Abstract The U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs occupations will grow by 8.9 % from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.4% for non-STEM occupations. STEM wages are generally higher than non-STEM, with a 29% difference in 2015.1 Yet, current approaches to STEM education are falling significantly short. In 2016, 64% of U.S. high school students underwent American College Testing (ACT). Of these, only 20% attained the benchmark or higher for STEM scores, with percentages considerably lower for those in underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups.2 Lack of racial/ethnic diversity persists into higher education. There is an acute need for educational opportunities that will not only enhance STEM literacy, but also increase the likelihood that students of diverse backgrounds will go on to pursue scientific careers. To date, there are no tools that allow student to tailor exploration to their own interests. For this SBIR proposal, Wicked Device will collaborate with Robin Taylor Wilson, the Principal Investigator of the Early Preparation and Inspiration for Careers in the Biomedical Sciences (EPIC) Program, to create a uniquely accessible and potentially transformative STEM education opportunity. Dr. Wilson's team has demonstrated that using epidemiologic principles for STEM education can increase interest and ability in related fields. Wicked Device's core innovation, a shared, cloud-based data collection and analysis platform for collaborative STEM and big data research and education, will be adapted to experiential learning opportunities in health sciences that use survey collected data (e.g. epidemiology). The resulting platform will create a fuller, real time, highly collaborative and highly engaging scientific experience that aligns with how scientific research is conducted in the real world. Wicked Device's technology will be the first educational platform to allow users to collaborate via a global multi-school network to develop innovative experiments and share findings, and will fulfill the need for educational platforms to expose students to big data collection and analytics. Most significantly, the platform allows students to conduct large scale experiments that stimulate their personal interests in health sciences. In Phase I, Wicked Device will develop the infrastructure and software applications to successfully create an innovative proof-of-concept educational, data collection and analysis platform for STEM education. Dr. Wilson's team will then evaluate the platform and associated curricula in secondary students for usability and feasibility. For Phase II, Wicked Device will build out the full system, including inter-school collaborative features such as videoconferencing to share and present data. Dr. Wilson's team will then conduct an expanded-scale, inter-school evaluation of the platform's ability to promote greater learning and more positive attitudes toward science in an education setting. At a high level, the proposed work aims to help effect the following societal improvements: increased data literacy; increased scientific collaboration in education, across geographic and interdisciplinary lines; and increased scientific literacy and interest across demographics.
|Effective start/end date||9/11/18 → 9/10/19|
- National Institutes of Health: $225,000.00