Inspiring Disengaged Adolescents to Engage with Technology Using Mit App Inventor

Siobhan Flynn, Shannon White, Oluwadara Asinobi, Michaela Black, Adrian Moore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative using MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) App Inventor to engage over 90 students from two post-primary schools in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. The students involved in the study are participants on the IM HAPPY (IMproving, Hopes, Aspirations, Potential and Prospects in the Youth) project. The IM HAPPY project is funded by the Department for Communities under its Neighbourhood Renewal scheme in Coleraine.

The paper will firstly address the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRA) associated with the IM HAPPY project. It will then describe the IM HAPPY project and the engagement framework. Results and feedback from the STEM engagement initiatives during 2016-17 academic year will be discussed. Finally the paper will evaluate the benefits of the approach taken and present the future plans for engaging a similar cohort of students.

The IM HAPPY project has been successful to date in engaging young and adult learners from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The team use technology to deliver computer programming courses to the youth; basic computer skills to adult learners and organise STEM events to encourage participants to engage with technology. The overall aim of the project is to encourage participants to engage with technology to enhance their technical skills, knowledge and competence. Developing appropriate technological and digital skills among young people is essential as these skills will enhance their career and employment opportunities [1]. The literature indicates that 21st Century skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, creativity, decision making, logic and programming are enhanced by learning to code [1] [2] [3]. Since 2013, over 700 students participated in workshops delivered by the IM HAPPY team, such as App Development, Web Development, Robotics and Raspberry Pi. Due to the large number of students enrolled on the IM HAPPY project, this paper will focus on a group of post-primary school students who share similar characteristics such as age, background and academic ability. The IM HAPPY team delivered App Development to this group of students and they participated in an App challenge at Ulster University.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings from International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Place of PublicationSeville, Spain
Pages6398-6406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • im happy, stem, mit app inventor, inspiring, engaging, disengaged learners, economically disadvantaged students

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