 2015, SRI evaluated the Clubhouse's implementation of Intel’s Start Making! program in 38 Clubhouse around the world. Start Making! is designed to introduce youth aged 10-15 to hands-on, do-it-yourself engineering experiences while exploring a wide range of materials and approaches to designing and making things. The Start Making! program consists of six to eight sequential activity sessions, including several structured projects, an Open Make session that allows makers to combine skills from different projects, and a Show and Share showcase event. Start Making! in the Clubhouses included resources and training to support the program in participating sites.  

SRI collected data on the program implementation and impacts using a youth participant survey, a progress report completed by Clubhouse facilitators and leaders, and ongoing discussions with Clubhouse leaders as part of their regular communication with network staff. Approximately 700 youth participated in the program attending an average of 4.4 session each. Over half of Start Making! participants were girls. In most Clubhouses, the Start Making! sessions were divided over several weeks with 2-3 hours dedicated to Start Making! each week.

SRI submitted a final evaluation report that draws on data collected in both 2014 and 2015. In the report, we explored evidence for youth development and technical skill growth according to the five creative competencies of the Start Making! program:

Goal 1. Technical skills and youth development

Progress reports and youth surveys of capacity in each of the four creative competency areas suggest that participants in Start Making! are building technical skills and achieving desired development outcomes. For each of the four technical and youth development outcomes, there was evidence from surveys and progress reporting that Start Making! was providing youth with growth opportunities.

Goal 2. Youth empowered to share

Start Making! has provided many participating youth with opportunities to gain experience by developing and sharing their projects with both their Clubhouse peers and the broader community. Clubhouses and participants embraced the call to share work in Start Making! with the wider Clubhouse communities and beyond.

Goal 3. Spirit of documentation

Both the Clubhouses as institutions and program participants themselves have taken up the task of documentation and reflection as part of the program. Much of the documentation is shared publicly for use by others and many examples emphasize the making process as well as the products made.

Goal 4. Organizational capacity

Given their strong tradition in digital making, Clubhouses were well equipped for carrying out hands-on making programming from the outset. Clubhouse facilitators developed as facilitators of making programming by carrying out the structured Start Making! activities and developing many of their own. Start Making! has provided Clubhouses with a structured introduction to the logistics and pedagogy of making needed to implement this hands-on program and engage with the larger community of maker educators. Many Clubhouse facilitators have stepped up to engage as leaders with Start Making, for example by leading sessions on making at The Clubhouse Network Annual Conference or by mentoring newer Start Making! facilitators.