CASE: Community Action for Smart Environments

The CASE project is an interdisciplinary collaboration that will investigate the potential of a blended learning model in changing students’ perceptions, values, interest and motivation towards pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). K-12 students and their family from two of the largest urban school districts in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts will be engaged in the exploration, design and application of technology-based solutions to effect positive change in their community. The project blends participatory research action, teaching and learning strategies from learning science and a mentor network of STEM professionals in online and face-to-face settings to provide students and their family exposure to the workforce and experience with technology that demonstrate how STEM can affect the quality of life at the individual and community level.

Project Team

Faculty : Kavitha Chandra (ECE), Charles Thompson (ECE), Susan Thomson Tripathy (Sociology), Yana Weinstein (Psychology) and Xiaoxia Newton (Graduate School of Education)

Students : Barbara Deschamp (PhD, BMBT), Hui Zhou (Phd, ECE), Marven Destrade (BS, ECE), Gabriel Serrano (BS,Business Management) and Apollos Saw (BS, CS).

Project Activities

  • August 27, 2016: Networking event with SayDaNar students and parents at the Center for Advanced Computation and Telecommunications (CACT); Graduate students demonstrate projects on virtual audio, image tracking and wireless network measurements
  • September 3, 2016: Prof. Chandra and Prof.Tripathy meet with parents and students at SayDaNar, downtown Lowell, MA and discuss community needs with respect to technology. Parents identify a need to better communicate with their children's teachers and improvement in their ability to work with computers.
  • September 17, 2016: Profs. Thompson, Chandra and UML ECE graduate students set up desktop PC's in SayDaNar CDC and demonstrate the essential components from which a computer can be configured; Students are chartered with their first project: A competition for design of a PC; Students are organized into seven groups and each group is tasked with researching the parts for their computer.
  • September 24, 2016 : SayDaNar volunteers Gabriel and Apollos get students started on finding PC parts (Motherboard, CPU, Memory, Hard Disk, Chassis etc.) on line and developing a budget for the type of computer they want to design.
  • October 8, 2016 : Prof. Chandra discusses software and hardware components of a computer - students learn about operating systems !
  • October 15,2016: Its all about learning how to put together a power point presentation and a pitch for why they should win !
  • October 29, 2016: Students meet in CACT and discuss their design with graduate students
  • November 5, 2016: Students meet in CACT and present their group designs to peers, parents faculty and students. Presentations are peer reviewed and top three selected.



For more information: Email: Kavitha Chandra
Falmouth 203, 1, University Ave. Lowell, MA 01854 Tel: (978) 934 3356
This grant is made possible by the National Science Foundation Award #: 0841392