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Exploring the Dynamic Nature of TPACK Framework in Teaching STEM Using Robotics in Middle School Classrooms

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-College: Robotics

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


S. M. Mizanoor Rahman New York University

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Mizanoor Rahman received Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mie University at Tsu, Japan in 2011. He then worked as a research fellow at the National University of Singapore (NUS), a researcher at Vrije University of Brussels (Belgium) and a postdoctoral associate at Clemson University, USA. He is currently working as a postdoctoral associate at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, NY, USA. His research and teaching interests include robotics, mechatronics, control systems, electro-mechanical design, human factors/ergonomics, engineering psychology, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, computer vision, biomimetics and biomechanics with applications to industrial manipulation and manufacturing, healthcare and rehabilitation, social services, autonomous unmanned services and STEM education.

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Veena Jayasree Krishnan New York University, Tandon School of Engineering

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Veena Jayasree Krishnan received a Master of Technology (M. Tech.) degree in Mechatronics from Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India in 2012. She has two years of research experience at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. She is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She is serving as a research assistant under an NSF-funded DR K-12 research project to promote integration of robotics in middle school science and math education. For her doctoral research, she conducts mechatronics and robotics research in the Mechatronics, Controls, and Robotics Laboratory at NYU.

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Vikram Kapila New York University, Tandon School of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Vikram Kapila is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering (NYU Tandon), where he directs a Mechatronics, Controls, and Robotics Laboratory, a Research Experience for Teachers Site in Mechatronics and Entrepreneurship, a DR K-12 research project, and an ITEST research project, all funded by NSF. He has held visiting positions with the Air Force Research Laboratories in Dayton, OH. His research interests include K-12 STEM education, mechatronics, robotics, and control system technology. Under a Research Experience for Teachers Site, a DR K-12 project, and GK-12 Fellows programs, funded by NSF, and the Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative (CBSI), funded by six philanthropic foundations, he has conducted significant K-12 education, training, mentoring, and outreach activities to integrate engineering concepts in science classrooms and labs of dozens of New York City public schools. He received NYU Tandon’s 2002, 2008, 2011, and 2014 Jacobs Excellence in Education Award, 2002 Jacobs Innovation Grant, 2003 Distinguished Teacher Award, and 2012 Inaugural Distinguished Award for Excellence in the category Inspiration through Leadership. Moreover, he is a recipient of 2014-2015 University Distinguished Teaching Award at NYU. His scholarly activities have included 3 edited books, 8 chapters in edited books, 1 book review, 59 journal articles, and 133 conference papers. He has mentored 1 B.S., 21 M.S., and 4 Ph.D. thesis students; 38 undergraduate research students and 11 undergraduate senior design project teams; over 400 K-12 teachers and 100 high school student researchers; and 18 undergraduate GK-12 Fellows and 59 graduate GK-12 Fellows. Moreover, he directs K-12 education, training, mentoring, and outreach programs that enrich the STEM education of over 1,000 students annually.

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TPACK (technological-pedagogical-content knowledge) is a conceptual framework that reflects the status of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge of educators. The TPACK framework allows teachers to use technology as an effective pedagogical tool to present disciplinary knowledge in readily accessible ways to students, promote active learning, and assist students in comprehending content that is pedagogically challenging. Recent proliferation of robotics as a technology component to facilitate effective pedagogy requires further investigation into TPACK because the teachers not only need to know how to operate robotics under TPACK, but also to incorporate it into teaching their assigned curriculum. Furthermore, situated cognition theory can help guide the development of robotics-focused TPACK, which is dynamic in nature and various factors and contexts may affect its efficacy. However, prior research has not devoted significant effort to explore the dynamic nature of TPACK for teaching STEM in robotics-focused classrooms.

In this paper, we explore the dynamic nature of TPACK for teaching STEM with robotics in middle school classrooms. We collaborate with 20 teachers in eight urban, inner-city schools and observe their teaching of robotics-focused STEM lessons under TPACK. Using questionnaires, we identify the ideal requirements of teachers' TPACK to effectively teach STEM lessons using robotics. We also determine the relative importance of the various domains of TPACK. Next, using questionnaires and brainstorming, we identify the factors that may affect the requirements of the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge and their relative importance. We investigate different strategies and awareness levels of TPACK in different schools. We develop an assessment method to assess the self-efficacy of the teachers to teach robotics-focused STEM lessons under TPACK. We analyze the reasons behind the deficits in the self-efficacy scores and provide recommendations to improve TPACK self-efficacy of the teachers.

The results are novel and fundamental that may contribute to expand the conceptual horizon of TPACK, develop and maintain a balanced TPACK for teaching STEM with robotics in middle schools, and also maintain appropriate self-efficacy levels of the teachers, which may enhance the overall learning outcomes of the students.

Rahman, S. M. M., & Jayasree Krishnan, V., & Kapila, V. (2017, June), Exploring the Dynamic Nature of TPACK Framework in Teaching STEM Using Robotics in Middle School Classrooms Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28336

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