Artbotics expands education workshops to two new states

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Artbotics, a high school program that introduces students to art, computer science, and robotics, has expanded its teacher professional development to Indiana and New Hampshire. Workshops were held in Indianapolis and Concord this summer, hosting 32 educators.

Over the past several years, with support of ECEP’s National Science Foundation funding, Artbotics has grown through a number of curriculum developments using Lego Mindstorms NXT and EV3, and Arduino, and held workshops in California, Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

“Of these workshops, 11 have been for professional development of approximately 290 educators, and eight workshops have been held for approximately 160 high school and college students,” said Adam Norton, Artbotics instructor at UMass Lowell.

Through experiential learning, Artbotics students practice the skills of soldering, controlling lights, command sequencing, looping, and if statements (to name a few), creating 2D and 3D art in the form of interactive, kinetic sculptures. The technology for Artbotics varies depending on the grade level (elementary through college). It started with Super Cricket and quickly expanded to include LEGO Mindstorms NXT and EV3, and Arduino.

“We recently launched our longitudinal survey, targeting past educator participants in Artbotics workshops and/or those who received Artbotics materials to use in their classrooms,” shared Norton. “The survey inquires into how they have used the curriculum since and how many students have interacted with it.”

Once sufficient survey feedback is received, a report on the results will show the impact of Artbotics and help shape its future.

Artbotics is an interdisciplinary program that began in 2006 as a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Revolving Museum, a nonprofit organization that combines art, education, and community.

The program, funded through ECEP’s NSF grant since 2013, aims to increase participation in computing through the use of innovative and interactive technologies, broadening student understanding of the field of computing.

More information can be found in Norton’s updated Artbotics slide deck.