Teacher perceptions of the educational value of the FIRST Robotics Competition for workforce preparation with regards to math, science and technology
Kenneth Berry, Pepperdine University, United States
Pepperdine University . Awarded
This is a survey study of the teachers at the FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston Texas that took place April 10-12, 2003. The purpose of the study is to determine who the teachers, teams and schools are who competed in the competition, and to determine if the teacher participants feel there is any educational value to the competition for their students. The study focused on the educational value of math, science and technology. Also, the teachers were asked if they believed that FIRST promoted student understanding of the 21st Century Workforce Skills as described by the Secretary's Commission for the Achievement of Necessary Skills (SCANS; U.S. Department of Labor, 1991). The survey provided a great deal of information about the demographics of the teachers, teams and schools.
The survey was also designed to determine the teachers' attitudes toward FIRST as a motivational, and concept rich learning activity for themselves and their students. The teachers overwhelmingly find that the Championship Competition provides their students and themselves with the factors identified as motivational. The teachers also strongly feel that they teach the SCANS Skills to their students during the FIRST competition. In fact, the teachers feel they are more likely to teach to the SCANS skills during FIRST than during their regular classes. Finally, the teachers feel that their students learn a great deal of content and process knowledge in math, science and technology during the FIRST competition.
The results of the survey indicate that FIRST is a motivational, context rich, math, science and technology educational activity. Studying FIRST and other activities like it, may provide educators with insights that will help them develop more relevant and engaging math, science and technology courses.
Berry, K. Teacher perceptions of the educational value of the FIRST Robotics Competition for workforce preparation with regards to math, science and technology. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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