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Encouraging Robotics and STEM Studies

JA Carette
by JA Carette. Last updated on Jan 29, 2015 10:40 AM
Posted on Apr 11, 2012 10:01 PM. 3 min read time


I recently visited the on-line virtual conference from Robotics Trends about NextGen Education & Research Robotics. During the conference mention was made of some of the present problems in the North American educational systems with students not preforming well in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects perhaps falsely believing that these subjects are too difficult. The six speakers addressed different aspects of this problem, showcasing how using robotics is a method which engages students while teaching STEM material.

The following speakers and discussions were presented:describe the image

  • Paul Capioli, VEX Robotics, Inc.
    Get Involved: How STEM Education can be supported by Industry Leaders
  • Julian Ware, Adept MobileRobots
    How robotics research is moving down the value chain
  • Jon Dudas, FIRST
    Generation STEM: The future of robots and our workforce
  • Dr. Robert Williams, Air Force Research Laboratory
    Robotics as a STEM Field: An Avatar's perspective
  • Hanno Sander, OneRobot
    How to Teach with Robots
  • Ethan Danahy, Tufts University School of Engineering
    Thinking Inside the Box: Exploring Creativity in Highly Constrained Assignments

Some of the speakers work for companies which offered school or university appropriate robotics kits and even curricula in robotics or specific STEM subjects; like VEX and Onerobot;  whereas Adept MobileRobots provides robotic platforms for land, air, and sea-based research which are probably more geared towards university level projects or independent researchers.

FIRST which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology is probably best known for its Lego competitions, but Jon Dudas spoke about the lack of a well trained workforce and the number of technical jobs which were going unmet for lack of sufficient STEM trained personnel. He also spoke about how robotics could encourage students to consider STEM programs by making them more accessible. Somewhat like Robert Williams from the US Air Force Research Laboratory, who also spoke about the needs of STEM trained personnel and how YATE (Year-at-the-Edge) a research internship program at the Wright Brothers Institute in Dayton, Ohio with a summer component (Summer-at-the-Edge) that averages 100 high school to PhD students, but will grow to 1,000 students this year, was encouraging students to be innovative in many areas. Ethan Danahy, for Tufts University School of Engineering, also demonstrated how robotics was engaging university students.

These speakers were basically promoting the US government program of trying to increase the number of students interested and the quality of student performance in STEM related subjects.

This is not a problem relating only to the US, Canada would also benefit from greater emphasis placed on STEM subject matter and particularity more ROBOTS in the classroom!



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JA Carette
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