TAP Research Paper Led by Molly Mollica

Research performed on TAP workshops was recently published in the paper “Toy Adaptation for Children with Disabilities: A Translatable Means to Engage Engineering Students in Community Engaged Learning.” The paper was published in the ASEE journalĀ Advances in Engineering Education and was written by Molly Mollica, Rachel Kajfez, and Elizabeth Riter. The abstract for the paper can been seen below and the full text can be accessed here: https://advances.asee.org/toy-adaptation-for-children-with-special-needs-a-translatable-means-to-engage-engineering-students-in-community-engaged-learning


Community engaged learning has demonstrated educational benefits and is an especially promising method to engage a diverse group of students in engineering. In this work, we present toy adaptation for children with disabilities as a novel community engaged learning tool. According to students surveyed, this process is enjoyable, demonstrates the impact of engineering, and makes students feel more connected to engineering. Female students were especially impacted by toy adaptation, feeling more empowered by the experience, finding the experience more useful, and more often seeing the positive impact of engineering. Additionally, toy adaptation is highly translatable due to its short-term nature, low cost, and opportunity to leverage community connections through existing networks. Given the widespread need for adapted toys, the translatability of toy adaptation, and the overwhelmingly positive student feedback, we anticipate that toy adaptation will engage students in circuitry, inspire diverse students to pursue engineering, and provide developmentally essential toys to communities.