Educational Robotics and Broadening Participation in STEM for Underrepresented Student Groups

Educational Robotics and Broadening Participation in STEM for Underrepresented Student Groups

Stephanie Ludi
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0182-6.ch017
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is of particular interest to educators at all levels. Participation in these fields at the university level and beyond has decreased in recent years, and the issue is of particular interest in terms of the low representation of girls, minorities, and students with disabilities. This chapter will discuss the current state of research in the area of inclusive robotics at the pre-college level. In addition, strategies will be presented to help educators integrate robotics for diverse learners. Both pre-existing programs such as FIRST and self-developed activities will be discussed, including the selection of the robotics platform and programming software.
Chapter Preview


As robot hardware and accompanying software have become less expensive and easier to use than their counterparts in industry and research, robotics has become more visible in K12 classrooms. Students design and program robots as part of science or technology courses. Robotics clubs have also appeared in many schools and in extracurricular organizations such as Girl Scouts. Either as program assessments, as partnerships between universities and school districts or as university-lead outreach activities (e.g. workshops and camps), research has been conducted in recent years in order to assess student achievement.

Several formal programs exist that provide an overall structure for experience across teams, including tournaments. A comparison of several popular programs is provided later in the chapter. In general, most programs (e.g. FIRST, RoboCup Junior, BotBall) have an annual game or set of challenges that are presented to teams during a season. Each team works together to design and program the robot to score the most points. Optionally, teams can register for tournaments to compete against other teams. While eligibility rules vary among the programs, students of all ages are eligible to participate in these types of programs. A teacher, or other adult, serves as the coach; mentors can also help guide students as they work together for a common goal. Programs such as FIRST and RoboCup have existed for years. Both the parent organizations and others have conducted research to assess the programs as a means of engaging students, including underrepresented students.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: