Food + Future: Polybot Research Proposal

company: IDEO Colab// time: 3 months // my role: design researcher // team size: 3

the challenge

The field of Computing Education Research states that programming improves one’s computational thinking, problem solving skills, and creativity which carry over to many other domains. Now more than ever, students from many diverse backgrounds are enrolling in computer science courses at the university level. However, the dropout rate is exceptionally high—mainly among those who are novices to programming.

How might we introduce programming to a diverse set of young people leveraging the customizable nature of the Polybot environment?

the outcome

The live environment of the Polybot will create an exciting and engaging opportunity for young people to explore the potential of designing their own “experiments” while simultaneously learning basic programming. This study hopes to determine what the nature of that programming may look like, what its functionalities may be, and finally, how it may tie into the larger purpose of the Polybot—to get kids excited about science.