The COVID-19 induced school shutdown dramatically decreased students’ hands-on STEM learning opportunities. An NSF-funded program partnering preservice teachers and undergraduate engineering students to teach robotics to fifth graders was adapted to a virtual format via Zoom. A case study intimately explored one team’s experience as they engineered bio-inspired robots over five weekly sessions. Zoom recordings, written reflections, and lesson slides were analyzed to describe how the virtual context shaped the lesson and influenced the preservice teacher’s experience. All three participants successfully engineered a robotic flower indicating hands-on robotics instruction is feasible in an online format. The virtual context increased the preservice teacher’s responsibilities and sense of autonomy, and appeared to positively influence her knowledge and self-efficacy. Despite technical challenges, positive outcomes suggest the approach is worth repeating. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study examining a virtual robotics lesson co-taught by a preservice teacher and an engineering student.
Kidd, J., Kaipa, K., Gutierrez, K., Pazos, P., Ayala, O. & Ringleb, S. (2020). “Zooming In” on Robotics during COVID-19: A Preservice Teacher, an Engineering Student, and a 5th Grader Engineer Robotic Flowers via Zoom. In E. Langran (Ed.), Proceedings of SITE Interactive 2020 Online Conference (pp. 503-512). Online: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 2, 2021 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/218194/.