Using a Multifaceted Robotics-Based Intervention to Increase Student Interest in STEM and Computational Thinking Skills
Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)
Type of Culminating Activity
Doctor of Education in Educational Technology
Youngkyun Baek, Ph.D.
Yu-Hui Ching, Ph.D.
Kerry Lynn Rice, Ed.D.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
This dissertation examines the impact of a robotics-based intervention on elementary-aged students’ interest in STEM subjects and careers and development of computational thinking skills. Previous research suggests educational robotics programs integrate a wide array of skills projected to be essential for success in the workforce of the future. The current research was motivated by two research questions: (1) What is the impact of a robotics-based intervention on elementary-aged students’ interest in STEM subjects and careers? (2) What is the impact of a robotics-based intervention on elementary-aged students' computational thinking skills? To answer these questions, action research was used to examine a multifaceted, constructionist, robotics-based intervention that included weekly WeDo Lego Robotics building and coding sessions facilitated by trained, STEM-speaking adults, the use of the Use-Modify-Create learning progression (Lee, et al., 2011) to scaffold student development of computational thinking skills, a classroom STEM learning center, and student participation in a robotics showcase.
Participants were thirty-seven second and third grade students from two classrooms at a rural, Title I elementary school in the Southeastern United States. The intervention was found to have a positive impact on students’ interest in STEM subjects and careers and development of computational thinking skills. Critical intervention elements included: STEM-speaking adults, constructionist building and coding opportunities, opportunities to work with and learn from peers, classroom learning center activities including access to robotics and STEM reading materials and opportunities for student reflection, use of the Use-Modify-Create learning progression, and student participation in a robotics showcase.
Based on the findings of this research, elementary schools should strive to incorporate educational robotics into the regular school day. This research provides practitioners with a multifaceted robotics-based intervention that can be integrated into elementary classrooms in as little as two hours per week for sixteen weeks and result in student acquisition of positive attitudes toward STEM subjects and careers and computational thinking skills. These are attitudes and skills which are valuable to students’ future school and career success.
Hudson, Mary Alice, "Using a Multifaceted Robotics-Based Intervention to Increase Student Interest in STEM and Computational Thinking Skills" (2019). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 1529.