Extending OSH to Schools

Short Story:

I am an education professor at the University of Virginia. I am working with a consortium of education associations that are exploring ways to extend Open Science Hardware (OSH) to schools. We are seeking examples of open hardware that could be adapted for replication in school makerspaces.

Long Story:

The associations jointly publish a peer-reviewed journal, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal). We received a U.S. National Science Foundation POSE planning grant (NSF # 2229627) to develop methods of extending the review process to include open hardware as well as academic manuscripts.

  1. Adapting Open-Hardware to Schools

Sumreen Asim, editor of the science section of the CITE Journal, would like to identify an example of open science hardware that could be adapted to teach a concept taught in schools. We would work with the developer of the OSH mechanism, instrument, or product to develop appropriate pedagogical supports and instructional materials for teachers. Any recommendations or suggestions from the GOSH community would be welcome.

  1. Support for Extension of OSH to Schools

We are writing a follow-up NSF POSE Phase II proposal to develop a peer-reviewed library of open science hardware objects for schools. NSF requires “a letter of collaboration from a contributor (who is not directly related to the proposing team) to the proposed Open-Source Ecosystem.” The letter writer should clearly describe how they will contribute to the development of an Open-Source Ecosystem including the value proposition associated with the product.” (The open-source system in this case would be an Educational CAD Model Library for K-12 schools.)

It would be helpful to have a letter from a member of the GOSH community who could write a letter affirming that the plan to work with GOSH to adapt open science hardware in schools is feasible (assuming that is actually the case). We discussed this with Bri Johns, who suggested that we post a note in the GOSH forum and invite feedback and discussion regarding this request.

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Dear Glen,

I am just about done with an e-textbook on maker education and have submitted a proposal to NSF’s Innovations in Graduate Education program to convert my course into an entire graduate major in Entrepreneurial Maker Engineering. I am in the process of developing an Open Source Hardware course to follow up my current course. I will be compiling a table of open source hardware that has been made up until now after I am done with the e-textbook. I am willing to send a copy of the proposal and/or a draft of the book upon request. A good place to start for your work would be Joshua Pearce’s Open Source Lab and Alicia Gibb’s book.

We should work together,
Jim Brenner

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Hi @GlenBull!

In addition to @jbrennerFIT’s work above, I know the Openflexure project has had some educational applications.

Also, I think the people behind the Cave Pearl Project’s underwawter data logger, as extensively documented in this thread, also have done some education work.

We spoke with Joshua Pearce, and he shared some resources. (Thanks!) We could schedule a Zoom session to discuss. To pilot this effort, we’re looking for a project that:

  1. Aligns with an existing K-12 instructional standard (in the classroom where the content will be taught), and

  2. Falls within the capacity of a teacher to replicate in a school makerspace in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, this mechanical vibration kit developed at Brown University and published in the Journal of Open Hardware, can be used to demonstrate nodes of vibration in a vibrating string:

We believe that this kit could be adapted for use in a middle school or high school physical science course on sound and vibration.

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OpenFlexure’s main project to develop educational resources in classrooms was hit by lockdowns. The plan then was to have most of the diagrams drawn in a way that was more friendly than the photos. However we have since moved onto the assembly pictures being rendered automatically from the CAD in a lego-like way.

I would hope that with the new high-quality lego-like renderings in the instructions we could adapt the microscope instructions into something quite school-friendly.


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Dear Glen,
My primary focus is on undergraduate engineering education.
Some of what is included at

could be translated to the K-12 experience.
Best regards,
Jim Brenner

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@julianstirling Thanks so much for sharing this. Extending OpenFlexure to K-12 education seems as through it has great potential.

What is the best way to follow up to explore next steps? Could we schedule a Zoom conversation?

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@jbrennerFIT Our primary experience with K-12 engineering education is through the International Technology and Engineering Education “Engineering by Design” curriculum.

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Thanks, Glenn,
Jim Brenner

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