Productive Identity Work

Productive Identity Work in I-Engineering

“I feel like it will be super cool. People will love it. They’ll say, “Who made this?” It was me. Then they’ll ask me like, “The tiny person always in the background did this? I’ll say, “Yeah, I did that…It would probably say this girl knows how to have fun, how to get down and smart when she really needs to. This girl can be fun. She could build things. She could make the world a different place and help everybody else learn how to have the type of fun she has and stuff. Little kids can do ginormous work!”

Learning and identity go hand-in-hand. Who one is, in the past, present and possible futures, is tied to the opportunities one has to learn and enact new practices and activity with others. If a young person does not have the opportunity to learn the content and practices of engineering, it would be difficult for them to enact ‘being an engineer’ in ways that will be recognized by others. At the same time, if one does not see oneself as an important part of an engineering learning community, they may resist opportunities to learn new ideas.

In I-Engineering, we focus on three dimensions of identity work in engineering that we think teachers can help to shape in their classrooms:

  • Knowledge and Practices
  • Recognition by others for what one knows and can do
  • Agency to use what one knows to make a difference

Our tools support teachers and students in creating a wide range of opportunities to recognize youth for their efforts to learn and bridge engineering and community knowledge and practice towards designing for sustainable communities.