databot - Innovative STEM education tool

Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the Possibilities with databot™

databot - Innovative STEM education tool

I recently read an article from Northeastern University on the extraordinary growth in data science careers, and the projected opportunities coming in the future. By 2026 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 11.5 Million jobs in data science, and for the past three years running Glassdoor has named data science its number one job. You can read the article yourself here, see some of the top applications of data science in the real world, and also see some of the hefty salaries ($80K-160K average) that employees with this skill set are taking home.

Unlimited Possibilities!

databot™ provides a great training tool for data science since it provides so many avenues for capturing data for analysis. With ten sensors on-board and an external, waterproof temperature probe, there are thousands of data collection experiments that can be conducted.

The entire process of data analysis requires thoughtful planning on what data you will collect for your particular issue, how you will collect it and keep it pure, and how you will analyze and visualize it for understanding and presentation. As students work through the challenge of designing their data experiments with databot™, they will acquire real-world skills not just in the science discipline they may be exploring, but also skills applicable to data science positions of all types. This is career preparation at its very best, putting real world tools into the hands of students working on real world challenges.

Career and Technical Education, CTE, focuses on delivering specific skills to students that prepare them for the future workforce. CTE programs are structured around 16 career “clusters” that cover the full range of potential career paths ranging from Health Science to Law and Agriculture. Interestingly, data science has applications to nearly all careers since every industry is now data driven, whether you are exploring connections in data as you analyze the latest Ebola outbreak, or are gathering data on your crop health with a sensor-loaded drone. In one of the career clusters, training, I saw first hand examples of how data driven it has become at a recent presentation by a national talent development organization. The organization had gone to great lengths to gather data to determine what methods of training had the best success rate.

The age of data is upon us and there is no doubt we need to prepare our students to be able to evaluate and understand data of all kinds. The rise of “fake news” and the manipulation of the masses through calculated media campaigns has drawn serious attention to the need for teaching critical thinking skills, and this involves understanding how to find and evaluate supporting data. Our need as a society to discern what has factual basis and what may be unsubstantiated has never been higher.

Making STEM Stick

The STEM career cluster is one of the hottest areas for career development and this is borne out by regular news and industry reports highlighting the need for more graduates in STEM fields. databot™ provides an outstanding tool for STEM education as it develops a highly relevant skill set in students using it. Using databot™ to gather data for applications in Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Life Science and then analyzing that data develops a deeper understanding of the science topic at hand but also provides real world experience in the acquisition, analysis, and presentation of the associated data.

databot™ provides students with the opportunity to learn electronics, coding, networking and other IT and tech skills through engaging and relevant activities using tools and materials from the Arduino ecosystem. See our recent article on Arduino and databot™ for more background. Since many CTE programs already have Arduino materials on hand, databot™ can easily and quickly be integrated into existing programs, making them more effective and richer. Jerald Jolito, a teacher from Pecos, Texas, is an exemplary example of a committed CTE professional:

databot™ - Innovative STEM education tool
databot - Innovative STEM education tool

My mission is to prepare my students for employment in a workforce that is heavily dependent of technological tools. As a teacher from a small town in West Texas, it is my responsibility to lead my students beyond the traditional secondary education template that is highly reliant on the traditional paper and pencil platform into an academic environment that is enriched with skill-building activities that make use of robotics, programming, physics, mathematics, CAD and robotics.

– Jerald Jolito

After studying the Arduino-based architecture, on-board sensors and expansion options, Jerald had a number of ideas of how to integrate databot™ into programs and said, “Big data is becoming a very important part of our society and teaching students to collect and process data will be a high-demand skill.” He further went on to mention how databot™ could probably be slaved to a Raspberry Pi device, used in physics classes, and effectively connect Computer Science to Math and Science coursework, something that he feels is strongly needed. Mr. Jolito will be one of the first educators to receive a databot™ in a few weeks when they begin shipping and we are all excited to see what he and his students will be able to do with it.

Putting it All Together

databot - Revolutionize STEM education

Many CTE teachers get involved in the world of school robotics competitions using LEGO®, VEX and other awesome building tools. Students love these experiences and, again, they are learning very deep real-world skills as they learn to collaborate, communicate, create, and fail in spectacular ways as they work through problem solving challenges. databot™ sports physical hooks for LEGO® and fischertechnik®. A special slide-in baseplate with included Velcro enables it to be attached to just about anything else. Using the open connections on the databot™ base, CTE teachers can also challenge their students to design and 3D print special parts that will enable databot™ to connect to other systems. Once attached, the world of sensors, data acquisition, analysis, visualization all come into play as students go beyond building robots that roam about, they now have bonafide capabilities to gather data on air quality, UV light, sound, motion, humidity and many other areas.

The entire process of data analysis requires thoughtful planning on what data you will collect for your particular issue, how you will collect it and keep it pure, and how you will analyze and visualize it for understanding and presentation. As students work through the challenge of designing their data experiments with databot™, they will acquire real-world skills not just in the science discipline they may be exploring, but also skills applicable to data science positions of all types. This is career preparation at its very best, putting real world tools into the hands of students working on real world challenges.

When the robots take to the air, drone educators also have the opportunity to push their programs further when students integrate databot™ into these exciting, flying STEM platforms.

When the robots take to the air, drone educators also have the opportunity to push their programs further when students integrate databot™ into these exciting, flying STEM platforms.

databot™’s 11 included sensors, built in SD card writer, and 8GB of onboard memory empower educators to create all kinds of challenges for students. For example:

  • Environmental missions: test air quality in various zones and bring the data home for analysis.
  • Motion and force: learn the math behind the physics of motion as students crunch data from the onboard accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyro.
  • Earth Science Air Column: Fly straight up and gather data on the changing air pressure, UV, humidity,  and light as the drone’s altitude increases.
  • Advanced: use the open I2C port to communicate databot™ data directly to your onboard flight controller and broadcast the data for miles using the drone’s RF telemetry.
databot - Innovative STEM education tool

Conclusion

In conclusion, databot™ provides a highly versatile tool for CTE programs, and develops real world career skills relevant to all the career clusters, not just a few, as students gain experience handling data. Built out of high impact polycarbonate, databot™ is designed to be launched, thrown, swung, flown or driven in any number of scenarios whether you are flying drones, building robots, or taking environmental readings. With its open architecture Arduino DNA, it is also wide open for hacking, programming, and enhancing through DIY electronics and coding. The world’s workforce needs more experience with data. Data drives advertising, media, purchasing, investing, research and development, scientific discovery and nearly every other aspect of our society. In order to be well prepared for the future, and well prepared for the career landscape of tomorrow, time spent working with databot™ will be time well spent in a CTE program.

  • databot

    Camp databot™ – STEM

    Rated 0 out of 5
    $1,799.00 Read more
  • databot

    databot™ Single – The Classic

    Rated 0 out of 5
    $179.99 Read more
  • databot

    databot™ 2 Pack – Twice the Fun!

    Rated 0 out of 5
    $350.00 Read more
  • databot

    ClassPack 10 – the Big Enchilada!

    Rated 0 out of 5
    $1,750.00 Read more

About the Author

Robert Grover is a proponent of STEAM education and educational technology that helps engage and develop the students of today into the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.