Teaching Teachers Beyond The Tool: Incorporating Robotics And Data Collection Into Middle And High Schools
2008 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
There are a variety of technological innovations as well as curriculum materials on the market today to help students become involved in Math, Science, and Engineering in middle and high school levels. Often, the teachers who must use the materials are overwhelmed by the technology as well as how to integrate this into curricula and still meet competencies required by state laws. As a result, many of these tools are left unused or taught in a manner that leaves students unable to connect the
... hnology to higher learning objectives or feel that it is just a "widget" class. In the 2006-2007 school year a collaborative effort between Southwestern Community College (SCC), Western Carolina University (WCU), and several school districts was fostered through the SCC Gear UP program. At a most basic level, a typical robotics competition based on the "First Lego League" was created and executed in the local region with success. This paper discusses the phase after that, where feedback from teachers, parents, and administrators spurred the creation of "Camp Robot" not for students but for the teachers of middle school students. The program incorporated several elements to not only expose the teachers to the technology and its usefulness in robotics and data logging but also, how to put the technology in a background position, to focus on teaching the analytical problem solving, design, and interpersonal skills which are the technology independent goals of the learning environment. Various methods were used including peer learning, multi-age group integration, role reversal, game playing, and both cooperative and competitive learning modalities. The variety of experiences were intended to enhance retention as well as to assist teachers in self discovery of strategies which would be useful for their specific classroom and institutional issues.