This is a hot topic in our school system right now. Shrinking budgets and increased focus on standardized test scores and AP curriculum have decision makers asking hard questions like these. I’m part of a task force investigating the validity and sustainability of courses like high school robotics engineering. I’m looking for evidence supporting what I already know… Courses like these increase student achievement. Can you help me with your reply?
I think the student demographic as well as the type of high school has to be looked at. Florida specifically the county I went to school in (Broward) has a magnet program at each high school. Each school that offers a magnet program specialises in something diffrent. So a student that is interested in a specific field or courses can be bused into the specific magnet school. I mean its not the best solution believe me but it does condense and simply things quite a bit. As far as a course in specifically robotics/ engineering I just don’t see every school or even 50% of them having the facilities or budget to do this. Which is why FIRST is reseraching the pilot and Michigan, plus in Broward county we are looking to condense FIRST teams which unfortuntely leads to the loss of some programs/ teams numbers. In short, I think a robotics engineering cirrcumlium/course is great but it doesn’t have a place in every high school nor is it possible to implement at this time.
If you look around on FIRST’s website, they have a study they sponsored a few years back about the impact of FIRST on the students that participate. It ended with some very positive results.
When you consider the cost of a FIRST team versus the cost of some other school sports and then consider the real career benefits of FIRST compared to those sports (football? basketball?), it seems pretty clear that FIRST is a good investment.
…scroll down to the chart, you’ll like what you see!
We have several PLTW (Project Lead The Way) classes at our school. Nearly all of our students on our team, even the ones not directly involved with the fabrication of the robot, take the classes. All of the students have excellent grades, several of them have interships at our teams sponsors, and all of them attend college, most for engineering degree. I know personally, these classes are the reason that I’m going to be an engineer and that, like said above, they have relativly low costs as compared to sports. From a student stand point, these are the best classes that my school has to offer. I wish you the best of luck.