Touch Table for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Client: National Science Foundation



Challenge:

For decades, America's students have not been keeping up with demand in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education when compared to their peers around the world. This downward trend affects America's future economy, security, and competitiveness. Advancing STEM education for all American students is necessary to nurture innovation, and to ensure long-term economic prosperity. In particular, to address the longstanding decline in enrollment of American students in STEM disciplines, there is a need to foster a culture of enthusiasm regarding STEM from the earliest ages.

 

Solution:

Templeman Automation (TA) and Tufts University propose the utilization of TA's current ePanel technology for STEM education. TA has dubbed the application-specific classroom technology “STEM-Table”. The ePanel hardware is a large-format (32”), collaborative, multi-touch interactive display table with object recognition and tracking capabilities. The ePanel exploits open-software and open-hardware architectures that are ideal for development of novel, engaging educational programs. Envisioned STEM-Table applications include collaborative learning of math and mechanics concepts and cross-curriculum science visualization and augmented reality. These applications intend to capitalize on the natural fascination students exhibit with touch devices like the iPad, and direct them through basic STEM educational goals and multi-touch-enabled curriculum modules. Further, with a large, multi-person form factor, the ePanel enables teamwork and detailed assessment opportunities impossible with small iPhone or even iPad interfaces. The ePanel is currently a mature technology available for home, industrial, and military use. Therefore the proposed innovation and R&D activities are focused on addressing education applications.