|M.Sc Student||Rothnitsky Irina|
|Subject||Directing Robotics Education in Primary School to the|
Development of Learning Skills - A Case study
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Igor Verner|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Elementary schools are seeking ways to develop scientific-technological literacy already in the primary school, with the emphasis on inquiry, modeling, and skills for everyday life. This study is the outgrowth of an aspiration to meet these needs using educational robotics, and it deals with key aspects, such as: developing an appropriate learning environment and teaching strategies; analyzing learning processes and outcomes. The research goal is to develop and assess an approach to direct robotic studies in primary school to develop the main learning skills for scientific technological literacy. The research questions:
1. Whether, and if so how, the proposed approach aims robotics education to development of major learning skills for scientific technological literacy? Here two sub-questions: (a) Whether, and if so how, the robotic learning environment can support the development of learning skills? (b) Whether, and if so how, to aim teaching strategies of robotics for development of learning skills?
2. What are the learning processes that develop when robotics lessons are held in small and mixed-age groups?
3. What are the students' opinions on robotics lessons in approach proposed?
The research was conducted as a case study in a primary school. 4-6 graders participated in the study, one class from each grade (N=59). During the robotics lessons, the pupils studied the physical and operating principles of motors and sensors, constructed and programmed robots, carried out experiments, and presented their results. Research data were gathered through observations, assessment of knowledge, work portfolios, and a research logbook. Interviews were held with the pupils and their parents to obtain feedback on the learning experience they had undergone.
We found that the Lego WeDo kit supported development of pupils' learning skills by experiential and challenging activities, easy exploring of robot components and rapid prototyping of different models. The Scratch software supported this development by providing Hebrew interface and icon-based programming. The teaching strategies focused on practices of inquiry, construction, problem solving, team collaboration. By analysis of pupils’ behaviors we characterized the features of the learning process and the outcomes. Interviews indicated that the pupils perceived the course as challenging and important, understood the principles of system operation, became interested in robotics and teamwork.