An exploratory study of a robotics educational platform on stem career interests in middle school students

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dc.contributor Benson, Angela D.
dc.contributor Mayben, Robert E.
dc.contributor Odom-Bartel, Rebecca Lei
dc.contributor Wright, Vivian H.
dc.contributor.advisor Rice, Margaret L. Hinton, Tracy Hinton 2017-07-28T14:12:51Z 2017-07-28T14:12:51Z 2017
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002675
dc.identifier.other Hinton_alatus_0004D_13045
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract With the large expected growth in STEM-related careers in American industries, there are not enough graduates to fill these positions (United States Department of Labor, 2015). Increased efforts are being made to reform STEM education from early childhood to college level studies, mainly through increased efforts to incorporate new technologies and project-based learning activities (Hegedorn & Purnamasari, 2012). At the middle school level, a robotics educational platform can be a worthwhile activity that provides hands-on learning as students learn basic programming and engineering skills (Grubbs, 2013). Based on the popularity of LEGO toys, LEGO Education developed an engaging and effective way to learn about computer programming and basic engineering concepts (Welch & Huffman, 2011). LEGO MINDSTORMS offers a project-based learning environment that engages students in real-life, problem-solving challenges. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the instructional use of a robotics educational curriculum on middle school students’ attitudes toward and interests in STEM and their experiences with LEGO Robotics activities. Participants included 23 seventh grade students who were enrolled in a Career Cluster Technologies I class in a suburban middle school. Data for the study were collected from three focus group interviews, open-ended surveys, classroom observations, and the Career Cruising program. Findings revealed that the robotics activities led to an increased interest and higher self-efficacy in STEM tasks. If students continue to nurture and develop their STEM interests, it is possible that many of them may develop higher confidence and eventually set personal goals related to STEM classes and careers. While other studies have been conducted on similar topics, this qualitative research is unique because it contributed to the gap in research that investigates the impact of an in-class robotics curriculum on middle school students’ attitudes and interests in STEM. Throughout the robotics unit, students exhibited positive reactions, including much excitement and enjoyment as they solved the robotics challenges. In addition, students demonstrated a greater interest in STEM courses and careers as a result of this hands-on activity. Middle school teachers should incorporate STEM-based activities such as robotics to help students gain hands-on STEM skills.
dc.format.extent 158 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Education
dc.subject.other Educational technology
dc.subject.other Robotics
dc.title An exploratory study of a robotics educational platform on stem career interests in middle school students
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies Instructional Leadership The University of Alabama doctoral Ph.D.

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