Steam Punks mission is to provide experiences and systems that foster creativity, curiosity and critical thinking for all.
We believe that cultivation of creativity, curiosity and critical thinking skills are necessary to support the development of strong leaders.
STEAM Punks was created in response to the personal experience of Mehdi Salehi and a question from the cofounder of the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA). The co-founder of SOLA asked: How will you develop the next generation of leaders and thinkers if you are teaching them through rote memorization? After conducting various types of research we decided to tackle the following question; How might we provide an educational experience that supports the development of critical and creative thinking skills for young Afghans who live in Kabul?
In an attempt to support the development of the next generation of Afghan leaders the STEAM Punks project was created. The STEAM Punks project aims to shift the pedagogical approach from rote memorization to include a focus on the development of creative and critical thinking skills. STEAM Punks have developed a complete eco-system that aims to train teachers, support inquiry into design and technology, and promote learning through making. A low barrier of entry to this system is the use of STEAM Punks kits.
It starts with just 2 LEDS!.
STEAM Punks' kits allow for children in Kabul to explore technology and design through making. These electronic kits support the development of critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity and most importantly to ask 'what if'. 'What if' means for children to imagine and accomplish what might currently feel impossible.
The Explorer kit provides a basic entry point to exploring simple circuits. The kit includes one basic instruction set and project cards which use no words. This kit is for children ages 6-12.
Lamps for Learning Kit
The Lamps for Learning kit was initially developed for ages 14-18 in partnership with the School for Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA) in Kabul. The goal of this kit is to allow for students to gain the basic skills and knowledge to develop their own designed lamp through the use of raw materials.
Kristen has a diverse background which includes undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Fine Arts, and a graduate degree in Neuroscience and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For the past five years Kristen has worked in various positions that involve education, technology and design. These positions have included her two years as a Teach for America corps member in Denver, her experience as an Account Executive at Groupon, and more recently as a UX Designer and Curriculum Developer for the PET Lab at Parsons the New School for Design and a Research and Design Lead at LearnerX.
Mehdi Salehi had to leave Afghanistan in 2001. Mehdi gained admission to the University of Thessaly, Greece in 2003 to study Architecture. He graduated in 2011 with an MS in Architecture. He is currently a Graduate Student in the Design and Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design.
Mehdi has had many different leadership roles. At the University of Thessaly Mehdi was the head of digital fabrication lab.Mehdi has won numerous awards and honors which include a current mention for one of his projects called HexSense. HexSense was featured in the Italian version of Marie Claire in June 2013. Mehdi's passion for where he came from and perseverance for his vision of the future leads him to constantly be working on creating interactive environments.
What we've been up to...
Children at play!
April 15,2014 - By Kristen Kersh
STEAM Punks completed their second round of testing last week at the Women for Afghan Women organization in Flushing Queens. Check out there great work and the WAW in Flushing Queens on their Facebook Page.
Women for Afghan Womens' Girls Leadership Group
April 1,2014 - By Kristen Kersh
Today was the first of three sessions that we facilitated with the Girls Leadership Group at the Women for Afghan Women canter in Flushing Queens.
STEAM Punks has been awarded the 2014 William Hearst Foundation scholarship. Hearst Foundation Endowment supports and encourages partnerships between Parsons and the non-profit community. For more information check out Parsons site.