Robotics@QUT is a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) support network, promoting engagement in robotics-based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), with a target audience of teachers and students, from schools in low socioeconomic status (SES) areas in North Brisbane. The rationale and pedagogy of Robotics@QUT draw on authoritative scholarly resources to address the problem of declining participation of Australian students in STEM subjects. Robotics was chosen because of its capacity to engage student interest in STEM subjects and to develop early STEM competencies. Robotics@QUT supports the development of school students’ STEM competencies and aspirations by building and maintaining sustained and productive relationships with schools and teachers. Engaging with parents and carers is also an important aspect of the Robotics@QUT project, raising awareness of higher education pathways, and normalising students’ aspirations to attend university.
As teachers who portray positive attitudes and capacity can influence students to pursue further STEM studies, Robotics@QUT has a focus on not only building school students’ aspirations to pursue an interest in STEM but also on developing teachers and pre-service teachers’ confidence and capacity to develop students' interest through facilitating engaging robotics-based STEM activities. Since 2010, Robotics@QUT has provided targeted teacher support through professional development (PD) sessions, access to loan equipment and curriculum-linked activities, and a professional network to facilitate the sharing of ideas and resources. Opportunities have been provided for QUT pre-service teachers to develop professional competence and confidence as they gain valuable STEM classroom experience while actively supporting teachers implementing in-school robotics-based activities and events. The pre-service teachers act as role models providing inspiration and encouragement to students and teachers from targeted schools. Through Robotics@QUT school students engage in a range of hands-on STEM activities and share their learning with parents, carers, and their school communities through robotics fun days and events designed to develop family/community interest and support. Sponsorship from Robotics@QUT broadens student participation in these events.
- build confidence to teach technology and robotics-based STEM activities
- build knowledge of how to implement engaging robotics activities
- receive support to implement activities in the classroom
- attend free workshops led by robotics experts.
- access loan kits
- access a library of curriculum-linked activities
- host displays and exhibitions
- receive competition sponsorship and support (Moreton Bay RoboCup Jr, Moreton Downs Robolympics, FIRST LEGO League, etc).
- build confidence and perceived ability to perform as future teachers
- develop positive attitudes towards technology in the classroom
- build relationships with local schools, students and parents.
- build confidence and perceived ability to achieve in the classroom
- develop positive attitudes towards technology
- enjoy hands-on experience in STEM areas
- share Robotics Fun Days (hosted at partner schools)
- enter local sponsored competitions
- are inspired for continuing education.