New Pathways into Robotics Strategies for Broadening Participation


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.

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