STE(A)M Truck

Nonprofit work promoting STEM + the Arts through immersive, hands-on projects.

Please note: This page is currently under construction. Feel free to browse, but please check back for updates!
 
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STE(A)M Truck by Community Guilds


 

The idea was simple...

Explaining it was not. Jason Martin wanted to create a literal and figurative vehicle for promoting the fail-forward mentality of STEM + Arts education to underserved public schools. Create he did. In the process, though, there wasn't always time to tell STE(A)M Truck's story.

I was a new grad when Jason brought me on full-time to help him realize his education startup STE(A)M Truck. At the time, STE(A)M Truck did not have any full-time folks besides Martin himself.  It did have a 3D printer, a ShopBot CNC that needed assembling, and a gutted box truck that was beginning to be outfitted to accommodate those tech tools and more.

More than anything, I devoted my two years at STE(A)M Truck to telling the story of STE(A)M Truck.  I wanted to help it compete with other nonprofits in its sector, and to make it shine as an appealing cause for potential investors.

I did this by creating a new and improved website alongside my colleague Keith, by creating a series of YouTube "Video Diaries" that illustrated our everyday, and by upping our social media presence across platforms.

 

Learning to Be an Educator

 
 

Codifying Our Resources: The Playbook

 

The process of making our small nonprofit appealing to large companies happened slowly, and was not without hiccups!  We knew it was important to be strategic about documenting our process as we were laying the groundwork for the future of the organization. I was tasked with creating a Maker Playbook which would be our guide for programming, and a tool to explain to educators and stakeholders what we did in the classroom. 

  • Codify all of our existing lesson plans, safety protocols, and performance indicators into a print booklet.

  • Design a badging system that incentivized students to reach prescribed milestones.

  • Outline sample schedules for a single day of programming, and a 20-day programming package.

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I brought to life lots of collateral for the company.  I put together safety posters and business cards, stationary, and brand materials. Between the Playbook and the printed collateral, we had an established brand language that would start to gain recognition throughout the city.  This was critical, as I was tired of having people pull up next to me when I drove the truck to ask what food we served.

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You can view the Maker Playbook in its entirety in steamtruck.org's Toolbox.

 
What we are learning from STE(A)M Truck is how to teach the creative thinking behind the science. School needs to be as engaging as the STE(A)M Truck.
— Gilberte Pascal, Principal of the Kindezi School

Telling Our Story: A New Website

 

Our web presence was a huge hurdle.  The webpage we started with was assembled in phases as the company grew, and it showed.  The user flow was well thought out, but poorly executed.  Furthermore, in order to situate ourselves as a competitor in the tech education sector, we needed to bring our web design into the 21st century.

The improved website needed to:

  • Tell the story of STE(A)M Truck

  • Be a guide for superintendents & educators who were considering working with our team

  • Situate our company as a key competitor in the experiential learning market for potential investors and stakeholders

My colleague Keith & I did a complete overhaul on the old site.  Here are a few snapshots of the changes we made:

 
 

BEFORE

 

BEFORE

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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AFTER

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AFTER

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Reasons to Believe: Quantitative and Qualitative Assessments

 

There seemed to be no better way to illustrate the work we were doing than through video.

 
STE(A)M Truck students show statistically significant increases across all constructs (Intrinsic Motivation, Self-Management and Intent to Persist) from pre to post. Great news!
— Shelly Engelman, Ph.D, SageFox Consulting, GOSA Independent Evaluator