Innovation to get the next generation into STEM

TI is doing this by investing in education initiatives and areas that help both teachers and students alike love, understand and apply STEM subjects toward real-world issues. Worldwide, TI encourages the use of TI’s technology that helps teachers teach and students learn. It is TI’s belief that fun, interactive learning tools and resources nurture natural curiosity in how and why things work, inspiring future engineers, and even tomorrow’s scientists, mathematicians, doctors and teachers.

One example of a system we’ve built to make learning STEM subjects a moving experience for middle and high school students is Rover - a robotics solution. Rover was built specifically for use in the classroom and lets students write programs on their TI graphing calculators, learning how to get Rover’s wheels turning and their minds learning in a fun, interactive and hands-on way. We think that’s the best way to drive interest and curiosity in STEM subjects.

Rover connects to the TI-Innovator Hub and either a TI-84 Plus CE-T or TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator, both of which are tools many students already have. It’s important to make learning accessible to all and, so, the solution has been built to demystify robotics and give students who might be intimidated by programming an easy on-ramp to learn to code. From the outset, they can get started by writing a basic program to make Rover do things like draw, dance or even crash.

STEM subjectsStudents can team up to use Rover and are encouraged to work collaboratively to explore different STEM concepts. They can program Rover to put math and science in motion, adding a physical dimension to verbal, symbolic and graphic representations. Given the sheer joy we have seen on students’ faces as they learned to code during our testing phase, we are excited to see how Rover will inspire more young minds through robotics.

While Rover helps students take their first steps on the path of coding, we want to keep that passion flowing throughout their education – and into university. Today’s engineering students not only need to graduate with an understanding of engineering concepts across multiple disciplines and products, but future engineers can’t push the boundaries of technology unless they first understand what the boundaries are. As students gain a stronger understanding of how electronics systems work, once in their career they will create the technologies of the future that will astound us all.

To equip these future engineers with this strong foundation in systems-level design, we’ve also created a learning kit to give university students a deeper understanding of how electronic system designs work. The TI Robotics System Learning Kit (TI-RSLK) is a robotics kit, giving students a deeper understanding of how electronic system designs work. The first in the series, the Maze Edition, has more than 60 electronic and mechanical components, including the industry-leading SimpleLink™ MSP432P401R microcontroller (MCU) LaunchPad™ Development Kit. TI’s SimpleLink MCU platform is the broadest portfolio of connected ARM® MCUs in a single software development environment, delivering flexible hardware, software and tool options for Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics applications.

Through the curriculum, students learn the function and purpose of each hardware and software component included within the TI-RSLK system. With this groundwork, students can write and develop their own code and then build their own fully-functioning robotics system. This learning journey culminates in a robot that can complete line-following challenges, compete against other TI-RSLK robotic systems and solve its way through a maze.

Whether taught as an introduction in the freshman year or as an advanced design lab later on, the TI-RSLK is an effective means for students to get a hands-on learning experience of engineering concepts that span electrical, mechanical and computer science systems. This not only encourages many students to pursue an electrical engineering degree in the first place, but to also persist in their field of study as it gets more challenging.

Designed to supplement university faculty curriculum, the TI-RSLK Maze Edition comes with 20 learning modules covering basic to advanced topics. Each module is complete with lecture videos and slides, lab documentation and demonstration videos, quizzes and classroom activities. The kit and curriculum is fully customizable, allowing faculty to choose how they integrate the TI-RSLK into their class. The TI-RSLK is targeted to teach embedded systems and applications, and can be expanded and used in a variety of engineering classes at any level along a college student’s learning journey.

These are just some examples of the technology we’re building to show the younger generations how STEM careers can not only be the most exciting, but the most rewarding. For us, that means putting technology directly in their hands. We’ve got a history of creating STEM-based classroom learning tools specifically built for students all the way through from middle school to university. Each are developed and designed specifically to meet their skills based on how technologically or scientifically advanced they are.     

For more information about STEM subjects or TI-RSLK robotic systems please click here