Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



In our technology rich world, the educational areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play an increasingly essential role in developing well-prepared specialists for the 21st century workplace. Unfortunately, interest in theses areas has been declining for a few decades. Various innovative educational initiatives in formal and informal learning environments have been undertaken nationally to attempt to encourage STEM-oriented learning. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the particular program described in this paper focuses on middle school youth in non-formal learning environments. The program integrates educational robotics, Global Positioning System (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to provide educational experiences through summer camps, 4-H clubs and afterschool programs. The project’s impact was assessed in terms of: a) youth learning of computer programming, mathematics, geospatial concepts, and engineering/robotics concepts and b) youth attitudes and motivation towards STEM-related disciplines. An increase in robotics/GPS/GIS learning questionnaire scores and a stronger self-efficacy in relevant STEM areas have been found through a set of project-related assessment instruments.


Adamchuk, V.G., Nugent, B. Barker, and N. Grandgenett (2009). The use of robotics, GPS and GIS technologies to encourage STEM-oriented learning in youth. Proceedings of the 2009 Midwest Section Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, in Lincoln, Nebraska, 16-18 September 2009, D. Schulte, ed. Washington, DC: ASEE. Copyright © American Society of Engineering Education, 2009. Used by permission.