June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
22.1050.1 - 22.1050.8
Measuring the Effectiveness of Robotics Activities in Underserved K-12 Communities outside the ClassroomStudents from at risk or underserved communities need exposure to real world situations andshould be given such opportunities early in their education, to stay competitive in the worldarena of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). New and exciting challenges mustbe made available that brings these students closer to careers in science and technology. Today,scientific research and exploration within underserved K-12 schools consists of old fashionedmethods of students gathered into classrooms and taught with curricula that keep the childreninformed, yet isolated from the reality of true scientific processes. Teachers from these areas trytheir best to bring in real life problems and hands-on experiences into the classrooms, however,things such as legal issues and low budgets can pose a problem for certain types of field trips andeducational activities. The high demand placed on standardized test preparation requires most ofthe year’s class time leaving teachers discouraged from going beyond the confines of the schoolwalls. Underserved students need more informal education opportunities for the sciences andtechnology to challenge these children and young adults in science and connect them with thescientific and technology community.We discuss our approach to meet the needs of underserved communities using a process thatconnects young people to passionate educators and professional engineers and scientists. Byoffering an academic enrichment initiative that places science and technology within an afterschool robotics program, we can develop a model for a sustainable phase driven K-12 programthat offers a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment where young people fromunderserved communities work with university mentors and industry professionals to exploreideas, build confidence, develop skills, and find pathways into college and careers that arescience and technology driven. These after school programs are designed to tackle the needs ofunderserved or at risk elementary, middle, and high school students who have expressed ordemonstrated interest in STEM. The after school programs are implemented by combininghands-on robotics applications and university professionals in a safe and engaging learningenvironment. A three-year study was conducted to measure the effectiveness of these roboticsactivities for at-risk middle school students outside the classroom. The purpose of the study wasto determine if in fact, programs such as these help to put young adults on pathways towardcollege degrees and finally, careers in science and technology fields. There were three key focusareas: Retention, Pathways to College, and Decrease in exposure to activities that could result indeviant behavior. Discussion on the approach is presented in this paper and validated throughimplementation with student populations to provide supportive evidence of the observedbenefits.
Dorsey, R. J., & Howard, A. M. (2011, June), Measuring the Effectiveness of Robotics Activities in Underserved K-12 Communities Outside the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18331
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