June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.1267.1 - 23.1267.21
Transforming a Middle and High School Robotics Curriculum from Formal Classrooms to an Informal Learning Environment: Strategies for Increasing Impact in EachThe similarities and differences between classroom-based STEM experiences and informalprograms extend beyond time- and place-based concerns. Issues such as content preparation offormal and informal educators and differing emphases on learning vs. motivation are factorsimpacting redesign of the curriculum, professional development, and educator resources.This paper will examine a robotics curriculum that is impacting educators and youth in bothformal K-12 classrooms as well as in a variety of informal learning environments. Formaleducators need to ensure that classroom time advances students’ STEM learning in valid andmeasurable ways. Informal STEM educators seek student learning impacts; however,engagement, motivation, and enjoyment are high priorities. Formal educators are constrained byclassroom time available, state standards, and the pressures of high-stakes testing, while informaleducators have greater flexibility in these areas. While the content expertise and preparation ofinformal STEM educators varies widely, including utilizing motivated volunteers with highdegrees of STEM expertise to generalists without a STEM background, it is the case that apercentage of informal educators are, in fact, formal classroom teachers in their “day job.” Thediffering goals, contexts, needs, and expertise of formal and informal educators and the programsthey implement are examined in this paper through the lens of a scale-up grant that is working toimplement and adapt a robotics curriculum in both formal and informal learning contexts.Adaptations to the curriculum and the professional development model which, in a prior researcheffort emphasized developing teacher expertise to effectively deliver the curriculum, wererevisited to adapt to the needs, constraints, and priorities of informal educators. The design ofthe curriculum; the professional development objectives and model; the type, frequency, andformat of educator and youth assessments; and the availability and use of supplemental resourcesand online supports and community building are areas we have addressed in adapting therobotics program for effective implementation in informal programs. Through this process, theformal curriculum was enhanced with the addition of engaging strategies and relevant content toprovide additional support to classroom topics. This paper will present results of surveys andlearning assessments of both educators and youth who have used the robotics curriculum informal and informal settings.
McKay, M. M., & Lowes, S., & Tirthali, D., & McGrath, E. W., & Sayres, J., & DUPE Peterson, K. A. (2013, June), Transforming a Middle and High School Robotics Curriculum Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22652
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