Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Community Engagement Division
Results of PISA 2016 Mathematics Test ranked Colombia in the 61st position. This fact shows mathematics low level of students entering the undergraduate programs in the country. Furthermore, the national dropout rate for first-semester students in engineering programs is around 25%. According to the Ministry of Education, one of the reasons is related to students failing Pre-calculus courses more than once.
Looking solutions to this challenge, UNIMINUTO (higher institution characterized by the fact that the majority of its students belong to the low income segment), through its Social Innovation Science Park (SISP), had implement a STEM Robotics program, which developed mathematics skills in more than 2.000 school students. As result of this project, it was evident that this type of methodologies motivates learning of mathematics in children, and consequently improves academic results. Taking the lessons of this experience, UNIMINUTO's team developed a model that facilitated the application of mathematical concepts to solve Colombian problems trough robotics, to be implemented in the Pre-calculus course of Engineering programs.
Based on Community – engaged principles, a process of co-created investigation – innovation was developed. As a result, ten context and challenge – based didactic guides were developed, using topics such as real numbers, equations, and functions to solve real problems. The guides were structured in four phases: i) presentation of a problem in the Colombian context; ii) context analysis, mathematical and robotic concepts; iii) solution of the challenge using the phase II concepts; iv) evaluation.
The implementation of the model took place in UNIMINUTO's Regional Center at Zipaquirá, where 29% of students fail their Pre-calculus courses, caused probably by the low level of mathematical competences upon admission to the institution, low motivation of the students for this subject and the disconnection that calculus has with real problems. In the first semester of 2017, a pilot of the program was developed with a group of first semester of civil engineering program at Regional Center of Zipaquirá, using a control group of the same program oriented by the same professor.
As a result of the exercise, it was evidenced that the dropout from the Pre - calculus course with the program was 0% while for the control group was 15%. According to the surveys applied to the students at the end of the course they show that it generates emotion to lead to practices the theoretical concepts by implementing them in a robot, to show how mathematical concepts transcend the classroom and contribute to the challenges of developing society. Thus, the successful community – engaged strategy of co-creation, co-investigation, co-innovation, shows an interesting alternative to solve mathematics education challenges in Colombia.
Salinas, M. J., & Garzon, V., & GARCIA, I. D., & Gonzalez, M. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Co-creation process in higher education contexts to innovate in Pre-calculus curriculum Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30381
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