Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version


Publication Source

2012 P-12 Engineering Design Education Research Conference, Washington, D.C.


The question guiding this research was, in what ways do parents perceive the impact of robotics in advancing their children’s interest in knowledge of and learning about science and engineering. This case study draws on communities of practice and activity theory to explore the lenses through which parents conceptualize the attributes of robotics towards increasing their children’s preparation and interest for engineering. The study revealed that parents perceive the acquisition of pertinent knowledge and skills as outcomes of interdisciplinary and authentic learning opportunities generated through series of goal directed activities. In addition, it was found that parents viewed beneficial characteristics of robotics across a wide range, from individual to collaborative learning; from acquisition of automation skills to immersion in multi-media projects; and from hands-on manipulation of raw materials to contentious discussions regarding optimal designs. In closing, the article situates the parents’ insights within recommendations garnered from some leading reports focused on strategies and conduits for broadening participation in science and engineering.



Date Posted: 30 August 2016