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Allison Lester believes in the power of technology to educate.

After all, she’s seen it work. As a career STEM/STEAM educator, Allison believes the interaction of technology and space is key to facilitating learning. For those unfamiliar with the terms, S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Some, like Allison, expand it “STEAM,” with the “A” standing for Arts.

STEM educator Allison Lester laughs while being interviewed for The Distiller podcast

In preschool environments, in challenging middle-school special education classrooms, and most recently in her current work with the Breakthrough Collaborative, Allison employs the power of STEAM to involve students in the learning process. We talked about creating physical spaces (and allowing the kids to lead) during her work at the University of Cincinnati’s Arlitt Child and Family Research Education Center. She described how the opportunity to create the Digital Playscape with her People’s Liberty co-grantee Noah Glaser was the perfect opportunity to bring all her skills, background and interest into one environment.

Allison Lester links & information:

The Power of Hopscotch

Allison is a huge proponent of play in learning, and the Digital Playscape installation is the physical manifestation of that. From the vertical Lego wall to the maker stations to the coding and gaming kiosks…Digital Playscape is a learning playground for all ages. It’s wonderful to hear the story of Allison’s journey to this point. When you hear the genesis of this project in context you get a sense of the scope of her work and the arc of her emerging career. The Digital Playscape is just one piece of the puzzle, and we’ll be watching eagerly to see where Allison’s work evolves from here.

Digital Playscape Creator Allison Lester on The Distiller

Photos for this episode by Kyle Wolff Photography

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