Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 59–69 | Cite as

New Pathways into Robotics: Strategies for Broadening Participation

  • Natalie RuskEmail author
  • Mitchel Resnick
  • Robbie Berg
  • Margaret Pezalla-Granlund


This paper suggests new strategies for introducing students to robotics technologies and concepts, and argues for the importance of providing multiple entry points into robotics. In particular, the paper describes four strategies that have been successful in engaging a broad range of learners: (1) focusing on themes, not just challenges; (2) combining art and engineering; (3) encouraging storytelling; (4) organizing exhibitions, rather than competitions. The paper describes a new technology, called the PicoCricket, that supports these strategies by enabling young people to design and program artistic creations that integrate light, sound, music, and motion. The paper concludes with an analysis of robotics activities in three educational environments, examining how these new strategies and technologies can engage young people with diverse interests and learning styles.


Robotics Art Creativity Learning styles Gender Technology 



Keith Braafladt, Margarita Dekoli, Chris Garrity, Rachel Garber, Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Stephanie Hunt, Mike Petrich, Michael Smith-Welch, Karen Wilkinson, and Diane Willow collaborated on the workshops and contributed ideas described in this paper. Thanks to Marina Umaschi Bers for her suggestions on a draft of this paper. This research has been supported by grants from the LEGO Company and the National Science Foundation (ESI-0087813).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Rusk
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mitchel Resnick
    • 1
  • Robbie Berg
    • 3
  • Margaret Pezalla-Granlund
    • 4
  1. 1.Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media LabCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Eliot-Pearson Department of Child DevelopmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Physics DepartmentWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  4. 4.Learning Technologies CenterScience Museum of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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