The Impact of Educational Robotics on Student STEM Learning, Attitudes, and Workplace Skills

The Impact of Educational Robotics on Student STEM Learning, Attitudes, and Workplace Skills

Gwen Nugent (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA), Bradley S. Barker (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) and Neal Grandgenett (University of Nebraska-Omaha, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0182-6.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter discusses findings from a National Science Foundation (NSF) project funded by the Innovative Technologies Experiences for Student and Teachers (ITEST) program. The project has an ongoing research agenda focusing on the impact of robotics summer camps and competitions targeted at middle school youth. The research focused on the impact of the interventions on youth a) learning of computer programming, mathematics, and engineering concepts, b) science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) attitudes, c) workplace skills, and d) STEM career interest. Results show that robotics camps and competitions appear to be viable strategies to increase student STEM learning, robotics self-efficacy, and problem solving skills.
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Empirical Research Base For Educational Robotics

Robots have been recognized as having the potential to transform and enhance the learning process in education (Chambers & Carbonaro, 2003; Jonassen, 2000). Through hands-on experimentation such technologies can help students translate abstract mathematics and science concepts into concrete real-world applications. Research supports the use of educational robotics to increase academic achievement in specific STEM concept areas closely aligned with formal education topics and coursework (Barker & Ansorge, 2007; Nourbakhsh et al., 2005; Rogers & Portsmore, 2004; Williams, Ma, Prejean, & Ford, 2007). Robotics also encourage student problem solving (Barnes, 2002; Mauch, 2001; Robinson, 2005; Rogers & Portsmore, 2004), and promote cooperative learning (Beer, Hillel, Chiel, & Drushel, 1999; Nourbakhsh et al., 2005). Some studies also underscore robotics’ potential to engage females and underserved youth in STEM learning; for example, female students are more likely to appreciate learning with robots than with traditional STEM teaching techniques (Nourbakhsh et al., 2005; Rogers & Portsmore, 2004).

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