Tufts University awarded $2.8 million grant from LEGO Foundation to support local organizations

Supporting and Amplifying Local Organizations Engaged in Playful Engineering-Based Learning Post-COVID is a grant funded by LEGO Foundation awarded to Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), Tufts DevTech Research Group, and Tufts Department of Education to support a diverse group of outreach organizations in the United States, Nepal, and Rwanda.

With this grant, Tufts CEEO will build a collaboration with local education organizations whose missions align with playful learning, innovative approaches to learning, and Tufts CEEO’s fundamental belief in empowering teachers and students by allowing them to drive their own learning. Local organizations with established community relationships are essential to bringing playful engineering-based learning to students and teachers in the current complicated educational landscape where schools are juggling competing priorities. Tufts will center local organizations, their communities, their requirements and constraints, and the work they are already doing to advance playful engineering-based learning. Tufts and advisors will work to support these local organizations in building capacity by co-creating locally responsive resources in the form of training for formal and informal educators, developing activities and curricula, and more. In addition, the approach will prioritize social emotional components integrated with team-based hands-on playful engineering activities that are grounded in local communities’ assets and priorities; and will be agile to respond to the changing needs of learning being remote, in-person, or hybrid. 

In the United States, Tufts will be collaborating with Urban League Head Start in St. Louis, Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) in Navajo Nation, Maryville University Center for Access and Achievement in St. Louis, Project SYNCERE in Chicago, and White Mountain Science in NH. In addition, Tufts will support Teach for Nepal and Karkhana in Nepal, and the Makerspace Consortium in Rwanda, which includes the Maranyundo Girls School that is supported by the Maranyundo Initiative.

The results of this collaboration will have a direct impact on students and families, improve organizational resources to support sustainability, and create an open-source library of resources for other organizations. This work will support teachers and students from many cultures, giving different viewpoints into how playful engineering-based learning can empower formal and informal learning.  

Tufts feels fortunate to amplify the work of the amazing community-based organizations that are doing critical work to provide children in their communities with hands-on, play-based engineering activities. We are energized by our collaborators’ ongoing work and are excited to share the resources created by this project with the broader community.

Merredith Portsmore, Director of Tufts CEEO

We are at a transformational moment for educational systems everywhere. This donation builds on the LEGO Foundation’s core values of finding creative solutions to the difficult challenges, caring for children and the communities they live in, and the power of collaboration to address the challenges, and opportunities, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we need to make a leap in playful learning, creating a future that promotes inclusive education, lifelong learning opportunities for all children, and where holistic skills and innovation are central. We call on the private sector, philanthropic organisations, governments and other donors to donate generously to the global COVID-19 response. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer, LEGO Foundation

About Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and Outreach is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to creating the next generation of problem solvers, kindergarten through college, through engineering education. Housed within Tufts University’s School of Engineering, Tufts CEEO is home to students, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from engineering, education, child development, and computer science who collaborate on educational research and educational tool and technology development. Working to bridge the divide between research and practice, Tufts CEEO’s outreach team works to transform research into programs and resources that can be used by stakeholders and provide continuous feedback to researchers. Partnerships with global corporations and foundations help to further disseminate knowledge and tools generated at the center.

About the LEGO Foundation

The LEGO Foundation shares the mission of the LEGO Group: to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. The Foundation is dedicated to building a future in which learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play.  

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