Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 899–914 | Cite as

Dragons, Ladybugs, and Softballs: Girls’ STEM Engagement with Human-Centered Robotics

  • Andrea Gomoll
  • Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver
  • Selma Šabanović
  • Matthew Francisco
Article

Abstract

Early experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are important for getting youth interested in STEM fields, particularly for girls. Here, we explore how an after-school robotics club can provide informal STEM experiences that inspire students to engage with STEM in the future. Human-centered robotics, with its emphasis on the social aspects of science and technology, may be especially important for bringing girls into the STEM pipeline. Using a problem-based approach, we designed two robotics challenges. We focus here on the more extended second challenge, in which participants were asked to imagine and build a telepresence robot that would allow others to explore their space from a distance. This research follows four girls as they engage with human-centered telepresence robotics design. We constructed case studies of these target participants to explore their different forms of engagement and phases of interest development—considering facets of behavioral, social, cognitive, and conceptual-to-consequential engagement as well as stages of interest ranging from triggered interest to well-developed individual interest. The results demonstrated that opportunities to personalize their robots and feedback from peers and facilitators were important motivators. We found both explicit and vicarious engagement and varied interest phases in our group of four focus participants. This first iteration of our project demonstrated that human-centered robotics is a promising approach to getting girls interested and engaged in STEM practices. As we design future iterations of our robotics club environment, we must consider how to harness multiple forms of leadership and engagement without marginalizing students with different working preferences.

Keywords

Human-centered robotics Telepresence robotics Engagement Interest development Problem-based learning 

References

  1. Association for Computing Machinery (1992) ACM code of ethics. https://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics
  2. Azevedo FS (2015) Sustaining interest-based participation in science. In: Renninger KA, Nieswandt M, Hidi S (eds) Interest in mathematics and science learning. AERA, Washington, pp 281–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barker BS, Ansorge J (2007) Robotics as means to increase achievement scores in an informal learning environment. J Res Technol Educ 39:229–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell P, Lewenstein B, Shouse AW, Feder MA (2009) Learning science in informal environments: people, places, and pursuits. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  5. Crowley K, Barron B, Knutson K, Martin CK (2015) Interest and the development of pathways to science. In: Renninger KA, Nieswandt M, Hidi S (eds) Interest in mathematics and science learning. AERA, Washington, pp 297–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferreira M (2001) The effect of an after-school program addressing the gender and minority achievement gaps in science, mathematics, and engineering. Educational Research Spectrum, Educational Research Services, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  7. Green M (2007) Science and engineering degrees: 1966−2004 (NSF 07–307). National Science Foundation. University of Alaska (Fairbanks) Open URL, Arlington, VAGoogle Scholar
  8. Hamner E, Lauwers T, Bernstein D, Nourbakhsh IR, DiSalvo CF (2008). Robot diaries: broadening participation in the computer science pipeline through social technical exploration. In: AAAI spring symposium: using AI to motivate greater participation in computer science, pp 38–43Google Scholar
  9. Hill C, Corbett C, St Rose A (2010) Why so few? women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. American Association of University Women, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  10. Hmelo-Silver CE (2004) Problem-based learning: what and how do students learn? Educ Psychol Rev 16(3):235–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jordan B, Henderson A (1995) Interaction analysis: foundations and practice. J Learn Sci 4(1):39–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lave J, Wenger E (1991) Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maltese AV, Harsh JA (2015) Perceptions of interest and their roles in the development of interest. In: Renninger KA, Nieswandt M, Hidi S (eds) Interest in mathematics and science learning. AERA, Washington, pp 203–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mataric MJ, Koenig NP, Feil-Seifer D (2007) Materials for enabling hands-on robotics and STEM Education. In: AAAI spring symposium: semantic scientific knowledge integration, pp 99–102Google Scholar
  15. McComas WF (ed) (2014) Place-based learning. In: The language of science education. Sense Publishers, The Netherlands, pp 73–73Google Scholar
  16. NGSS Lead States (2013) Next generation science standards: for states, by states. National Academies PressGoogle Scholar
  17. Pajares F (2005) Gender differences in mathematics self-efficacy beliefs. In: Gallagher AM, Kaufman JC (eds) Gender differences in mathematics: an integrative psychological approach, pp 294–315Google Scholar
  18. Powell AB, Francisco JM, Maher CA (2003) An analytical model for studying the development of learners’ mathematical ideas and reasoning using videotape data. J Math Behav 22(4):405–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Puntambekar S, Kolodner JL (2005) Toward implementing distributed scaffolding: helping students learn science from design. J Res Sci Teach 42(2):185–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Renninger KA, Costello Kensey CM, Stevens SJ, Lehman DL (2015) Perceptions of interest and their roles in the development of interest. In: Renninger KA, Nieswandt M, Hidi S (eds) Interest in mathematics and science learning. AERA, Washington, pp 93–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Resnick M (2007) All I really need to know (about creative thinking) I learned (by studying how children learn) in kindergarten. In: Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on creativity and cognition. ACM, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  22. Schaal S (2007) The new robotics—towards human-centered machines. HFSP J 1(2):115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sinha S, Rogat TK, Adams-Wiggins KR, Hmelo-Silver CE (2015) Collaborative group engagement in a computer-supported inquiry learning environment. Int J Comput-Support Collab Learn 10(3):273–307Google Scholar
  24. Stubbs K, Yanco H (2009) Stream: a workshop on the use of robotics in K-12 STEM education. IEEE Robot Autom Mag 16(4):17–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sullivan FR (2008) Robotics and science literacy: thinking skills, science process skills and systems understanding. J Res Sci Teach 45(3):373–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Swarat S, Ortony A, Revelle W (2012) Activity matters: understanding student interest in school science. J Res Sci Teach 49(4):515–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tai RH, Liu CQ, Maltese AV, Fan X (2006) Planning early for careers in science. Science 312:1143–1144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tan E, Calabrese Barton A, Kang H, O’Neill T (2013) Desiring a career in STEM-related fields: how middle school girls articulate and negotiate identities-in-practice in science. J Res Sci Teach 50:1143–1179. doi:10.1002/tea.21123 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Verner IM, Ahlgren DJ (2004) Robot contest as a laboratory for experiential engineering education. J Educ Resour Comput 4(2):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weinberg JB, Pettibone JC, Thomas SL, Stephen ML, Stein C (2007) The Impact of robot projects on girls’ attitudes toward science and engineering. In: Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) Workshop on Research in Robots for Education. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30 June 2007Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Gomoll
    • 1
  • Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver
    • 1
  • Selma Šabanović
    • 1
  • Matthew Francisco
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations