SBIR Phase I: Algebra Immersion Robotics

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0740928
Agency Tracking Number: 0740928
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: IT
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Small Business Information
1 Hopkins St., Montpelier, VT, 05602
DUNS: 780073503
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Christopher Hancock
 (802) 223-3044
Business Contact
 Christopher Hancock
Title: PhD
Phone: (802) 223-3044
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop ways to leverage the teaching power of educational robotics to promote the learning of central big ideas in algebra. With its strong appeal and rich intellectual content, educational robotics has an established culture and following - but one that sits outside the educational mainstream. Considered a 'technology' activity, robotics is pursued more often in after school clubs and other informal settings. While a wide variety of young people are drawn to robotics, those who stay with it tend to be strongly technologically inclined. New technologies and curriculum materials can disrupt this state of affairs by making robotics more accessible and rewarding, and by unlocking its potential to yield important and measurable learning outcomes that align with national mathematics education standards. The proposed research focuses on innovations to improve the quality of educational robotics technologies as creative tools and as hybrid physical/virtual manipulatives that make core algebra ideas transparent, interactive, and empowering. Design research methods will be used to begin to chart pathways by which context-bound competence within the robotics learning environment can transfer to success in school algebra. Educators and policymakers understand that algebra is powerful that it is a gateway to academic and career success. But most young people have yet to taste the power of algebra. A successful project outcome will lead to products that enable many thousands of young people to master fundamental algebraic concepts and turn them to their own constructive purposes, thereby experiencing algebra's creative empowerment and its connection to technology and digital media. The project outcomes will impact educational robotics by increasing its benefits and expanding its audience, gaining a stronger presence in school settings while also attracting and retaining a broader range of participants in informal settings. This work advances urgently needed alignment between technological fluency and school mathematics and science.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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