Promoting Robotic Design and Entrepreneurship Experiences among Students and Teachers
The project will develop, implement, and assess an initiative to promote robotic design and entrepreneurship experiences among students and teachers. Each year, 16 teachers and 32 students from 8 high schools located in all 5 boroughs of New York will attend a 4-week summer institute consisting of a 2-week guided training and a 2-week collaborative robotic-product development. The participants will come primarily from schools in underserved neighborhoods with socially, economically, racially, and ethnically diverse student bodies; approximately half of the participants will be female. During the academic year, each school's two teachers will conduct a robotics course for at least 25 students. Classroom adoption will be facilitated through a professional learning community (PLC). In the annual grand finale, school teams will compete in a robot product design and business idea contest, modeled after the Inno/Vention contest coordinated by the Incubator Initiatives of NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Over the 3-year project duration, 48 teachers and 96 students from 24 high schools will participate in the summer institute with 160 contact hours. Through the academic year elective, teachers will engage 1,200 students during the project funding period. The project has formed an interdisciplinary team including experts in robotics, entrepreneurship, K-12 curriculum design, and assessment to support project design and implementation.
The project design adapts features from research on project-based learning (PBL), robotics and entrepreneurship in K-12 STEM education, social cognitive career theory, and teacher professional development embedded in a PLC. Formulating robotics activities in a PBL framework will help participants learn content, develop planning and problem-solving skills, and foster their higher-order cognitive skills. Integration of PBL with entrepreneurship activities will address participant fear of failure, lack of confidence, and creativity and communication skills. The design of the teacher professional development will support transfer of training through content-immersion, allow modeling and rehearsing of desired skills, and involve teachers for a sufficient duration to support the cognitive demands of new learning. The project will research the broad overarching question: Do robotics design and entrepreneurship activities, experienced through PBL, positively influence teacher practices and student outcomes? The project will investigate if participation (1) builds teacher capacity to effectively utilize PBL, contextualized in robotics and entrepreneurship, to promote STEM learning and (2) positively impacts students self-efficacy, outcome expectations, goals, and interest in STEM studies and careers. This project is funded by the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program that supports projects that build understandings of best practices, program elements, contexts and processes contributing to engaging students in learning and developing interest in STEM, information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, and related STEM content and careers.