June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
23.910.1 - 23.910.17
Mobile Hands-On STEM EducationHands-on activities are an essential part of the learning experience for STEM students todemonstrate theoretical concepts in practice and to connect students with the experimentalcomponent of our STEM disciplines. Historically, these activities were relegated to structuredexperiments conducted during formal lab courses in limited access, centralized laboratoriesutilizing expensive equipment and requiring extensive support infrastructure. Portable, low-cost,experimental platforms that utilize student resources such as laptops and other mobile devicesallow for ubiquitous hands-on experiences available to students anywhere and anytime: atdesks in a traditional classroom, in a dorm room, in a study group setting, at a coffee shop, etc.These types of experiments allow for a new pedagogical model that promotes a more completeintegration of theory and laboratory experience. This new paradigm opens new avenues forinquiry-based learning that will enhance and deepen student learning of fundamental concepts,experimental concepts and skills, and give them experience in system level design andintegration.Imagine mobile hands-on learning activities that involve both thestudent and the faculty member in the learning process withoutconsiderable time or effort by the instructor. And, suppose thatthere are freely available resources to assist a faculty member,educated under the old lecture system, to introduce hands-onlearning modules and rapidly develop his or her own modulesusing validated procedures. Now, let’s consider what wouldhappen if this pedagogical approach is integrated throughout aSTEM curriculum so that students see how concepts from onecourse can be applied in other course to build a system-levelunderstanding of their discipline and how theory and practice are used in the design process.Suddenly, we have STEM graduates who know, and appreciate, the complexities of theirdiscipline and who are able go out into the workforce and immediately contribute to productdevelopment.Different constituencies benefit from this new mobile hands-on approach to learning:Students have the tools immediately available to solve problems on design projects, toparticipate in design competitions, and to just tinker and follow their own creativity to new areasof discovery. They also find learning concepts with the mobile equipment to be easier and moreaccessible than with traditional, high-cost, limited-access and intimidating equipment.Instructors have a new way to facilitate experiential and inquiry-based learning through hands-on activities. They can develop course content anywhere and anytime; new ideas for labs,activities, and projects can be easily tried out at home.Institutions will have new options for incorporating practical lab experiences into theircurriculum without the need for expensive equipment and dedicated lab space since students owntheir own equipment.This paper will summarize current models for delivering mobile hands-on education inengineering, including in-class demonstrations, in-class labs, mobile studio classes, and labsdone at home. The authors of this paper come from three different institutions, each having anNSF grant on mobile hands-on education in engineering and each using a different model ofdelivery. The generic aspects of these models will be discussed in the full paper along with adiscussion of the best practices in each model; evidence of the success of the differentapproaches will be included.
Connor, K. A., & Ferri, B. H., & Meehan, K. (2013, June), Models of Mobile Hands-On STEM Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22295
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