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Open Access The Academic and Behavioral Implications of Robotics In the Classroom: an Elementary Case Study

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There are many questions regarding the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in increasing interest in STEM careers, creating possible behavioral effects, and impacting student achievement. Since STEM education is a broad category, this study focused on four impacts of teaching robotics to third graders. The aspects studied were classroom participation, behavior, math and engineering enjoyment, and math and engineering skills. Our hypothesis is that by learning technology (robotics), the students' math and/or engineering skills will increase and that they will show an improvement in their participation and behavior. Data was gathered on the four impact areas through behavioral observations, a survey, and a written skills level test. The written skills tests were given prior to the robotics lessons (pre-test) and after the lessons were done (post-test). Three sample groups were used in this study. T-tests were performed on each of the four impacts (participation, behavior, enjoyment, and skills) for the three different sample groups. With Group 1 (n = 44) and Group 2 (n = 22), our hypothesis of an increase in math and engineering skills was confirmed, as our p-values were both less than .05. Group 3 (n = 22) did show gains in engineering skills, but math results were inconclusive (1). Using a scale we designed, we then evaluated the behavior and participation of each student before, during, and after the robotics lessons. Each student was given a score from one to five in each category. From these results, t-tests were performed to determine significance. The data confirmed our hypothesis of improved behavior, as the p-value was less than .05. Thus, we can argue that teaching the students about robotics positively impacted the students both academically and behaviorally (2).
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Keywords: ENGINEERING EDUCATION; INNOVATION; INVENTORS; TECHNOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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