Enlightening and Inspiring Generations with Generations of Ideas

Project Next Generation Grants

Project Next Generation (PNG) is an educational technology initiative of Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White.  It was established to help educate at-risk students and bridge the digital divide.  

Illinois Veterans History Project (2017)

Community middle-school youth used digital literacy skills learned through the News Literacy Project to produce thirty-minute interviews with area Veterans.  These interviews became part of the permanent archive of the Illinois Veterans History Project.  Interviews: Illinois Veterans History Project Interviews

Illinois Veterans History Project and 3D Design/Printing (2018)

Community middle-school youth used technology to connect with the past, present and future.  Over the course of eight weeks, youth worked as a team in learning digital skills to produce interviews for the Illinois Veterans History Project.  Concurrently, youth worked, collaboratively and independently, in exploring the world of 3-D design and printing, including using SolidWorks, Structure Sensor 3-D scanner, and a variety of 3-D printers.  Staff collaborated with faculty at Illinois Valley Community College for this part of the program. 
 
Additionally, as part of exploring the world of 3-D printing, participants went on a working educational field trip to the Abraham Presidental Museum and Library in Springfield, where they used the Structure Sensor 3-D scanner to scan historical objects, which where then printed.
 
Photos:

I Speak 3-D Program and Field Trip (2019)

Community area middle school youth participated in learning, through hands-on application the exciting and diverse world of 3-D printing. The program, a series of five interactive, hands-on workshops, provided the basic information and practice skill development for creating designs for 3-D printing, using TinkerCad software.  The first and fifth sessions were conducted as a group in the Library, while sessions two, three and four, were completed as independent study, supported by mentors, who where available in-person, online or via phone. 
 
Each session required participants to master a skill set that would enable the participant to design an object in TinkerCad that incorporated those design skills. Each session added new skill sets, that along with those skills previously learned, enabled the participant to create ever increasingly complex designs for 3-D printing.  The "I Speak 3-D" program also included two short presentations.  Participants learned about the many uses of 3-D printing, from prosthetics and prototypes for industry, to food, replacement tools for the International Space Station, and even 3-D printing entire homes.  In the second presentation, participants learned about the many types of 3-D printers, resins, and supportive technologies, and to try out the 3-D scanner and the 3-D pens. 
 
The field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry provided participants with an immersive experience into the world of science and technology, particularly highlighting the Museum's newly-curated exhibit, "Wired to Wear" and the Virtual Reality experience of a Space experience, offered in the Henry Crown Space Center at the Museum.  Additionally, because the field trip coincided with the special Apollo 11 coverage and exhibits at the Museum, participants were also able to experience the Apollo Moon Landing via IMAX theatre experience.  While many other areas of technology and science were explored throughout the day, these two were particularly important since they supported other Project Next Generation activities conducted at the Library. 
 
Photos:

Rolling with Robotics (2020)

details to come

Earth, Sky and In-Between: Science YOU Can Do! (2020/2021)

Staff is delighted to announce that for a sixth year the Library has been awarded a Project Next Generation grant from the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White and the State Library.  The grant, "Earth, Sky and In-Between: Science YOU Can Do!" for FY 20/21 in the amount of $27,500 will provide funding for hands-on multi-topic science and technology learning opportunities for middle-school youth ages 11 through 14.

"Earth, Sky and In-Between: Science YOU Can Do!" will include winter and spring programming.  The winter program, "Space Explorers" will focus on astronomy and the spring program, "Earth and Life Around Us," will focus on Earth and Environmental Science.  Both winter and spring programs will include independent study as well as multiple field trips and special speakers.  Details regarding program start dates will be forthcoming.