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, Viacheslav I.; Nugent, Gwen; Barker, Bradley S.; and Grandgenett, Neal, "The Use of Robotics, GPS and GIS Technologies to Encourage STEM-Oriented Learning in Youth" (2009). Teacher Education Faculty Proceedings & Presentations. 12.