Abstract: Context: Remote Access Laboratories (RAL) allow remote access to instruments for educational purposes and have been widely used in engineering education. A conceptual Peer-to-Peer (P2P) RAL is an architecture where participant(s) can be: makers who create an experiment on a STEM topic and publish them on the Internet; or learners who simply runs experiments published by others for learning purposes. The process of integrating these technologies can give STEM students hands-on experience on how to build and run experiment setups which are integral parts of STEM subjects them to collaborate with people with similar interest from large distances. This approach requires active participation from the teachers as well for guiding the STEM student participants.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish whether it is feasible to deploy a conceptual P2P RAL environment for STEM education where the students make their own experiment and publish it in an online environment. The focus of this trial was to abilities, perceptions and efficacy of teachers.
Approach: A trial of the P2P RAL system was held with participants who were Bachelor degree students (preservice teachers) in the course EDP4130 Technology Curriculum and Pedagogy. The following sequence of activities was conducted: The users' proficiency with procedural programming in SNAP was established and the users' ability to use procedural programming to create an activity for this purpose was evaluated. Participants were as to integrate a constructed hardware robot including a controller and three actuators into one activity. As part of the activity, the pre-service teachers collaborate with each other to setup an activity and used the built activity remotely. Changes in the participants' mood as a result of engaging in this activity was evaluate using PANAS (Watson, D.1988).
Results: The participant's feedback has shown that the kind of hands-on-experience done in the trials is essential and suitable for school children. All participants successfully created programs. All groups were able to create their own robot with various designs. All the participants understood that they could use this approach to demonstrate someone else's rig first, to understand the capabilities of the system before building their own. Participants indicated that a bank of example activities would considerably help their understanding of the concepts. Additionally, it was indicated that sharing of the activities with other participants was the most memorable aspect of the trial. All participants indicated that this type of activity could be done at schools but may not be suitable for homes.
Conclusions: The proposed RAL approach involves using modern network and consumer robotics technology to construct scientific experiments for sharing over the Internet. Teachers in STEM education must be well prepared and trained in order to adapt this new medium of education. The chosen cohort of preservice teachers demonstrated with reported limitations that they were able to undertake these tasks and use similar activities in the classroom.
To cite this article: Maiti, Ananda; Maxwell, Andrew; Wu, Ting and Kist, Alexander A. Teacher perspectives of constructing remote experiments for collaboration and sharing in STEM education [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 412-419.
[cited 23 Jun 17].