Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about STEM

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December 11, 2017

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy completed its 14th year of summer teacher training in 2017

By Krishna Pandravada

Robin Shoop
  • Director

In September 2017, Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy completed its fourteenth year of summer teacher training; over 120 teachers attended seven one-week sessions at The National Robotics Engineering Center and another 100 teachers participated in the online courses. This year’s classes covered introductory and intermediate level robot programming, troubleshooting, solving engineering problems and teachers also participated in several experiments designed to help improve our training and outreach.

The first experiment focused on Model Eliciting Activities (MEA). MEAs area used to connect new learning to prior understandings. Our MEAs involved teaching teachers how to introduce students to basic programming concepts like pseudocode, abstraction, decomposition, loops, and other programming concepts as well as using the pedagogical principle to teach other STEM concepts. We also taught teachers CMU developed best practices on how to scaffold learning when teaching with robotics.

The second experiment introduced teachers to our CS-STEM Certification Network. Teachers learned how badges and automated assessment tools can be used to track student progress and identify where the majority of students in their class are struggling. The teachers provided feedback on the system that will make the teaching tool more classroom-friendly; dozens of teachers have elected to use the system in their class this fall.

The courses cover areas such as Introduction to Robotics, Robot Mathematics, Robot Sensors, Decision Making, Planning and Troubleshooting and Data Flow and Logic.

The Robotics Academy also offers online training. The Professional Development courses provide teachers and coaches with a solid foundation for robot programming in the respective languages, and experience in troubleshooting common student mistakes. It also focuses on identifying and extracting academic value from the naturally occurring STEM situations encountered in robotics explorations.

Check out the 2018 summer schedule here.