Experiential education: Understanding the impact of remotely operated vehicles on at-risk student learning

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Kelly, James E
Counseling; Social and Behavioral Sciences
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How do educators engage students in the curriculum? State and Common Core Standards determine what to teach; how those standards are taught varies. This research examined a group of at-risk elementary and secondary students using underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) as part of an experiential education program in a rural Michigan school district. With a foundation of grounded theory, qualitative methods are used in this case study of the experience of at-risk learners whose mission is to solve a problem. In particular, the story evolves from nine emergent themes identified in the experiences of students and adults: attendance, communication, confidence, engagement, fun, problem-solving, responsibility, teamwork, and time. Common across the nine themes is the conclusion that student motivation strongly impacts learning that is perceived to be hands-on and relevant.