|M.Sc Student||Taub Hanoch|
|Subject||Development and Evaluation of Method for Electronic|
Studies by Building Sensors and Manipulating
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Igor Verner|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Technology education in Israeli high schools underwent a reform in the beginning of the years 2000. A new learning subject, mechatronics, was developed. The purpose of this research was to develop a method for teaching electronics as an integrated subject within the mechatronics. An electronics course based on the proposed method was developed, implemented and evaluated.
The following research questions were addressed:
1. What are the characteristics of the learning environment and the learning activities that facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills in electronics required in high school robotics and mechatronics courses?
2. What effect does the practice of constructing sensors and applying them in the operation of robot behaviors have on understanding concepts in electronics?
3. What are the learners' attitudes towards the proposed teaching method as well as its learning outcomes, motivation and capability?
The research sample included several groups of learners: eleventh grade pupils studying mechatronics (N=13); 9th grade advanced science class (N=12); Technion teacher students (N=19); eleventh graders participated in the Technion International Summer Research Program SciTech (N=4); Junior college 14th grade students (N=2) in the framework of graduation projects.
The research was conducted as a multi-case study and participatory action research. Research tools included: attitude questionnaires, observations, video-recorded interviews, project reports and artifacts.
Concerning the first research question, from the data analysis we identified ten characteristics of the proposed mechatronics learning environment. We found that collective practice with electronic components, circuits, and robot systems as well as participation in debates regarding concepts in electronics mainly assisted to the learners to deepen their understanding of the concepts in electronics.
Concerning the second research question, analysis of the exams data indicated that the learners made progress in understanding concepts in electronics and the relationship between them. In the interviews the learners demonstrated the ability to use electronics concepts for describing the principles of sensor functioning during robot operation and the physical concepts that are behind the measured parameters of the electronic sensor circuit.
Concerning the third research question, the students and the pupils claimed that the studies of electronics in a mechatronics context were interesting, challenging and improved their learning capability and systems thinking. Students considered the experiments and projects performed in the course as an important component of mechatronics studies. Most of the prospective teachers were very positive about the instructional method and planned to use it in their teaching.