COSMOS educational toolkit: using experimental wireless networking to enhance middle/high school STEM education

P. Skrimponis, N. Makris, S. Rajguru, K. Cheng, J. Ostrometzky, E. Ford, Z. Kostic, G. Zussman, T. Korakis


This paper focuses on the educational activities of COSMOS – __C__loud enhanced __O__pen __S__oftware defined __MO__bile wireless testbed for city __S__cale deployment. The COSMOS wireless research testbed is being deployed in West Harlem (New York City) as part of the NSF Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program. COSMOS’ approach for K–12 education is twofold: (i) create an innovative and concrete set of methods/tools that allow teaching STEM subjects using live experiments related to wireless networks/IoT/cloud, and (ii) enhance the professional development (PD) of K–12 teachers and collaborate with them to create hands-on educational material for the students. The COSMOS team has already conducted successful pilot summer programs for middle and high school STEM teachers, where the team worked with the teachers and jointly developed innovative real-world experiments that were organized as automated and repeatable math, science, and computer science labs to be used in the classroom. The labs run on the COSMOS Educational Toolkit, a hardware and software system that offers a large variety of pre-orchestrated K–12 educational labs. The software executes and manages the experiments in the same operational philosophy as the COSMOS testbed. Specifically, since it is designed for use by non-technical middle and high school teachers/students, it adds easy-to-use enhancements to the experiments’ execution and the results visualization. The labs are also supported by Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-compliant teacher/student material. This paper describes the teachers’ PD program, the NGSS lessons created and the hardware and software system developed to support the initiative. Additionally, it provides an evaluation of the PD approach as well as the expected impact on K–12 STEM education. Current limitations and future work are also included as part of the discussion section.

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