Underwater Explorers: Using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to Engage Youth with Underwater Environments

January 1st, 2009 | RESEARCH

In 2007, 270 youth (10-15 years of age) participated in our study designed to assess kids' perceptions about using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore underwater habitats and how the ROV could facilitate engagement with the environment. The three programs we conducted were vessel-based and integrated an ROV component into existing environmental education programs. Two were conducted in the Chesapeake Bay near Northeast, Maryland, and one was conducted offshore near Fort Pierce, Florida. Using a mixed-methods approach, respondents indicated significantly more positive perceptions than negative perceptions of the ROV. Content analysis of non-directed perceptions about the ROV, in terms of challenges and opportunities associated with using robotics technology in outdoor non-formal education settings, revealed a range of responses. Young people identified opportunities for increased education, excitement, and engagement, as well as challenges associated with protection of underwater habitats and limitations due to cost of the equipment.


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Team Members

Laurlyn Harmon, Author, George Mason University
Mark Gleason, Author, Discovery World Museum


Publication: Children, Youth and Environments
Volume: 19
Number: 1
Page(s): 125

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Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science | Technology
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Media and Technology | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Public Programs