The STEM Robotics 101 curriculum developed by the Olympia School District’s CTE STEM Robotics program has been adopted by two National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects.
The NSF funded Northwest Distributed Computer Science Department (NWDCSD) is a collaboration between Computer Science educators in Washington and Oregon. Led by professors from Gonzaga University, Willamette University and Washington State University Vancouver, this team seeks innovative ways to enhance Computer Science education. Although largely focused at the college level, part of the groups charter is K-12 outreach. In the midst the budget-driven extinction of K-12 Computer Science offerings around the region (including in OSD), the NWDCSD team sees Robotics as “Stealth Computer Science for the Masses”, and they have supported development and teacher training on the Olympia School District’s STEM Robotics 101 curriculum. A workshop on the STEM Robotics 101 project was held at the CCSC-NW conference in October, 2011.
Working with the NWDCSD team led to a second collaboration with the NSF funded Ensemble project. The northwest Ensemble team, based at Portland State University (PSU), is working with OSD to develop a STEM Robotics curriculum site. This allows for multiple Robotics course models, the most exhaustive of which is OSD’s STEM Robotics 101. The PSU site provides both a turn-key curriculum for novice Robotics teachers, as well as customization and collaboration tools for veteran teachers. OSD has trained 100+ teachers from 15+ areas school districts on STEM Robotics 101 and this community of STEM Robotics educators is now using this site to collaborate on new curriculum components.
Through on-line forums, conferences and word-of-mouth, we now have over 850 registered teacher-users (from 5 continents) participating in STEM Robotics 101.