Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy (CMRA) is a research organization with Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science…
…that studies how teachers use robots in classrooms to teach Computer Science, Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (CS-STEM). Our mission is to use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about science and technology. The Robotics Academy fulfills it mission by developing research based solution for teachers that foreground CS-STEM and are classroom tested. Robotics Academy inspired papers and publications can be found here:
Carnegie Mellon’s Robotic Academy staff and development team are housed in the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), where robots for business, government, and industry are designed, prototyped, and tested just outside our office doors.
Changing Culture in Robotics Classrooms
The CCRC project’s goal is to integrate more computational thinking into robotics classrooms. CMRA has seen that many school’s robotic classrooms started because the school became involved with a robotics competition. Many robotic competitions consist of a set of mechanically challenging activities and don’t require sophisticated programming solutions for teams to be successful. This project builds on the existing robotics competition infrastructure and then extends these activities in ways that foreground computational thinking.
Building a Theory of Badges for Computer Science Education
Robotics provide a great opportunity to introduce students to computer science. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh develops, tests, and refines a Theory of Robotic Programming Badges that can be applied to Computer Science Education. This project builds on lessons learned as CMRA built the Computer Science Student Network and integrates a complete badge system in Robot Virtual Worlds. The project measures the ability of badges to motivate student learning, to be accurate indicators of student performance, and if the badges are easily understood by students.
The Robot Algebra Project
For years we have heard that teachers are using robotics to teach mathematics. This project studied existing (2008) robotics education pedagogy and then developed multiple strategies that foregrounded proportional reasoning, a big idea in mathematics, that can be taught using robots. CMRA developed multiple tools that can help teachers foreground mathematics using robots:
Abstraction Bridges – Link
Robots in Motion – Link
Expedition Atlantis Game – Link
Expedition Atlantis Teacher’s Guide – PDF Content
Robot Virtual World Measurement Toolkit -MP4 Video
…and many written papers – Link
Mathematics is an enabler of all future innovation and CMRA continues to look for innovative ways to foreground mathematics in all of its activities.
The Computer Science Student Network
The Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) started as a collaborative research project between Carnegie Mellon University and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) designed to increase the number of students pursuing advanced Computer Science and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CS-STEM) degrees. CS2N has morphed into an online portal where students and teachers can find activities, competitions, and training designed to help them learn basic programming.
The Robotics Corridor Project
The Robotics Corridor Project was a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Butler County Community College, California University of Pennsylvania, Robert Morris University, Westmoreland County Community College, the Community College of Beaver County, the Community College of Allegheny College, and regional industry partners designed to determine the skill sets that a highly qualified technician would need to work in the robotics and automation industries. This partnership helped establish training, certifications, and associate degrees at the partner schools.