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A Partnership To Integrate Robotics Curriculum Into Stem Courses In Boston Public Schools

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering in Middle Schools

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.86.1 - 12.86.12



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Paper Authors

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Ibrahim Zeid Northeastern University

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Randal August Northeastern University

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Ronald Perry Northeastern University

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Emanuel Mason Northeastern University

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Jannon Farkis Northeastern University

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Marta Hersek Northeastern University

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Morgan Hynes TechBoston

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Haruna Tada TechBoston

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Felicia Vargas TechBoston

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Introduction The NSF-funded project described in this paper addresses four needs: (1) placing middle school students on a path to meet state and national workforce demands; 2) providing professional development for middle school teachers; 3) helping Massachusetts schools and students meet statewide academic standards; and 4) preparing more female and minority students for careers in IT.

The demand for workers with IT skills is expected to remain strong into the next decade. In a November 2001 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identified IT as the U.S. economy‘s fastest growing industry, and the second largest overall in terms of employment1 —Reflecting businesses‘ need to integrate new technologies, capitalize on software enhancements, expand Internet usage and electronic commerce, and maintain network security, this industry is projected to gain 1.8 million jobs over the 2000-10 period, the result of 6.4% annual average growth. This compares to an overall estimated employment growth rate across all industries of 22.2 million jobs, or about 2.2%. Furthermore, with the growing reliance on IT across all industries, IT fluency will increasingly be a required competency for all workers.

Preparing students to succeed in an IT-driven economy requires educational reform at all levels, starting with middle schools. In its 2001 report, Building a Workforce for the Information Economy, the National Research Council‘s (NRC‘s) Committee on Workforce Needs in Information Technology noted that —it is important to the future of the IT workforce that the curriculum of secondary school mathematics and science provide a strong foundation for later study and training in IT and IT-related subjects. While a substantial amount of money is allotted in the United States to technology education each year, a relatively small percentage of that money is earmarked for teacher training needs. During the 1999-2000 school year, only about 17 percent of the more than $5 billion spent on educational technology nationwide was devoted to teacher training, with most of the remainder spent on computer hardware and software.2

In 2001, Massachusetts became one of the first states in the nation to formally require all students to receive technology and engineering instruction as part of the regular curriculum, with the adoption of the 2001 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. The framework articulates ambitious statewide guidelines for teaching, learning, and assessment in science and technology/engineering, and states as one of its 10 guiding principles that: —Investigation, experimentation, and problem solving are central to science and technology/engineering education.

There is a pressing need within Massachusetts and across the country to prepare more female and underrepresented minority students for careers in IT. In Building a Workforce for the Information Economy, NRC characterized the current IT workforce as —predominantly white, male, young, educated, and U.S. born.“ According to the report, in 1999, white employees represented 77 percent of the IT workforce, Asian and Pacific Islanders represented 9.9 percent, and underrepresented minorities (Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans) represented 12.4 percent. In 1999, about 77 percent of IT positions were held by men, compared to an average of 53 percent men in all professions.

The loss of interest in STEM courses among middle school girls results from a range of

Zeid, I., & August, R., & Perry, R., & Mason, E., & Farkis, J., & Hersek, M., & Hynes, M., & Tada, H., & Vargas, F. (2007, June), A Partnership To Integrate Robotics Curriculum Into Stem Courses In Boston Public Schools Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2305

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