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Modern Blanket Toss

Science . Technology . Community . Leadership

THE MISSION OF MODERN BLANKET TOSS IS TO HELP UNDERSERVED STUDENTS DEVELOP INTEREST IN STEM FIELDS THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN DIRECTLY IMPROVE THE WELL-BEING OF ALASKANS.

In cooperation with the Alaska Upward Bound program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, EPSCoR is administering  The Modern Blanket Toss, a program where cohorts of high school students from five Alaska high schools engage in place-based learning activities using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies, exposing them to the potential for STEM careers while producing concrete benefits for their communities. 


We named this project after the Native tradition of the Blanket Toss, which enabled people to expand their horizons beyond their immediate surroundings. We want this project to do the same thing - literally, by giving students a bird’s eye view of their communities, and figuratively, by exciting them about college and STEM careers.
— Dr. John Monahan, Director of Upward bound and PI of Modern Blanket Toss

books of mbt

Click on any of the eBooks below and enjoy the story of the Modern Blanket Toss project in its entirety.  

 
 
 

(They are PDF in magazine form versions, you will be taken to an outside website to read them. There will be an iBooks version available soon in order to experience the full multimedia capabilities that an eBook has to offer. The iBooks version will only be available to those with Apple devices.) 

NEWS

five interconnected components

The program is arranged into five interconnected components, which are instrumental in the program's ability to reach its desired goals.

They include UAV Flight School, UAV Hardware and Build, Software, Leadership Training and Communicating Science, and the Community Project.

Summer @ UAF

As part of their summer Upward Bound coursework, students participating in the Modern Blanket Toss project will take part in a specially-designed UAV learning module, incorporating construction and flight INSTRUCTION of the UAVs, gis, and leadership. The module will be delivered as an elective class for two hours a day for the duration of the six-week session. 

A glimpse into summer with Modern Blanket Toss

Findings

Project evaluation will be undertaken by Angela Larson, owner and principal consultant for the Goldstream Group in Fairbanks. Larson has been evaluating educational programs since 1999 and specializes in K-12 science programs, and has also developed educational projects for the Fairbanks School District and headed the planning and development department of the Fairbanks Native Association.

Larson’s evaluation will be based on a logic model developed within the first month of the award, and will include both formative and summative components using a mixed-methods design to monitor measurable outcomes through both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Evaluation will focus on providing feedback about the project’s development, implementation, and outcomes to the project staff and stakeholders to aid in decision-making.

The MBT community

Rural Alaskan communities like these present some of the greatest educational challenges in the United States.

The five rural Alaskan communities selected for this project vary widely in terms of location, local economy, population size, poverty levels, racial makeup, and income. By choosing communities that represent a cross-section of rural Alaska, the Leadership Team will be better able to make comparisons amongst project data and to evaluate how the program will transfer to alternate locations.