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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cleared for Takeoff? A Collective Case Study of the Academic Value of Drones in STEM Education through the Lens of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory
by Kuziola, Alexander George, Ed.D., New Jersey City University, 2019, 427; 28151110
Abstract (Summary)

Drones are a technology that is permeating society to an ever-increasing degree, from military exercises to pizza delivery. Education is now adopting drones into educational pedagogies, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, where the scientific, technical, and mathematical properties of flight can be particularly salient. However, the body of literature examining implementation practices in education is extraordinarily thin. This collective case study was conducted to identify the contexts in which drones were implemented in secondary STEM classrooms, the academic value that drones currently offer, as well as the associated challenges. The researcher identified and interviewed six educators and five administrators from a total of four separate, socioeconomically diverse districts across the United States. In addition, participants were asked to provide the researcher with documents and artifacts related to their drone implementations. Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) was used as an analytical lens through which the data were interpreted. CHAT provided the researcher with a mechanism to view the activity systems and their seven main component parts: subject, tool, object, community, division of labor, rules and norms, and outcome. CHAT is a well-regarded and thoroughly-researched framework and has been used extensively in educational technology research. Participants reported the value of drones in the realm of workforce development, as well as providing a mechanism for enhancing existing, related STEM curricula. Drones were also seen as one tool among many to achieve similar ends; in that way, drones offered niche capabilities that other, equally-valued technologies could not. Administrators also reported a focus on workforce development, as well as drone-infused projects facilitating the development of soft skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, oral and written communication, and teamwork. Finally, administrators valued drones and other technologies for their ability to enable students to engage in socioemotional learning. Prevalent systemic tensions included internal and external resistance to new forms of learning, including the infusion of technology into existing curricula. Future studies should engage the student perspective as well as evaluate specific classroom pedagogical practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shamburg, Christopher
Commitee: Carnahan, Christopher, Garcia, Venessa
School: New Jersey City University
Department: Educational Technology
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational technology, Science education, Secondary education
Keywords: CHAT, Cultural-historical activity theory, Drones, STEM, Teaching, Technology
Publication Number: 28151110
ISBN: 9798557073332
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