skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Physical Education and English Language Arts Based K-12 Engineering Outreach in Software Defined Networking (Extended Version)
K-12 engineering outreach has typically focused on elementary electrical and mechanical engineering or robot experiments integrated in science or math classes. In contrast, we propose a novel outreach program focusing on communication network principles that enable the ubiquitous web and smart-phone applications. We design outreach activities that illustrate the communication network principles through activities and team competitions in physical education (PE) as well as story writing and cartooning in English Language Arts (ELA) classes. The PE activities cover the principles of store-and-forward packet switching, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) web page download, connection establishment in cellular wireless networks, as well as packet routing in Software-Defined Networking (SDN). The proposed outreach program has been formatively evaluated by K-12 teachers. A survey for the evaluation of the impact of the outreach program on the student perceptions, specifically, the students' interest, self-efficacy, utility, and negative stereotype perceptions towards communication network engineering, is also presented.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1716121
NSF-PAR ID:
10174858
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
arXiv:2006.05545
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. This NSF IUSE project is on the Exploration and Design Tier and the Engaged Student Learning Track. It is aimed at better preparing the country’s professional workforce in the renaissance of U.S. skilled manufacturing by creating new personnel proficient in additive manufacturing (AM). AM is mainstream; it has the potential to bring jobs back to the U.S. and add to the nation’s global competitiveness. AM is the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D data in a layer upon layer fashion. The objectives are to develop, assess, revise, and disseminate an upper division course and laboratory, “Additive Manufacturing,” and to advance undergraduate and K-12 student research and creative inquiry activities as well as faculty expertise at three diverse participating universities: Texas Tech, California State-Northridge, and Kansas State. This research/pedagogical team contains a mechanical engineering professor at each university to develop and teach the course, as well as a sociologist trained in K-12 outreach, course assessment, and human subjects research to accurately determine the effects on K-12 and undergraduate students. The proposed course will cover extrusion-based, liquid-based, and powder-based AM processes. For each technology, fundamentals, applications, and advances will be discussed. Students will learn solutions to AM of polymers, metals, and ceramics. Two lab projects will be built to provide hands-on experiences on a variety of state-of-the-art 3D printers. To stimulate innovation, students will design, fabricate, and measure test parts, and will perform experiments to explore process limits and tackle real world problems. They will also engage K-12 students through video demonstrations and mentorship, thus developing presentation skills. Through the project, different pedagogical techniques and assessment tools will be utilized to assess and improve engineering education at both the undergraduate and K-12 levels through varied techniques: i) undergraduate module lesson plans that are scalable to K-12 levels, ii) short informational video lessons created by undergraduates for K-12 students with accompanying in-person mentorship activities at local high schools and MakerSpaces, iii) pre- and post-test assessments of undergraduates’ and K-12 participating students’ AM knowledge, skills, and perceptions of self-efficacy, and iv) focus groups to learn about student concerns/learning challenges. We will also track students institutionally and into their early careers to learn about their use of AM technology professionally. 
    more » « less
  2. This NSF IUSE project is on the Exploration and Design Tier and the Engaged Student Learning Track. It is aimed at better preparing the country’s professional workforce in the renaissance of U.S. skilled manufacturing by creating new personnel proficient in additive manufacturing (AM). AM is mainstream; it has the potential to bring jobs back to the U.S. and add to the nation’s global competitiveness. AM is the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D data in a layer upon layer fashion. The objectives are to develop, assess, revise, and disseminate an upper division course and laboratory, “Additive Manufacturing,” and to advance undergraduate and K-12 student research and creative inquiry activities as well as faculty expertise at three diverse participating universities: Texas Tech, California State Northridge, and Kansas State. This research/pedagogical team contains a mechanical engineering professor at each university to develop and teach the course, as well as a sociologist trained in K-12 outreach, course assessment, and human subjects research to accurately determine the effects on K-12 and undergraduate students. The proposed course will cover extrusion-based, liquid-based, and powder-based AM processes. For each technology, fundamentals, applications, and advances will be discussed. Students will learn solutions to AM of polymers, metals, and ceramics. Two lab projects will be built to provide hands-on experiences on a variety of state-of-the-art 3D printers. To stimulate innovation, students will design, fabricate, and measure test parts, and will perform experiments to explore process limits and tackle real world problems. They will also engage K-12 students through video demonstrations and mentorship, thus developing presentation skills. Through the project, different pedagogical techniques and assessment tools will be utilized to assess and improve engineering education at both the undergraduate and K-12 levels through varied techniques: i) undergraduate module lesson plans that are scalable to K-12 levels, ii) short informational video lessons created by undergraduates for K-12 students with accompanying in-person mentorship activities at local high schools and MakerSpaces, iii) pre- and post-test assessments of undergraduates’ and K-12 participating students’ AM knowledge, skills, and perceptions of self-efficacy, and iv) focus groups to learn about student concerns/learning challenges. We will also track students institutionally and into their early careers to learn about their use of AM technology professionally. 
    more » « less
  3. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Engineering Research Centers (ERC) must complement their technical research with various education and outreach opportunities to: 1) improve and promote engineering education, both within the center and to the local community; 2) encourage and include the underrepresented populations to participate in Engineering activities; and 3) advocate communication and collaboration between industry and academia. ERCs ought to perform an adequate evaluation of their educational and outreach programs to ensure that beneficial goals are met. Each ERC has complete autonomy in conducting and reporting such evaluation. Evaluation tools used by individual ERCs are quite similar, but each ERC has designed their evaluation processes in isolation, including evaluation tools such as survey instruments, interview protocols, focus group protocols, and/or observation protocols. These isolated efforts resulted in redundant resources spent and lacking outcome comparability across ERCs. Leaders from three different ERCs led and initiated a collaborative effort to address the above issue by building a suite of common evaluation instruments that all current and future ERCs can use. This leading group consists of education directors and external evaluators from all three partners ERCs and engineering education researchers, who have worked together for two years. The project intends to address the four ERC program clusters: Broadening Participation in Engineering, Centers and Networks, Engineering Education, and Engineering Workforce Development. The instruments developed will pay attention to culture of inclusion, outreach activities, mentoring experience, and sustained interest in engineering. The project will deliver best practices in education program evaluation, which will not only support existing ERCs, but will also serve as immediate tools for brand new ERCs and similar large-scale research centers. Expanding the research beyond TEEC and sharing the developed instruments with NSF as well as other ERCs will also promote and encourage continual cross-ERC collaboration and research. Further, the joint evaluation will increase the evaluation consistency across all ERC education programs. Embedded instrumental feedback loops will lead to continual improvement to ERC education performance and support the growth of an inclusive and innovative engineering workforce. Four major deliveries are planned. First, develop a common quantitative assessment instrument, named Multi-ERC Instrument Inventory (MERCII). Second, develop a set of qualitative instruments to complement MERCII. Third, create a web-based evaluation platform for MERCII. Fourth, update the NSF ERC education program evaluation best practice manual. These deliveries together will become part of and supplemented by an ERC evaluator toolbox. This project strives to significantly impact how ERCs evaluate their educational and outreach programs. Single ERC based studies lack the sample size to truly test the validity of any evaluation instruments or measures. A common suite of instruments across ERCs would provide an opportunity for a large scale assessment study. The online platform will further provide an easy-to-use tool for all ERCs to facilitate evaluation, share data, and reporting impacts. 
    more » « less
  4. Given the strategic importance of the semiconductor manufacturing sector and the CHIPS Act impact on microelectronics, it is more imperative than ever to train the next generation of scientists and engineers in the field. However, this is a challenging feat since nanofabrication education uses hands-on cleanroom facilities. Since cleanrooms are expensive, have access constraints due to safety concerns, and offer limited instructional space, class sizes and outreach events are limited. To complement instruction in nanotechnology education, there is some open- or educational-access software, which is computer-based and focuses only on training for individual equipment, not on the typical workflow for device fabrication. The objective of this work was to develop an accessible virtual reality ecosystem that provides an immersive education and outreach on device nanofabrication that is user-friendly for a broad range of audiences. At the George Washington University (GWU), a virtual reality cleanroom prototype has been developed. It consists of a 45-minute gameplay module that covers the process flow for the fabrication of micro-scale resistors, from sample preparation to electrical characterization. We also performed a mixed methods study to investigate how 5 students in a nanoelectronics course utilized this virtual reality cleanroom prototype and what changes they recommend to improve its user interface and learner experience. The study population for this work-in-progress consisted of students enrolled in a nanoelectronics course at GWU during the 2022-2023 school year. Students taking this course can be undergraduate (junior or senior) or graduate (masters or PhD). The research questions for this study were 1) what is the user experience with the virtual reality cleanroom prototype, 2) what challenges, if any, did students experience, and 3) what changes did students recommend to improve the virtual reality cleanroom prototype learner experience? Preliminary results indicate that the students found the virtual reality cleanroom simulator helpful in repeatedly exploring the cleanroom space and the nanofabrication process flow in a safe way, thus developing more confidence in utilizing the actual cleanroom facility. The results of this study will provide insight on the design of future modules with more complicated levels and device process flows. Moreover, the study could inform the development of other virtual reality simulators for other lab activities. The improved usability of the proposed software could provide students in large classes or attending online programs in electrical and computer engineering, as well as K-12 students participating in nanotechnology-related outreach events, the opportunity to conduct realistic process workflows, learn first-hand about nanofabrication, and practice using a nanofabrication lab via trial and error in a safe virtual environment. 
    more » « less
  5. The Graduate Research Identity Development program (GRID) is an initiative in the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University, sponsored by the National Science Foundation since 2019. The program offers seminar-type lectures supplemented with activities designed to help graduate students develop critical skills for research-based careers. The program is focused on graduate engineering students but is open to graduate students from all programs. Students also choose mentors from within and outside the university with the goal of increasing their sense of belonging to the field and their identities as research engineers. As part of this program, a pilot study is in progress, aimed at performing a full-scale network analysis of student interactions. A web-based survey was administered to collect information about students in and outside the College of Engineering who participate in the GRID program sessions. The survey was designed to collect information on the relationship networks (or lack thereof) that students are involved in as they matriculate through their graduate program. It assesses things such as how and where the students interact with one another, members of faculty and staff, and with contacts from intramural and extramural organizations. Several items are also used to assess students’ perceptions of themselves as research engineers. In this paper, we focus on the interactions of students in the classroom. More specifically, we form networks based on the student answers about the classes they have taken in different departments. We then analyze the resultant networks and contrast certain graph theoretic properties to students’ scores on the research engineer identity items. Do students that are in the periphery, or students that have more connections attain higher research engineer identity scores? Do students that form complete subnetworks (cliques) or core-periphery structures (induced stars) have higher scores than others? This paper presents the findings from this pilot study from the network analysis on this cohort of students. In summary, we find that students with high eigenvector centrality scores and those who form larger cliques possess significantly higher research engineer identity scores. 
    more » « less