Preparing Teachers to Teach STEM through Robotics

Christina Chalmers

Abstract


This paper reports on a university robotics-based education outreach program aimed at building teachers’ confidence and capacity, and encouraging students’ interest, in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The aim of this study is to examine the perceived value of the outreach program and the professional development (PD) workshops for the teachers participating in the program. The program was underpinned by constructionist theory of teacher PD; constructing knowledge through hands-on activities. The PD workshops focussed not only on how teachers could learn to build and program robots but also how they could develop and implement engaging robotics-based STEM activities in their classrooms. Questionnaires were completed after each workshop and teachers also provided written comments regarding the outreach program. The data collected showed that the hands-on workshops helped the teachers build knowledge and confidence to implement engaging robotics-based STEM activities. The teachers reported the key benefits of partnering with the university outreach program were: the development of their robot building and programming skills; the sharing of ideas for STEM activities to engage their students; and the on-going support provided by the outreach program.

Full Text:

PDF