Selma Sabanovic, Indiana University Bloomington;
Matthew Francisco, Indiana University Bloomington
Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Indiana University Bloomington
Andrea Gomoll, Indiana University Bloomington
Whitney Novak, Indiana University Bloomington

Denver 2015: Pedagogy

(Middle and high school students worked with us to design robots, and controlled them in a showcase at the end of the semester.)

We present materials (robots, videos, curricula) from an ongoing effort to develop a novel strategy in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education that combines human-centered robotics (HCR) with problem-based learning (PBL) experiences and the critical study of sociotechnical systems. HCR, which involves the development of robots people can use in everyday life, enables students to relate technology to their own lives and the broader social context. As students program a customized robot to give a tour of their school to remote participants, they are presented with practical engineering problems and develop solutions based on social as well as technical considerations. Relating lessons to familiar topics and places, and the combination of social and technical issues fundamental to HCR, is expected to increase engagement of students from diverse background in STEM. The curriculum also prepares them to tackle the social, technical, and scientific aspects of technology design and implementation in a holistic manner.