2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Teaching Engineering Design Through a Wearable Device Design Competition (Evaluation)

Presented at Pre-College: Organizing Instruction Around a Theme

The One Health Wearable Device Design Competition was developed at the ASSIST Center. It is rooted in the research and innovation ecosystem of the Center and its vision: to have a transformational impact on the way doctors and patients manage wellness through wearable, self-powered health and environmental monitoring systems.

At its core, the program teaches middle and high school teachers and students how to apply the Engineering Design Process to solve real world problems through a project based approach. The prompt presented to participants is: Design a wearable device for a human, animal, or both, to address a “One Health” related issue. The One Health Initiative brings light to issues at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health. This prompt encourages creativity in the brainstorming process to address issues that may be relevant to the participants, their families, or their communities. Within this prompt, we consistently see an amazing range of creative and critical issues that participants choose to address, issues as diverse as the participants themselves: health and safety of farm workers and farm animals, first responder exposure, hydration and UV exposure for athletes, monitoring of specific health conditions like sleep apnea, asthma, seizures, and many more.

Through these projects participants learn a variety of essential technical and professional skills while being exposed to the research and educational opportunities of the university. Among these are: engineering design process, electronic circuits, computer programming, sensors, energy harvesting, prototyping, human factors in engineering design, communication, and teamwork.

The program focuses on teachers and students at both the middle and high school level. It starts with the training of teachers through a 5-week intensive research experience in which teachers complete the design challenge while simultaneously developing lesson plans they will use to teach the material in their classrooms. Teachers implement the program in their schools and have students complete the challenge. Finalist teams from each school present their design at an annual competition. Throughout the process, representatives from the Center make classroom visits or host tours in order to support the teachers’ implementation. To date over 40 teachers have completed the summer training.

The assessment and evaluation plan consists of: (i) direct assessment of skills, (ii) self-assessments through pre- and post- surveys, and (iii) evaluation of programmatic factors. Teams completing the Challenge (teacher or student) are evaluated via a judging rubric at the culmination or the project. This rubric aims to assess technical competencies via demonstration of working prototype, familiarity with the engineering design process, oral and written communication skills. Teachers are also surveyed during the summer program and at the completion of the annual competition in order to gauge factors such as self-efficacy in teaching certain concepts, as well as feedback about their experience in the program to guide continuous improvement of our methods.

Ongoing work aims to expand access to the competition state-wide through teacher workshops and online resources that give teachers access to the tools and training needed to implement the challenge in their own classroom.

Authors
  1. Dr. Elena Nicolescu Veety North Carolina State University [biography]
  2. Prof. Jesse S. Jur North Carolina State University [biography]
  3. Mr. James Edward Lamberth III William G. Enloe Magnet High School [biography]
Note

The full paper will be available to logged in and registered conference attendees once the conference starts on June 24, 2017, and to all visitors after the conference ends on June 28, 2018

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