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Robotics in the early childhood classroom: Learning outcomes from an 8-week robotics curriculum in pre-kindergarten through second grade

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Abstract

In recent years there has been an increasing focus on the missing “T” of technology and “E” of engineering in early childhood STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curricula. Robotics offers a playful and tangible way for children to engage with both T and E concepts during their foundational early childhood years. This study looks at N = 60 children in pre-kindergarten through second grade who completed an 8-week robotics curriculum in their classrooms using the KIWI robotics kit combined with a tangible programming language. Children were assessed on their knowledge of foundational robotics and programming concepts upon completion of the curriculum. Results show that beginning in pre-kindergarten, children were able to master basic robotics and programming skills, while the older children were able to master increasingly complex concepts using the same robotics kit in the same amount of time. Implications for developmentally appropriate design of technology, as well as structure and pace of robotics curricula for young children are addressed.

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... Developmental approaches that allow children to manipulate codes and do not require a computer are gaining importance. Using the computer and unplugged and activity-based applications and robotic tools and equipment while gaining coding skills is one of these solutions (Metin, 2020;Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Bers et al., 2014;Sullivan et al., 2013;Wang et al., 2011;Futschek & Moschitz, 2010). While programming can be seen as an abstract activity in itself, physical objects such as robots make the activity more concrete while also encouraging collaboration around the programming task at hand Bers, 2018aBers, , 2018bCampbell & Walsh, 2017;Levy & Mioduser, 2008;Reese et al., 2019;Bell et al., 2012;Resnick & Siegel, 2015;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). ...
... Using the computer and unplugged and activity-based applications and robotic tools and equipment while gaining coding skills is one of these solutions (Metin, 2020;Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Bers et al., 2014;Sullivan et al., 2013;Wang et al., 2011;Futschek & Moschitz, 2010). While programming can be seen as an abstract activity in itself, physical objects such as robots make the activity more concrete while also encouraging collaboration around the programming task at hand Bers, 2018aBers, , 2018bCampbell & Walsh, 2017;Levy & Mioduser, 2008;Reese et al., 2019;Bell et al., 2012;Resnick & Siegel, 2015;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). There are two standard practices for improving coding skills: Computer does not require the use (as code. ...
... Children can learn best in meaningful ways and fun, based on practice and interaction (Fleer, 2013). Studies on this subject have revealed that coding education is more successful when it is carried out with concrete materials and experiences based on activities and active participation of children (Metin, 2020;Lee & Junoh, 2019;Wang et al., 2011;Campbell & Walsh, 2017;Levy & Mioduser, 2008;Bateman et al., 2017); Bell et al., 2012;Resnick & Siegel, 2015;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). Piaget (1964) emphasizes that it is difficult for children in the pre-operational period to understand and construct abstract concepts without concrete experience. ...
Article
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This research aims to develop a valid and reliable test to determine the coding skill levels of 5–7 years old children in early childhood. The study sample consists of children aged 5–7 who attend primary and pre-school education institutions affiliated to the Ministry of National Education in Ağrı and Gaziantep city center in the 2020–2021 academic year. Data were obtained from 308 children, 101 of whom were five years old, 100 were six years old, and 107 were seven. As a data collection tool in research, the “Personal Information Form” containing personal information about children and their parents and the “Early Childhood Coding Skills Assessment Test” developed by the researcher to evaluate the coding skill levels of 5–7-year-old children were used. In the validity analysis to determine the test’s validity and reliability, content-structure validity, criterion-based validity analysis, similar scale compatibility validity, tetrachoric factor analysis, and item difficulty analysis; In the reliability analysis, KR-20 reliability analysis was used. As a result of the findings obtained from the research, the “Early Childhood Coding Skills Assessment Test” is a valid and reliable measurement tool that can be used to determine the skill levels of 5–7-year-old children unplugged coding and robotic coding.
... The feedback explicitly reported in all the studies is the displacement of the robot. Only one study (Sullivan & Bers, 2016) reports sound reproduction (robot ''sings") as a part of a programming challenge. Three studies (Bers et al., 2014(Bers et al., , 2019Sullivan & Bers, 2016) stated that the children learned to turn the robot's light on during the activities. ...
... Only one study (Sullivan & Bers, 2016) reports sound reproduction (robot ''sings") as a part of a programming challenge. Three studies (Bers et al., 2014(Bers et al., , 2019Sullivan & Bers, 2016) stated that the children learned to turn the robot's light on during the activities. ...
... Eleven studies did not implement a control group. Of the latter, five studies (Bers et al., 2019;Cho & Lee, 2017;Pugnali et al., 2017;Saxena et al., 2020;Sullivan & Bers, 2016) implemented only a post-test evaluation, and six of them assessed their studies continuously or after each robotics session (Angeli & Valanides, 2020;Bers et al., 2014;Georgiou & Angeli, 2019;González & Muñoz Repiso, 2018;Khoo, 2020;. ...
Article
We conducted a systematic review of empirical studies aimed at exploring robot-mediated activities to promote the development of computational thinking in preschoolers. In this study, we investigated the robots used, proposed activities, and evaluation processes. We also analyzed research contexts and the stated motivations to conduct the studies. Our review identified characteristics of the robots, such as input and output interfaces, cost, and availability. We also categorized activities considering context, modality of work, type of activities, duration, adults’ role, scaffolding, unplugged activities, explicit debugging, communication and sharing instances, and teaching knowledge from other domains. We analyzed the computational thinking evaluation process looking at types of assessments, asset concepts, and research design. This paper presents a comprehensive overview of existing research, identifies existing gaps, and provides recommendations for future studies.
... The programming skills were monitored in the pre-kindergarten class for 8 weeks. From the results, it follows that the youngest children can program their robot correctly [39]. Sapounidis et al. from Aristotle University developed a TUI programming system for a robot by children. ...
... 21, x FOR PEER REVIEW 16 of 42weeks. From the results, it follows that the youngest children can program their robot correctly[39]. ...
... Kiwi robotics kit and CHERP programming blocks[39]. ...
Article
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A tangible user interface or TUI connects physical objects and digital interfaces. It is more interactive and interesting for users than a classic graphic user interface. This article presents a descriptive overview of TUI’s real-world applications sorted into ten main application areas—teaching of traditional subjects, medicine and psychology, programming, database development, music and arts, modeling of 3D objects, modeling in architecture, literature and storytelling, adjustable TUI solutions, and commercial TUI smart toys. The paper focuses on TUI’s technical solutions and a description of technical constructions that influences the applicability of TUIs in the real world. Based on the review, the technical concept was divided into two main approaches: the sensory technical concept and technology based on a computer vision algorithm. The sensory technical concept is processed to use wireless technology, sensors, and feedback possibilities in TUI applications. The image processing approach is processed to a marker and markerless approach for object recognition, the use of cameras, and the use of computer vision platforms for TUI applications.
... Tangible programming devices are popular for introducing younger students how to program because students can see the direct results of the commands they program (e.g., Horn & Jacob, 2007). Depending on the type of device, students might program a robot (or other object) to make noises, light up, turn, and move forward or backward (e.g., Sullivan & Bers, 2016); all of these actions are easy to hear or see. However, some elements of programming, such as conditionals, loops, and subroutines, are still abstract in tangible forms because some of the steps or logic are not heard or seen in the same way. ...
... However, some elements of programming, such as conditionals, loops, and subroutines, are still abstract in tangible forms because some of the steps or logic are not heard or seen in the same way. For example, Sullivan and Bers (2016) explored prekindergarten through second grade students' learning of programming involving KIBO robotic kits combined with a CHERP tangible programming language. At the end of the eight-week robotics curriculum, students struggled more with loop and conditional tasks than sequencing tasks. ...
... This is particularly interesting because both pairs had been exposed to examples on the pretest and midtest that required them to interpret the action of the subroutine block; however, they only tried to use the block when they had a worked example with one. Although prior research suggested that students would have difficulty learning abstract programming concepts (Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Zhi et al., 2018), our results suggest that students might be less likely to learn these more complex programming commands through play only; they can learn more abstract programming concepts with the support of varied worked examples (Lee et al., 2013). ...
Conference Paper
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We conducted an in-depth analysis to better understand the role of playing versus analyzing worked examples when learning programming commands. Our findings, focused on two pairs of third graders, demonstrated that students did not use complex programming commands when only playing; whereas, when supported through analysis of worked examples, they did use subroutines. Both pairs started to identify repeating patterns in their code once they had a worked example where a subroutine was used to repeat a set of commands. Yet, having time to play before analyzing worked examples in programming contexts may provide subtle benefits, especially for more abstract commands such as subroutines. Unlike prior studies, our findings suggest that looping concepts can be taught within the concept of subroutines, even with young students.
... Linking these positive results to the effectiveness of a specific unplugged application would be an incorrect interpretation. For example, Sullivan and Bers (2016) demonstrate the effectiveness of KIWI robotics applications in preschool programming, while García-Valcárcel-Muñoz-Repiso and Caballero-González (2019) show that TangibleK robotic activities improve the programming skills of children between the ages of 3-6 years old. Additionally, though it was designed for children over 4 years of age, Elkin et al. (2016) provide concrete evidence that KIBO robot and KIBO programming language can be used effectively from the age of 3 and above. ...
... However, although children from different ages were not different in this respect, researchers find that small children who have success in problem situations involving four instructions can have difficulties in problems involving five instructions. This finding is completely consistent with the findings of Sullivan and Bers (2016) who show that robotic knowledge and programming skills increase with age. In their research with 60 children from pre-kindergartners to second graders, there is no significant difference between kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders, yet there is a significant difference in Solve-it tasks between pre-kindergarteners and second graders. ...
Article
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This research was aimed at summarizing experimental evidence regarding computational thinking and programming conducted in early childhood education in terms of the variables of plugged-in versus unplugged, age, and gender. For this purpose, the WoS, Scopus, and Eric databases were scanned, and studies determined to be within the scope of the systematic scanning criteria were selected for review. In the current study findings, it was shown that age was an important factor in learning computational thinking in early childhood. In addition, it was found that girls and boys performed similarly in programming and computational thinking. Finally, although there was concrete evidence that both plugged-in and unplugged applications improved children's computational thinking skills, it appeared that unplugged applications were one step ahead, considering the power of having concrete experiences.
... Studies support that robotics can significantly impact education and positively impact students' academic performance [88][89][90]. Sullivan and Bers [91] found that pre-kindergarten children can learn to use ERs and mastering robot programming skills. Papadakis [64] investigated visual block-based programming environments and found that they are suitable for young children, help novice students generate their programs more accessibly, and teach programming using Scratch and App Inventor improved their performance on programming. ...
... Papadakis [64] investigated visual block-based programming environments and found that they are suitable for young children, help novice students generate their programs more accessibly, and teach programming using Scratch and App Inventor improved their performance on programming. Bers and Sullivan [91] discovered the efficiency of ER used for PK-2 students; their results showed that all students could master basic robotics and programming skills, while older students could master increasingly complex concepts using the same ER within the same amount of time. ...
Article
New educational technologies in terms of robots and hypermedia have growing considerations in education. They have been characterized as promising instructional technologies to enhance learning and rapid 21st-century skill acquisition, which has increased the theoretical literature in educational robots (ER) and hypermedia and their practical implementation in the context of education. Despite the educational interest in these technologies, there are limited studies that have examined their effect on primary students’ acquisition of scientific concepts. This study's novelty is based on integrating ER with hypermedia to improve the acquisition of scientific concepts. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of integrating ER with hypermedia in the acquisition of scientific concepts among fifth-grade students (N = 50) utilizing a quasi-experimental design with a control group (CG) and an experimental group (EG). The EG was taught using ERs and hypermedia, while the CG was taught using traditional instruction. Data were collected through administration of the presently developed scientific concept test as pretest and posttest. The findings revealed a significant development in the acquisition of scientific concepts among these fifth-grade students. These findings support that integrating ERs with hypermedia positively impacts students' acquisition of scientific concepts. Education ministries in general and science teachers, in particular, can use these results to improve opportunities for students to acquire scientific concepts.
... The researcher who prompted robotics to be incorporated into education as an educational tool was (Jonassen, 2000), who argued that technology could be thought of as a computerbased tool that supports critical thinking and helps students learn efficiently. According to the international bibliography, researchers have found out that "instructional robotics" allows learners to be led into a learning situation by controlling the behavior of a model robot as it engages them in "experimentation, research, and problem-solving" (Alimisis, 2013;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). Pugnali, Sullivan, and Bers's (2017) research showed that students using robotics learn programming and encounter new concepts related to objects in their daily lives and with which they are in constant interaction. ...
... (see Figure 2) The engineering design process refers to the iterative process engineers use to design an artifact to meet a need (Bers, 2008). Students engage in examining engineering concepts in kindergarten through building and designing with craft materials, recycled materials, and LEGO bricks (Sullivan & Bers, 2016). ...
Article
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The interest in the future configuration, focusing on the innovative technologies and more specifically on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), is remarkably increased. The value of STEAM education is undeniable as a means of developing basic skills and competencies of young students improving the learning process, developing communication skills, and solving real-life difficulties. The current research study was completed in the context of an actual learning process, with the view to study educational robotics in kindergarten students to engage them with STEAM education, using the programmable robot Bee-Bot® initially. The didactic intervention was held, which was developed in two phases. More specifically, a sample of 12 children (age range: 5–6 years old) took part in an intensive educational robotics lab for 16 sessions (4 weeks) by using a bee-shaped robot called Bee-Bot®. The results of our current research study revealed that STEAM education could also take place in a speech therapy clinic using the appropriate educational robots. Our young students developed and mastered knowledge in programming and computerizing, and algorithmic thinking with playful mod using educational robots, and they also built their vocabulary and develop communication skills.
... En particular, Gaudiello y Zibetti (2016) intentan analizar las repercusiones del uso de la robótica computacional en la educación matemática. Así mismo, a pesar de que no hay muchos trabajos de investigación para el caso de educación primaria, algunos trabajos ya plantean la posibilidad de la inserción curricular del uso del robot educativo como medio para trabajar las competencias necesarias en contextos STEM (Bellas et al., 2019;Scaradozzi et al., 2015;Sullivan y Bers, 2016). ...
... Como hemos visto a lo largo de este trabajo, el trabajo con robots educativos es posible en edades tempranas y, en consecuencia, el pensamiento computacional se puede iniciar en educación infantil. Es más, como se señala en investigaciones previas, consideramos que el uso de estos robots fomenta el interés por los niños y las niñas en la resolución de los problemas planteados (Alsina y Acosta Inchaustegui, 2018;Diago Nebot et al., 2018;García Valiente y Navarro Montaño, 2017;Pinto Salamanca et al., 2010;Sullivan y Bers, 2016) y abre las puertas a establecer conexiones con otras áreas de conocimiento, fundamentales para el aprendizaje significativo de la matemática en esta etapa educativa (Novo et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Objetivo. En este trabajo se analiza el tipo de dificultades y argumentación que muestran las niñas y niños de tres años, frente a tareas relacionadas con la programación y la robótica educativa en el aula. Metodología. Se ha elaborado un diseño teórico y se ha implementado una secuencia de actividades en un aula de niños y niñas de 3 años de edad y se ha realizado un estudio de casos con 8 de los participantes. Análisis de resultados. Entre los resultados más destacados se han identificado dificultades de tres tipos, las derivadas de las características del robot, las asociadas a la dimensión comprensión acción-instrucción del pensamiento computacional y las asociadas a la etapa cognitiva de los niños y niñas. Conclusiones. El análisis de los argumentos expresados en el desarrollo de la tarea permite concluir que el uso de robótica educativa en edades tempranas favorece el desarrollo de la alfabetización computacional, lo que hace recomendable su inclusión entre las actividades de aula.
... Children's design activities were approached from Vygotsky's (1978) sociocultural framework. Working together in a collaborative learning setting is a recent theme in educational research, in curriculums and in practical work with young children (Kangas, Seitamaa-Hakkarainen & Hakkarainen, 2013;Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Sundqvist & Nilsson, 2018;Turja, Endepohls-Ulpe & Chatoney, 2009). ...
... The purpose of technology education in preschool is to help children understand everyday technology and how it can be used to solve daily life problems (Sundqvist & Nilsson, 2018). Robotics and programming are educational tools for cognitive-and fine motor skills, as well as for peer interaction and collaboration (Sullivan & Bers, 2016). They present new ways to implement craft, design and technology education and they are tools for integration with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to explore six-year-old Finnish preschoolers' collaboration during a designing session, where they received a task to collaboratively design and sketch forest animals' nests. Peer interaction is a natural part of craft, design and technology education because the learning situation itself provides various possibilities for collaboration. Craft making is traditionally seen as an individual execution, where makers are producing their own craft products instead of collaboration and shared outcomes. During this intervention, an experience of a shared designing and making situation was provided for children. The article focuses particularly on children's verbal and embodied interactions, as well as children's social roles in their groups, depending on their ability to use language during the designing process. Children's activities were examined within Vygotsky's sociocultural framework for learning and classified using a micro-level analysis methodology for tracking children's collaboration and meaning making in designing. The results showed that six-year-old pre-schoolers succeeded in working collaboratively and they managed to solve the designing task with their peers, but embodied expressions also played a notable role in designing. Four types of roles, which children had in their peer groups, were found.
... Since then, ER have been present at all educational levels, from kindergarten to university (e.g. Kim, et al., 2015;Lindh & Holgersson, 2007;Merino-Armero, González-Calero, Cózar-Gutiérrez, & Villena-Taranilla, 2018;Sisman, Kucuk, & Yaman, 2020;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). ...
... Different authors include different cognitive processes and skills related to coding when describing what makes up computational thinking (CT). Initiatives integrating CT-based activities through ER are growing in popularity amongst early education researchers and educators (Benitti, 2012;Sullivan & Bers, 2016). Furthermore, the research literature is pointing towards ER as a potential tool to foster CT skills in young children (Bers, Flannery, Kazakoff, & Sullivan, 2014;Chen, et al., 2017;Merino-Armero et al., 2018). ...
Article
Interest in educational robotics has increased over the last decade. Through various approaches, robots are being used in the teaching and learning of different subjects at distinct education levels. The present study investigates the effects of an educational robotic intervention on the mental rotation and computational thinking assessment in a 3rd grade classroom. To this end, we carried out a quasi-experimental study involving 24 third-grade students. From an embodied approach, we have designed a two-hour intervention providing students with a physical environment to perform tangible programming on Bee-bot. The results revealed that this educational robotic proposal aimed at map-reading tasks leads to statistically significant gains in computational thinking. Moreover, students who followed the Bee-bot-based intervention achieved greater CT level compared to students following a traditional instruction approach, after controlling student’s prior level. No conclusive results were found in relation to mental rotation. Free pdf link to Elsevier (only for a limited time): https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1dilb7t9Un%7E8EM
... Es importante establecer que un juguete no siempre es STEM, la relación directa de las cuatro disciplinas que interactúan entre sí hace posible el desarrollo de competencias en estas áreas del conocimiento. Diversos accesorios electrónicos o vinculados con los dispositivos móviles establecen una relación, pero no necesariamente su carácter lúdico las clasifica en el campo de los juguetes STEM (Sullivan y Bers, 2016;Zeidler, 2014). ...
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El presente artículo busca poner en valor los aportes de las Ciencias Humanas a la construcción interdisciplinar de conocimientos relacionados con problemáticas que exigen la aplicación urgente de nuevas estrategias de comprensión y acción como las siguientes: comportamientos sociales disfuncionales en las redes sociales, adicciones, trastornos de la alimentación, manipulación de la información en las redes y crisis de angustia existencial. Se argumenta que la inclusión o potenciación de la injerencia de las Humanidades en los estudios interdisciplinares orientados a prevenir la aparición o el agravamiento de dichas problemáticas y otras afines tiene como consecuencia mejores resultados. En primer lugar, se discute el significado de la interdisciplina y el papel de las Humanidades en ella. Luego, se presenta como ejemplo de inclusión de las Humanidades en los proyectos de intervención socio-cultural interdisciplinares un proyecto que se llevó a cabo en General Alvear (Mendoza, Argentina), cuya implementación se basó principalmente en una serie de talleres de reflexión en torno a diversos objetos culturales (publicidades, propagandas, humor gráfico, videos, etc.) dictados por investigadores de las diversas áreas del conocimiento. El trabajo se cierra con una conclusión.
... Es importante establecer que un juguete no siempre es STEM, la relación directa de las cuatro disciplinas que interactúan entre sí hace posible el desarrollo de competencias en estas áreas del conocimiento. Diversos accesorios electrónicos o vinculados con los dispositivos móviles establecen una relación, pero no necesariamente su carácter lúdico las clasifica en el campo de los juguetes STEM (Sullivan y Bers, 2016;Zeidler, 2014). ...
Article
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En este trabajo se describen los principales resultados de analizar los juguetes con potencialidad de desarrollar habilidades STEM, presente en revistas publicadas previamente a la celebración de las fiestas navideñas en el 2019. Para ello, se realizó un análisis exhaustivo de seis revistas publicitarias de grandes tiendas españolas, identificando un total de 4209 juguetes, de los cuales sólo 160 cumplen con alguno de los criterios para ser considerado un juguete que promueve la Educación STEM. El estudio ha seguido una metodología cualitativa, de nivel descriptivo, por medio de un análisis de contenido, para identificar los Juguetes STEM, su área predominante, las características de los juguetes, su influencia en el género, y el fomento educación STEM. Dentro de los principales hallazgos se destaca la promoción deficiente de juguetes que fomenten la educación STEM, diversos elementos que promueven estereotipos de género entre el público receptor del mensaje, marcando diferencias entre niños/as. Finalmente encontramos las disciplinas de ingeniería y ciencias como las más trabajadas en el logro de los objetivos formulados por los juguetes seleccionados.
... Por meio de trabalhos práticos, aulas expositivas dialogadas, brincadeiras e narrativas, as atividades propostas visam, em associação com o ambiente de programação em blocos e com os materiais de robótica, trabalhar as estruturas básicas de programação apresentadas na seção 3.1, quais sejam: sequenciamento de comandos, repetições contadas, repetições condicionais e estruturas de decisão. O desenho das atividades foi inspirado nos trabalhos de (Bers, Flannery, Kazakoff & Crouser, 2010) e (Sullivan & Bers, 2016) do Grupo de Pesquisa DevTec 23 da Tufs University 24 . ...
Article
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Resumo Este artigo apresenta um estudo de caso sobre o desenvolvimento do Pensamento Computacional em crianças do Ensino Fundamental I, através do aprendizado de programação por meio da Robótica Educacional, fazendo-se uso exclusivamente de tecnologia livre e materiais recicláveis e de baixo custo. Busca-se também levantar hipóteses acerca da existência de uma relação direta entre certas características cognitivas de crianças com idade entre 8 e 10 anos (tais como a habilidade de sequenciar eventos ou ideias, a habilidade de realizar operações mentais a partir de experiências concretas, dentre outras) e a habilidade para realizar determinadas atividades relacionadas ao aprendizado de programação de computadores. Os resultados observados indicam (a partir do uso de um kit didático desenvolvido para a realização deste estudo) a possibilidade de desenvolvimento das seguintes habilidades do Pensamento Computacional: capacidade de abstração, compreensão de fluxos de controle, depuração e detecção sistemática de erros, pensamento iterativo, uso da lógica condicional e decomposição de problemas. No tocante às investigações relacionadas à maturidade cognitiva, foram encontrados indícios da existência de uma relação direta entre as características cognitivas analisadas e a realização de determinadas tarefas ligadas à programação de computadores, como o desenvolvimento de programas puramente sequenciais e a compreensão da ideia de processamento. Abstract This paper presents a case study about the development of Computational Thinking in primary school children (3st to 4th grade) via the teaching of programming abilities with the use of educational robotics, free technology and recyclable, low cost materials. We aimed at raising some hypotheses on whether there is a straight relationship between some cognitive aspects of children aged 8-10 (such as the ability to put events and ideas in sequence, the ability to execute mental operations on the basis of concrete experience, among others) and the ability to execute activities that may be linked to the learning of computer programming. The observed results indicated (from the use of a didactic kit developed for the accomplishment of this study) the possibility to develop the following computational thinking skills: abstract thinking ability, understanding of flows of control, Debugging and systematic error detection, iterative thinking, use of conditional logic and problem decomposition. Regarding the investigations related to cognitive maturity, we found evidence of a correlation between the cognitive characteristics analyzed and the performance of certain tasks related to computer programming, such as the development of purely sequential programs and understanding of processing idea.
... The initial education stage provides teachers with the opportunity to lay the foundations for quality comprehensive training through innovative tools and technologies [3,4]. In this sense, educational robotics in early childhood education becomes a tool that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge to children in a playful way, based on the principles of interactivity, social interrelationships, collaborative work, creativity, constructivist and constructivist learning, and student-centered learning [5,6,7], which in turn allows them to acquire digital skills and the development of logical and computational thinking [8,9,10,11] in an underlying manner. ...
... Despite these concerns, STEM should be integrated into preschool education programs because it yields positive learning outcomes (Clements & Sarama, 2016;Early Childhood STEM Working Group, 2017;McClure et al., 2017;Moomaw & Davis, 2010;Soylu, 2016;Torres-Crespo et al., 2014). For example, it teaches children basic STEM concepts (Sullivan & Bers, 2016), helps them develop numerous skills, and promotes future academic performance (Milford & Tippet, 2015;Van Keulen, 2018). Teachers play a key role in preschool science and STEM education (Karademir et al., 2020;Simoncini & Lasen, 2018) because only those with a sound grasp of STEM education can successfully integrate and implement it into their lessons (Pang & Good, 2000). ...
Article
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This study aimed to determine the views of thirty preservice preschool teachers recruited using convenience sampling on STEM education and engineering. Phenomenology was the design of choice. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview form and analyzed using inductive content analysis. Participants offered different definitions of STEM education and thought that it could have contributions in numerous aspects. They also remarked that preschool STEM education on civil and computer engineering skills made teachers better equipped. They mentioned designs and projects for preschool STEM education as well. However, they had the stereotypical image of engineering as a dirty job for men working in construction sites and carrying sand. Results suggest that preschool undergraduate education should integrate STEM activities and offer workshops and trainings to change preservice preschool teachers’ misconceptions about engineering.
... Entre las ventajas que origina la introducción de la programación en edades escolares cabe destacar el desarrollo de habilidades de resolución de problemas y de razonamiento matemático. Es por ello que la creación de ambientes tecnológicos de programación se está consolidando en el horizonte educativo (Benton et al., 2017;Clements y Samara, 2002;Hoyles y Lagrange, 2010;Leidl et al., 2017;Pérez y Diago, 2018;Shute et al., 2017;Sullivan y Bers, 2016). ...
Article
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Por medio del empleo de un robot de suelo de direccionalidad programada, se ha trabajado una trayectoria de resolución de problemas para el desarrollo del pensamiento computacional. Se ha realizado un análisis de los procesos de pensamiento involucrados en la resolución de problemas cuya solución se puede representar mediante un conjunto ordenado de pasos. La puesta en marcha de este proyecto de programación y codificación en las aulas de 1o, 2o y 3o de Educación Infantil, favorece el desarrollo del razonamiento matemático y de destrezas en la resolución de problemas en los escolares, al tiempo que permite desarrollar las habilidades de pensamiento computacional de los mismos. Los problemas propuestos han planteado retos desafiantes para todos los escolares en general y, para el alumnado de alta capacidad matemática en particular, proporcionando oportunidades únicas de razonamiento y de resolución de problemas. Los resultados obtenidos nos ofrecen información relevante relativa a la evolución de las habilidades del pensamiento computacional a lo largo de la etapa de Educación Infantil.
... Üçüncü aşamada ise Yapay Sinir Ağlarının uygulanmaya başlanmıştır (10)(11)(12)(13). Son aşamada elde edilen tüm bu deneyimin robotlara aktarımı gerçekleştirilmeye çalışılmaktadır (14). ...
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Akciğer gelişimi yapısal ve fonksiyonel olmak üzere iki ana bölümde ince-lenebilir. Yapısal büyüme daha çok fiziksel faktörler aracılığı ile olurken fonk-siyonel büyüme ağırlıklı olarak hormonlar tarafından kontrol edilen biyokim-yasal bir süreçtir (1). Yapısal büyüme tüm gebelik boyunca devam etmektedir. Havayollarının dallanması sürekli devam etmekte ve gebeliğin son trimeste-rinde hava değişiminin gerçekleştiği alveollerin oluşumu meydana gelmekte-dir. Ancak, akciğer gelişimi doğumu takiben de alveollerin sayısının artması şeklinde devam etmektedir. Gelişim sürecinin sonunda yüzey alanı 50-100m2 genişliğinde olan ve oksijen ile karbondioksit değişimim gerçekleştirildiği yapı meydana gelmektedir. Akciğerin yapısal ve fonksiyonel gelişimi akciğerin fiziksel ve biyokimyasal gelişimini başarılı bir şekilde tamamlaması ile mümkün olmaktadır (2). Fizik-sel gelişim süreci sonunda akciğer yapısal olarak bütünlüğünü sağlarken sur-faktan oluşumunun biyokimyasal süreçler sonrasında gerçekleşmesi ile geniş yüzey alanına sahip bu yapı stabil bir hale gelmektedir. Bu iki süreç birbirleri ile koordineli bir şekilde tamamlanmaktadır. Bu iki süreçten herhangi birinde
... El trabajo realizado arroja luz sobre el desarrollo del pensamiento computacional en el alumnado de Educación Infantil-3años a partir de una propuesta de intervención que permite a los escolares expresarse por medio de un lenguaje de programación (Sullivan y Bers, 2016). Las actividades presentadas son lúdicas, se han llevado a la práctica en un ambiente natural (Resnick et al., 1998) y resultan apropiadas para los escolares de Educación Infantil. ...
Article
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Se presenta una secuencia de problemas de dificultad creciente para desarrollar el pensamiento computacional en el primer nivel del segundo ciclo de Educación Infantil -3 años- mediante un robot de suelo de direccionalidad programada. En el seno de la metodología observacional se ha conseguido caracterizar la capacidad de pensamiento computacional de los escolares de Educación Infantil-3años, en los diferentes problemas que conforman la propuesta de intervención diseñada. La fiabilidad de los datos, en forma de concordancia inter-observadores, ha sido garantizada mediante el coeficiente Kappa. Un análisis de generalizabilidad avala el muestreo observacional realizado. El desarrollo de las capacidades de organización espacial y autoevaluación del alumno, así como la intervención de la maestra, se han relevado como aspectos claves en la resolución de problemas matemáticos por medio del pensamiento computacional en Educación Infantil-3años. A sequence of problems of increasing difficulty is presented to develop computational thinking in the first level of the second cycle of Early Childhood Education -3 years- by means of a programmed directionality ground robot. With the use the observational methodology, it has been possible to characterize the computational thinking capacity of Early Childhood Education -3 years old- schoolchildren, in the different problems that make up the intervention proposal designed. The reliability of the data has been guaranteed, in the form of inter-observer agreement, by means of the Cohen's Kappa coefficient. A generalizability analysis supports the observational sampling carried out. The development of the capacities of spatial organization and self-evaluation of the student, as well as the intervention of the teacher, have been revealed as key aspects in the resolution of mathematical problems through computational thinking in Early Childhood Education -3 years old-.
... Today, young children come into the classroom already able to access information about the world around them with a swipe of a finger, further exacerbating the pedagogical problem of knowing what children need to know. More recently, studies are beginning to show, for example, how children's interactions with technologies support their learning in reading (Kucirkova, & Falloon, G. (Eds.)., 2016), mathematics and engineering concepts (Sullivan & Bers, 2016), and science circuitry concepts (Peppler et al., 2019). However, with technology becoming the mediator of children's everyday contexts, there have been very few studies which consider the multimodal nature of technologies which act as semiotic tools and how multimodal play and creative inquiry might enable children to make sense of everyday scientific phenomena. ...
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This paper discusses how multimodal creative inquiry might be conceptualised and implemented for children's meaning-making in science. We consider Halliday's (1978) and Vygotsky's (1987, 2016) theoretical ideas for showing how the most important characteristics of social semiotics are connected to imagination, play-based and creative inquiry for children's science meaning-making. Qualitative data was analysed from two preschool classroom video observations of 40 children's playful interactions with technologies, such as robotic toys, semiotic artefacts, two teachers' reflective journal documentation and children's artefacts. Findings show children participate and discuss elements of scientific concepts in inquiry-based dialogues and make sense of science concepts whilst becoming creators of multimodal representations arising from their interests and curiosity. The semi-otic resources that operate through technologies such as apps provide a medium for creative inquiry affording communication spaces and multimodal (visual, haptic [digital touch], text) meaning-making around everyday science phenomena. Practical implications lie in upskilling educators' integration of semiotic resources such as robotic toys and deploying a multimodal creative inquiry approach for reconfiguring children's science learning opportunities in early childhood educational practices.
... Despite the lack of a consensus on how to include computational thinking in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) school curriculum, the use of educational robots has more presence over time in schools, which allow block programming as a means of promoting the development of skills related to problem solving (Benton et al. 2017;Diago, Arnau, and González-Calero 2018;Sullivan and Bers 2016;Sullivan, Bers, and Mihm 2017). ...
Article
This article presents an intervention proposal that seeks to develop computational thinking in Early Childhood Education, using an educational ground robot with programmed directionality controls. Within the observational methodology, it has been possible to characterize computational thinking in children of Early Childhood Education-5 years old, during the resolution of each of the problems of increasing difficulty that constitute the intervention proposal. The data was recorded and coded using the LINCE software. The reliability of the data, calculated in the form of inter-observer agreement using Cohen's Kappa coefficient, has been guaranteed. The analysis of generalizability carried out allows to guarantee the homogeneity in the behavior of the participants. Two techniques of diachronic analysis of observational data have been applied in a complementary way: the lag sequential analysis, with the free software GSEQ, and the analysis of polar coordinates, with the free software HOISAN. Skills associated with computational thinking such as the logical organization of the steps to follow, the physical-concrete abstraction and generalization of the trajectories, and the self-evaluation of the proposals, have been conditioned by the development of the capacity for spatial organization of the 5 years old child and by the intervention of the teacher. 50 free online copies of the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/9AQRIYDFCDCADGWFPD3Y/full?target=10.1080/1350293X.2022.2055102
... The Next Generation Science Standards include mathematics and computational thinking in the list of the proposed practices for K-12 science classrooms (National Research Council, 2012), although its kick-off incorporation in educational process is suggested in grades 3-5. Nevertheless, recent literature proposes its introduction even at the first stages of schooling (Angeli et al., 2016;Kanaki & Kalogiannakis, 2018;Kazakoff, Sullivan, & Bers, 2013;Papadakis, Kalogiannakis, & Zaranis, 2016;Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Sung, Ahn, & Black, 2017). ...
Chapter
In the contemporary digital era, introducing computational thinking concepts is considered an imperative need at all stages of schooling, since they are inextricably linked to skills applicable and beneficial in everyday life. This chapter presents a novel educational framework that aims to foster the growth of computational thinking at early childhood stages, within the context of physical and natural science courses, pursuing the unplugged philosophy and following the principles of game-based, project-based and collaborative learning. This chapter also presents a relevant pilot study, conducted with second grade students of a Greek primary school, with the objective of assessing the feasibility of the proposed educational framework, as well as examining its effectiveness. The results stemming from the pilot are promising and reveal that the proposed approach serves our goal to enhance computational thinking at the first stages of schooling through engaging and fun educational activities that appeal to young students.
... Although students are growing up in an increasingly digital environment, existing school curricula do not always focus on exploring the digital world until later elementary years. Only a few countries and regions have established clear policies and frameworks for introducing technology to early education [12][13][14][15]. Maker education is comprehensive quality education based on the integration of information technology and education, which aims to provide students with a suitable environment, resources, and opportunities for creation. ...
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With the rapid development of education and information technology, there has been an increasing focus on maker education, which emphasizes cultivating students’ creative thinking and problem-solving ability. This paper presents our efforts to create a 3D cartoon toy design curriculum system that offers a playful and collaborative way to engage students with creation-based learning. It consists of a 3D modeling software and a series of 3D cartoon toy design courses. The former was developed according to students’ cognitive characteristics and hands-on operation habits, and the toy design courses include activities such as hand-painting, computer modeling, pattern design, handcraft, and creative display. This 3D cartoon toy design course was preliminarily implemented in one kindergarten and two primary schools in Hangzhou, an eastern city in mainland China. A learning assessment of participating students was conducted upon completion of the course. Results show that (1) the initial attitudes of junior students towards learning 3D cartoon toy design were mainly influenced by their interests, whereas senior students paid more attention to turning their ideas into reality with the help of technical tools. (2) All students were highly successful at mastering foundational modeling concepts, but the junior students were less successful at mastering abstract modeling concepts. (3) The course was most successful in developing students’ collaborative ability and content creation. (4) Additionally, teachers were successful at promoting a collaborative and communicative environment. Findings are discussed.
... Furthermore, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) have included CT, along with mathematics, in the list of the recommended science course practices in K-12. Contemporary literature suggests introducing CT even in the earliest stages of education, starting from kindergarten (Angeli et al., 2016;Kalogiannakis & Kanaki, 2020;Kanaki & Kalogiannakis, 2018;Kazakoff et al., 2013;Papadakis et al., 2016;Sullivan & Bers, 2016;Sung et al., 2017). The international literature points out that basic aspects or dimensions of CT are collection, organisation and analysis of data, AT and abstraction Barr & Stephenson, 2011). ...
Chapter
This chapter presents part of a wider project aimed at developing computational thinking assessment instruments for first and second grade primary school students. The applicability of the specific proposed tool, which concerns merely the algorithmic thinking (AT), was tested within the Environmental Study course (ESc). The main pillar of the work is the computational environment PhysGramming. The assessment of AT was based on mental tasks involving puzzles which require AT abilities. The AT test comprised of four puzzles with 4, 6, 9, and 12 pieces respectively, and the puzzle-solving performance was measured at the nominal level (success/failure). Latent class analysis (LCA), a robust multivariate method for categorical data, was implemented, which distinguished two clusters/latent classes corresponding to two distinct levels of AT. Moreover, LCA with covariates, such as gender, grade, achievement in ESc, and the use of plan revealed the association of the above variables with the AT skill-levels. Finally, the results and their implications for theory and practice are discussed.
... Modern educational technologies, as never before, are based on the intellectual development of children, and learning through play is fully in line with this concept (Luo et al., 2021). Modern requirements for preschool education guide teachers toward the development of education and dictate the need to use new technologies that synthesize elements of cognitive interaction, play, search, and educational development of preschoolers, mastering them in constructive ways and means of interaction with the people around them in accordance with the tasks set by the modern educational standards (Wang et al., 2010;Salomon, 2012;Baccaglini-Frank and Maracci, 2015;Sullivan and Bers, 2016;Rau, 2017Rau, , 2020Behnamnia et al., 2020). ...
Article
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With the continual development of artificial intelligence and smart computing in recent years, quantitative approaches have become increasingly popular as an efficient modeling tool as they do not necessitate complicated mathematical models. Many nations have taken steps, such as transitioning to online schooling, to decrease the harm caused by coronaviruses. Inspired by the demand for technology in early education, the present research uses a radial basis function (RBF) neural network (NN) modeling technique to predict preschool instructors’ technology usage in classes based on recognized determinant characteristics of technology acceptance. In this regard, this study utilized the RBFNN approach to predict preschool teachers’ technology acceptance behavior, based on the theory of planned behavior, which states that behavioral achievement, in our case the actual technology use in class, depends on motivation, intention and ability, and behavioral control. Thus, this research design is based on an adapted version of the technology acceptance model (TAM) with eight dimensions: D1. Perceived usefulness, D2. Perceived ease of use, D3. Perceived enjoyment, D4. Intention to use, D5. Actual use, D6. Compatibility, D7. Attitude, and D8. Self-efficacy. According to the TAM, actual usage is significantly predicted by the other seven dimensions used in this research. Instead of using the classical multiple linear regression statistical processing of data, we opted for a NN based on the RBF approach to predict the actual usage behavior. This study included 182 preschool teachers who were randomly chosen from a project-based national preschool teacher training program and who responded to our online questionnaire. After designing the RBF function with the actual usage as an output variable and the other seven dimensions as input variables, in the model summary, we obtained in the training sample a sum of squares error of 37.5 and a percent of incorrect predictions of 43.3%. In the testing sample, we obtained a sum of squares error of 14.88 and a percent of incorrect predictions of 37%. Thus, we can conclude that 63% of the classified data are correctly assigned to the models’ dependent variable, i.e., actual technology use, which is a significant rate of correct predictions in the testing sample. This high significant percentage of correct classification represents an important result, mainly because this is the first study to apply RBFNN’s prediction on psychological data, opening up a new interdisciplinary field of research.
... In fact, recent studies prove the positive effects of using coding in early childhood on children's attitudes, knowledge, and skills in various areas such as problem-solving and computational thinking (e.g. see Bers et al., 2014;Sullivan and Bers, 2016;Lee, 2019). ...
Chapter
Educational robotics have become popular worldwide with a broad range of students, including preschoolers. Although the impact of robotics technology in classrooms has been extensively studied, less is known about preschool teachers' perceptions of how robotics technology impacts learning and its relation to use in the classroom. This is problematic since we know that teachers' perceptions have a great influence on their teaching practices. This study used survey data gathered from 102 students of the Department of Preschool Education in a University in Greece. A questionnaire developed by the researchers were used as data collection tool. At the end of the study, it was determined that preservice preschool teachers' attitudes about educational robotics usage in preschool classrooms were positive although they lack in relevant knowledge. These findings are discussed with respect to their educational implications.
Article
Innovative technology, such as coding tools, can build problem solving skills; and in recent years, coding seems to have emerged as the new “hot item” in education. Although tangible coding tools for young learners may offer several mathematical opportunities, neither the tools nor the gamelike situations guarantee children’s mathematical development. Furthermore, many teachers face challenges in effectively integrating technology within early mathematics. The Program for Success (P4S) project was designed to provide prospective preschool (ages 3 – 5) teachers’ (PTs) explicit pedagogical support during their 8-week student teaching practicum, which would enrich their proficiency integrating technology with tasks that promote preschool children’s problem solving, mathematical reasoning, and communication.
Chapter
There is a growing focus on reaching young children (pre-kindergarten through second grade) with quality hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Prior research has shown that teaching subjects like coding and engineering early, leads to many benefits such as increasing children’s number sense, problem-solving skills, and sequencing skills. Unfortunately, the cost of many STEM tools and technologies can be prohibitive for many parents and early childhood educators. Moreover, many of the tools that teach coding and engineering typically rely on screen-based technologies, which are not always developmentally appropriate for very young learners. This chapter will address these issues by introducing low-cost and screen-free approaches to teaching coding and engineering that emphasize a more interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) context. It will describe the benefits of reaching children early through hands-on and collaborative curricular activities, and provide examples of many types of low-cost activities to engage young children in STEAM education in both informal and formal learning settings. Finally, it will describe how parents and educators can successfully put these activities into practice in their own homes or early learning settings.
Book
This book brings together a collection of work from around the world in order to consider effective STEM, robotics, and mobile apps education from a range of perspectives. It presents valuable perspectives—both practical and theoretical—that enrich the current STEM, robotics, and mobile apps education agenda. As such, the book makes a substantial contribution to the literature and outlines the key challenges in research, policy, and practice for STEM education, from early childhood through to the first school-age education. The audience for the book includes college students, teachers of young children, college and university faculty, and professionals from fields other than education who are unified by their commitment to the care and education of young children.
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Computational thinking (CT) and its implementation in the K-12 curriculum have recently become important topics in education and research worldwide. Due to the burgeoning interest in CT in education, there has been a marked increase in empirical research in this area. Many researchers suggest that CT should be introduced and fostered early in education, as it is a precursor of academic success. However, there is little evidence from research that sums up empirical research findings to give further teaching and learning directions specific to early childhood education (ECE). Following the pre-analysis, 32 articles were selected and included in the study. Content analysis was applied to determine and evaluate the shared codes and themes related to the findings. The results demonstrate that ECE practitioners should consider incorporating CT concepts with core subject areas following an integrated teaching and learning approach in ECE, using various developmentally appropriate pedagogical practices.
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In recent decades the preschool has leaned more towards a learning-oriented pedagogy, where the subject of technology has been given a more prominent place. Still, studies on how individual preschool staff members perceive and teach technology is scarce. This study shows how seven preschool staff in Sweden describe their work with the subject of technology and how technology education is characterized in these descriptions. The data was produced by means of semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire and analyzed with narrative analysis. The results show very diverse practices of technology education, implying the learning possibilities for children in different preschools are not equal. Some of the staff describe a clear and conscious teaching of technology, while others describe teaching what can be viewed as a limited and/or shallow technology education, where technology is sometimes used as means for learning other subjects or contents rather than being the learning objective. Six ways to characterize technology education was found, namely: technology education (1) concerns technological objects and systems in children’s environment, (2) concerns learning to handle technological objects, (3) is doing experiments, (4) involves developing abilities, (5) is naturally included in children’s play and (6) departs from digital technology.
Article
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STEM education programs with educational robotics are frequently used in formal or informal education, with participants ranging from kindergarten children up to university students. The widespread implementation of these programs in schools and the growing interest of researchers in the field has led several authors/researchers to review and summarize the characteristics of STEM research. However, the literature on the features of STEM research in primary education (kindergarten and primary school) is limited. Therefore, this article is a systematic literature review that tries to enrich the STEM agenda by answering the questions: (a) which study designs are commonly used in STEM interventions, (b) what the characteristics of the sample are (number/age of the students), (c) which equipment and user interfaces (tangible/graphical) are used, and (d) what are the characteristics of the studies (duration, intervention objectives, activities) and how studies’ data were recorded. For this review, 36 out of 337 articles were analyzed and emerged from eight databases, three search-keywords and six exclusion criteria. The examination of the reviewed articles showed, inter alia, that non-experimental design is usually used, that in half of the cases written evaluations are used and the sample size is almost equal between girls and boys. Finally, long-term research is restricted, therefore it is not safe to generalize the findings of these studies.
Chapter
Nowadays, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) tools are used in many schools promoting formal and informal learning. STEM framework covers the educational needs of various age-groups starting from pre-school up to university. With this framework, students develop knowledge and skills while dealing with real-world problems. In the previous years, several reviews have been published aimed at STEM studies. Nevertheless, these reviews do not investigate a specific age group. Thus, the present book chapter is a systematic literature review on STEM research in early childhood, focusing on STEM studies for students under 8 years old. For this purpose, the chapter includes articles, which were emerged from search keys in six scientific databases. The review presents some major characteristics of the studies such as: (a) the number of participants in the intervention (sample size), (b) the intervention objectives, (c) the size of groups, (d) the equipment type, (e) the materials used, and (f) the type of research design. According to the findings, among others, STEM education in early childhood seems to successfully meet the teaching objectives, the group size is usually between 2 and 4 students, the long-term studies are absent and the quantitative methods are limited.
Even with increasing calls for both researchers and educators to attend to the “E” in STEM from within the larger field of STEM education, little is known about the practices that serve to support early educators’ pedagogy and related content knowledge of engineering design. Using multiple methods in a revelatory, embedded, single-case design, this research provides an explanatory account of preservice teachers (PTs) engagement during a structured field experience with preschoolers designed to foster their understanding of design-based engineering though collaborative learning and teaching experiences. Research Findings: Findings reveal that the PTs developed more robust understandings of design-based engineering and stronger self-efficacy beliefs related to their practice following participation in the learning and teaching collaborative project. PTs also voiced concerns over perceived challenges of integrating engineering instruction within the pedagogically and content restrictive environments of contemporary early childhood classrooms. Practice or Policy: Additionally, this research suggests that guided teaching and learning partnerships can support early childhood teacher preparation programs in developing preservice teachers’ understandings of the interrelationships between engineering and other aspects of the curriculum using emergent curricular approaches and interactional, play-based pedagogies.
Thesis
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The aim of this study is to investigate the teachers' perceptions towards teaching computational thinking skills outside a computer science class to students in the primary level. It highlighted the importance of using those skills for problem-solving and in any discipline. "Computational thinking represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use." (Wing, 2006) As mentioned by Wings, computational thinking is an important set of skills that needs to be applied universally and not only in computer science. The purpose of the study was to demonstrate whether the teachers already teach this set of skills within their subject areas or that they needed more practice to teach computational thinking. It highlighted the connection between computational thinking and problem-solving skills in addition to the teachers' perceptions and readiness towards teaching those skills within their classes. The study employed a sequential explanatory design with a mixed-method integrating between quantitative and qualitative data to answer the research questions. Amongst the instruments used in the study, the researcher relied on the results of a questionnaire to collect quantitative data from a community of teachers in Lebanon and abroad. Using the program SPSS Statistics, the researcher was able to interpret and analyze the quantitative data which helped answering the research questions in the study. By conducting interviews and using a brainstorming tool with a selective number of teachers in a private school in Lebanon, the researcher collected qualitative data about the teachers' viewpoints, experiences and recommendations for teaching computational thinking skills. The qualitative data aimed to feed into the results of the study and to support the answers for the research questions. The findings of the study showed that there is a significant relationship between teaching problem-solving skills and computational thinking. The results also revealed that the teachers already teach some of the skills in computational thinking indirectly within their subject areas and that they needed more training and support to make this practice more explicit for the students.
Chapter
Young children are increasingly engaging with digital technologies in their homes and in pre-schools around Australia, however there is a lack of understanding about the type of early years pedagogy needed to support children’s play and learning with digital technologies. This chapter examines research in three preschool settings in which educators introduced digital technologies to their children. In the three case studies, we are reporting on the actions, dispositions and behaviours of the children as captured by the chosen moments informed by our observations (field notes and observational templates) and teachers’ comments (in response to interviews). Our research questioned how robotic devices such as Beebots could support and complement children’s STEM learning. Data were analysed using a deductive thematic approach and an instructional embodiment framework that considered how physical and imaginary embodied cognition were apparent in the children’s interactions and experiences with tangible coding technologies such as Beebots. We found that embodied cognition was embedded in a variety of STEM play situations and was integral to the development of children’s learning. Children’s pretend play aligned with imagined embodiment and was influential in a variety of play situations, enabling digital learning. We found that Beebots did afford embodied learning and the research demonstrates the potential for facilitating imaginative embodiment in the context of play-based learning. Beebots can form part of a rich teaching and learning technologies environment and must be considered as part of the physical makeup of the educational context. Digital technologies in play-based learning should be considered as part of teachers’ planning and designing of the learning environment. © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Chapter
In the past two decades, STEM education has been slowly replaced by “STEAM,” which refers to learning that integrates science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The added “Arts” portion of this pedagogical approach, although an important step towards integrated 21st century learning, has long confused policymakers, with definitions ranging from visual arts to humanities to art education and more. The authors take the position that Arts can be broadly interpreted to mean any approach that brings interpretive and expressive perspectives to STEM activities. In this chapter, they present illustrative cases inspired by work in real learning settings that showcase how STEAM concepts and computational thinking skills can support children's engagement in cultural, performing, and fine arts, including painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, dance, and drama.
Article
This paper describes a pedagogical approach, Coding as Another language (CAL) to teach programming and computational thinking in early childhood. The CAL curriculum connects powerful ideas from the discipline of computer science with ideas from literacy in a way that is developmentally appropriate for children 4-8 years of age. CAL is free and can be used with two widely available programming environments for young children: the free on-screen ScratchJr app and the KIBO robotics kit that doesnt require keyboards or screens. Through 24 lessons centered on books, CAL emphasizes creative play and self-expression by positioning the learning of programming as the mastering of a new symbolic language. In addition, CAL provides opportunities for socio-emotional development in the context of a collaborative play-based learning environment, a coding playground, in which there is purposeful exploration of ethical and moral values and intentional promotion of positive behaviors and chrachter strenghs.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the design and implementation of robotics activities in authentic classroom conditions in secondary education. It suggests that robotics can provide a powerful educational vehicle for guiding high school students toward learning in 21st century. It presents a constructionist approach to foster computational thinking and creativity by engaging in robotics and programming activities in real-world classroom. More specifically, this chapter presents teaching interventions that have been implemented in real conditions to high school students during robotics courses at Arsakeia Schools Psychikou in Athens, Greece. It describes robotics activities employing the Edison educational robotics system. Main features of teaching interventions concerning the utilization of Edison robot, digital learning environments, and unplugged activities in the classroom focused on 21st century skills, computational thinking, and creativity development as well as findings, solutions, recommendations, and future research directions are discussed.
Chapter
A decade ago, Computational Thinking (CT) and coding were typically considered part of the secondary education programs, as the focus was on programming and algorithm development. The early childhood classroom was not exactly the area expected to find students-developed coding skills. But as has been the case lately, CT and coding have been characterized as fundamental skills of the 21st century, not only for computer scientists but for all citizens. Yet, through the application of developmentally appropriate technologies, the development of coding skills is increasingly possible, and the result may be the advancement of CT fluency or at least familiarity in young age children. Given the enormous success of smart mobile devices and accompanying mobile apps the rationale for this chapter is to investigate if there are apps that provide the children of preschool and pre-primary school age with opportunities to cultivate their foundational coding and CT skills.
Conference Paper
This research aims to analyze how Robotics in Education can contribute to the development of laterality in children from age four to six. This study has an applied nature with exploratory and explanatory objectives, and it is part of a broader research that focuses on articulating theoretical aspects necessary for early childhood education using a practical approach - robotics in education. A survey was conducted starting from the skills described in the Brazilian National Common Curriculum Base (BNCC) and by identifying concepts that need to be explored in early childhood education. The starting point was the reading of a children’s book that had a dog as its main character. From this reading, possibilities for movements related to the development of body image were developed in the physical education class, especially the notion of lateral dominance and laterality. After that, it was developed an articulated robotic dog, which focused on exploring issues related to laterality. The robot was made on a 3D printer, using the Arduino platform and some electronic components for movement and communication. The robot communicates with the cell phone via an application developed using the App Inventor tool. Based on the experiments, it can be concluded that the robotic artifact, in line with the motor experiences offered in physical education classes, enabled the exploration of knowledge related to the awareness of one’s own body, affirmation of lateral dominance, as well as, the structuring of laterality, fundamental for the development of cognitive and learning.
Conference Paper
In recent years, the interest in introducing programming activities into the classroom has increased, emphasizing the importance of promoting computational thinking in young learners. Robotics-based learning environments are intended to facilitate the learning of programming at the primary level and support developing skills such as collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving thinking in a cross-curricular approach. An Austrian research project focuses on developing and implementing a robotics-based learning environment using the educational design research approach to gain insights into the introduction of computational thinking in primary education. This paper reports on a study to identify preliminary design principles of the learning environment that form the basis of the prototyping cycle of the overall research. Data were collected by interviewing seven experts who have theoretical and practical expertise on educational robotics in primary education. The resulting six preliminary design principles describe the first insight into the design of robotics-based learning environments.
Conference Paper
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Σκοπός της παρούσας μελέτης είναι να αναδείξει τη δυναμική της θεωρίας της Μετασχηματίζουσας Μάθησης σχετικά με την κοινωνική αλλαγή. Ο στοχαστικός διάλογος, η κριτική συνειδητοποίηση και η αλλαγή των δυσλειτουργικών αντιλήψεων, είναι δυνατόν να βοηθήσουν τα άτομα να αντιμετωπίσουν τις προκλήσεις μιας μεταβαλλόμενης κοινωνίας. Από την κριτική ανάλυση των ευρημάτων φαίνεται ότι η Μετασχηματίζουσα Μάθηση μπορεί να οδηγήσει -πέρα από την κριτική συνειδητοποίηση της πραγματικότητας- στη συλλογική μάθηση, στη διαμόρφωση κοινών στόχων και στην ανάληψη δράσης για κοινωνική αλλαγή.
Chapter
It is widely known that when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development. In recent years, there has been a push to introduce coding and computational thinking in early childhood education, and robotics is an excellent tool to achieve this. This chapter presents some results obtained in the development of a learning experience in computational thinking using Bee-Bot educational robotics. The experience involved 47 preschoolers of a kindergarten in Crete, Greece during the period 2019-2020. The study reports statistically significant learning gains between the initial and final assessment of children's computational thinking skills. It was found that children in the treatment group who engaged in the robotic curricular intervention performed better on CT tests. This finding shows that an enhanced teaching experience using robots was beneficial for improving young children's computational thinking skills. The implications for designing appropriate curricula using robots for kindergarteners are addressed.
Article
This systematic review defines a framework for educational robotics in kindergarten. We performed our search in online databases via keyword search and snowball sampling. At the end of the process, we analyzed 46 papers. In-depth analysis of them has led to the identification of a four dimensions framework: (1) design and execution of robotics curricula: most of them used programmable floor robots, like Bee-Bot, but also more sophisticated tools, like KIBO; and tend to be created from scratch, often designed and carried out by researchers directly; (2) design and implementation of the research studies: there is a balance among adopted research methodologies (qualitative, quantitative and mixed); most studies are non-experimental; data are mainly collected by observations, tests, and interviews; (3) outcomes on the participants' skills: a large share of papers reports outcomes other than technical skills; it has also investigated the impact on soft and cognitive skills, learning engagement, and emotions; (4) the gender dimension: around one in five papers investigated it.
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The multidisciplinary approach to student exploration in Mexico places high priority on developing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills aimed at facilitating students to think and act as scientists and engineers during their earliest experiences of play. These hands-on, minds-on activities make STEM disciplines both fun and interesting for young children, developing skills such as creativity, problem-solving, innovation and invention at an early age. Development of these skills during the early years is essential in order for students to be comfortable with and engaged in STEM in their later academic years, igniting a life-long love of exploration and learning. This chapter describes our use of the Lipman Philosophy for Children to incorporate STEM challenges into the PreK and Kindergarten curriculum in Mexico, including student opportunities for play and discussion. Descriptions of face-to-face activities as well as virtual workshops conducted online are provided.
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Exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games, represents a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed. Pediatricians should assess their patients' level of media exposure and intervene on media-related health risks. Pediatricians and other child health care providers can advocate for a safer media environment for children by encouraging media literacy, more thoughtful and proactive use of media by children and their parents, more responsible portrayal of violence by media producers, and more useful and effective media ratings. Office counseling has been shown to be effective. Pediatrics 2009; 124: 1495-1503
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In recent years, educational robotics has become an increasingly popular research area. However, limited studies have focused on differentiated learning outcomes based on type of programming interface. This study aims to explore how successfully young children master foundational programming concepts based on the robotics user interface (tangible, graphical, hybrid) taught in their curriculum. Thirty-five Kindergarten students participated in a 9-week robotics curriculum using the LEGO WeDo robotics construction kit and the Creative Hybrid Environment for Robotic Programming (CHERP) programming language. A mixed methods data collection approach was employed, including qualitative observational data from the classrooms, as well as quantitative mid- and post-test assessments of students’ programming knowledge using CHERP. The findings show little association between user interface and programming comprehension, although there may be an order-affect when introducing user interfaces. Implications for best practices when introducing programming in early childhood settings are discussed.
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Various aspects of computational thinking, which builds on the power and limits of computing processes, whether they are executed by a human or by a machine, are discussed. Computational methods and models are helping to solve problems, design systems, and understand human behavior, by drawing on concepts fundamental to computer science (CS). Computational thinking (CT) is using abstraction and decomposition when attacking a large complex task or designing a large complex systems. CT is the way of thinking in terms of prevention, protection, and recovery from worst-case scenarios through redundancy, damage containment, and error correction. CT is using heuristic reasoning to discover a solution and using massive amount of data to speed up computation. CT is a futuristic vision to guide computer science educators, researchers, and practitioners to change society's image of the computer science field.
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This study explored the viability of tablet computers in early education by investigating preschool children’s ease in acclimating to tablet technology and its effectiveness in engaging them to draw. A total of 41 three- to six-year-old children were videotaped while they used the tablets. The study found significant differences in level of tablet use between sessions, and engagement increased with age. Teachers reported high child interest and drawings as typical to above expectation. Children quickly developed ease with the stylus for drawing. Although technical issues in learning this new technology were encountered, children were interested and persisted without frustration. What seems to matter for children’s learning is the ways teachers choose to implement this technology.
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This study examined young children's differential access to computers in school and home and the varying conditions that affect how children experience computers. The sample consists of 9,840 public school children who attended kindergarten and first grade. Lower and higher poverty schools are about equally likely to have computers available for children when they start their formal schooling. However, the findings suggest that the digital gap starts to widen as children move into first grade. Even though children's access to most computer resources at school increased from kindergarten to first grade, children attending higher poverty schools had significantly fewer computers and software programs available. Young children's use of computers in their classrooms differed by school poverty status.
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This study aims to explore the relative differences in efficacy of three different computer programming interfaces for controlling robots designed for early childhood education. A sample of N=36 kindergarten students from 3 different classrooms participated in this research. Each classroom was randomly assigned to one of the following three conditions: a tangible user interface, a graphical user interface, and a hybrid user interface. Comparisons between the three conditions focus on which interface yields better understanding of the programming concepts taught. Implications for designing developmentally appropriate computer programming interfaces for early childhood education are discussed.
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In this article I reflect on the insights that the well established traditions of ethnography can bring to the more recent analytic tools of multimodality in the investigation of early literacy practices. First, I consider the intersection between ethnography and multimodality, their compatibility and the tensions and ambivalences that arise from their potentially conflicting epistemological framings. Drawing on ESRC-funded case studies of three and four-year-old children’s experiences of literacy with printed and digital media,1 I then illustrate how an ethnographic toolkit that incorporates a social semiotic approach to multimodality can produce richly situated insights into the complexities of early literacy development in a digital age, and can inform socially and culturally sensitive theories of literacy as social practice (Street, 1984, 2008).
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This study examines individual growth rates in phonological awareness and let- ter-word identification skills over an academic year for 150 Latino English-language learners. In October, February, and June of their kindergarten year, participants com- pleted standardized measures of phonological awareness skills. Before the second and third assessments, one third of the children watched Arthur three times a week during school hours, and another third viewed Between the Lions. The last third did not view either show during school hours. Individual growth modeling analysis show that chil- dren who viewed Between the Lions had steeper growth trajectories than those who viewed Arthur for several of the phonological awareness measures. The findings sug- gest viewing Between the Lions is beneficial to children's early literacy skills.
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The process of increasing student exposure to computational thinking in K-12 is complex, requiring systemic change, teacher engagement, and development of signifi cant resources. Collaboration with the computer science education community is vital to this effort.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that children younger than 24 months of age not be exposed to television. Nevertheless, television programs and home videos are increasingly produced for very young children. This article reviews the extant research concerning television and very young children with respect to the AAP recommendation. More very young children are currently watching television than in the recent past; they pay substantial attention to TV programs and videos made for them. When learning from videos is assessed in comparison to equivalent live presentations, there is usually substantially less learning from videos. Although one study finds positive associations of language learning with exposure to some children’s TV programs, other studies find negative associations of viewing with language, cognitive, and attentional development. Background TV is also a disruptive influence. Evidence thus far indicates that the AAP recommendation is well taken, although considerably more research is needed.
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Computational thinking (CT) has been described as the use of abstraction, automation, and analysis in problem-solving [3]. We examine how these ways of thinking take shape for middle and high school youth in a set of NSF-supported programs. We discuss opportunities and challenges in both in-school and after-school contexts. Based on these observations, we present a "use-modify-create" framework, representing three phases of students' cognitive and practical activity in computational thinking. We recommend continued investment in the development of CT-rich learning environments, in educators who can facilitate their use, and in research on the broader value of computational thinking.
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Research on the use of computers and other educational technology with young children has become increasingly sophisticated as their use has increased in early childhood educational settings. This paper reviews the research on computers and social interaction, teaching with computers, and curriculum and computers. The review finds that computers serve as catalysts for social interaction, with children spending nine times as much time talking with peers while working at computers than while doing puzzles. Social interactions are influenced by the type of software used and the physical environment surrounding the computer. Computers and other technology offer opportunities to aid learning through making more visible individual and gender differences in approaches to learning. Effectively integrating technology into the early childhood curriculum entails several issues, including matching the type of computer software used with the skills desired and coupling computer and off-computer activities for maximum learning. The paper then describes The Building Blocks curriculum for pre-kindergarten through grade 2; this technology-based curriculum is designed to enable young children to build mathematics knowledge and develop higher-order thinking skills. The curriculum integrates computers, manipulatives, and print materials. (Contains 36 references.) (KB)
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Describes preschoolers' collaboration during free play in a computer lab, focusing on the computer's contribution to active, peer-mediated learning. Discusses these observations in terms of Parten's insights on children's social play and Vygotsky's socio-cultural learning theory, noting that the children scaffolded each other's growing computer competence as they engaged in solitary, on-looker, associative, and cooperative computer play. (JPB)
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The authors summarize the research on the effects of computer use by young children, concentrating especially on implications for social, emotional, and cognitive development. They cover effects on children's language and reading, creativity, and mathematics learning. They note the importance of teacher planning for appropriate computer use in the classroom and provide guidance on choosing software and seeking further research information.
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Despite the plethora of new electronic media aimed at very young children, little is known about which media are available to children and whether or how children engage with them. This study reports on a nationally representative telephone survey of more than 1,000 parents of children ages 6 months through 6 years, conducted in Spring 2003. The most significant findings cited in the study are as follows: (1) children six and under spend an average of 2 hours daily with screen media, mostly TV and videos; (2) TV watching begins at very early ages, well before the medical community recommends; (3) a high proportion of very young children are using new digital media, including 50 percent of 4- to 6-year-olds who have played video games and 70 percent who have used computers; (4) two out of three 6-year-olds and under live in homes where the TV is left on at least half the time, even without viewers present, and one-third live in homes where the TV is on "almost all" or "most" of the time-- children in the latter group appear to read less than other children and to be slower to learn to read; (5) many parents see media as an important educational tool, beneficial to their children's intellectual development, and parents' attitudes on this issue appear to be related to the amount of time their children spend using each medium; and (6) parents clearly perceive that their children's TV watching has a direct effect on their behavior, and are more likely to see positive rather than negative behaviors being copied. (KB)
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Parents were interviewed about the media habits of their 6-month to 6-year-old children. For children who had used computers, linear increases in computer usage occurred across this age range with a shift from using a computer on a parent's lap at about age 2½ to autonomous computer and mouse use at about age 3½. There were almost no gender differences in early computer patterns. Families with higher incomes and higher education levels were more likely to own computers and to have Internet access from home. Latino families were least likely to own a computer; Latino and African American families were less likely than Cauca-sian families to have Internet access at home. Parents perceived computers favorably for children's learning. No relationship was found between the frequency with which children play computer games and the likelihood that they can read, but increased nongame computer use was associated with increased likelihood of reading. American children are born into and develop in a world in which media per-vade their daily experiences. Five years ago, the American Academy of Pediat-rics (1999, 2001) put forth a policy that children, particularly at young ages, should have limited exposure to screen media, including computers, even though the Academy did not know what effects this kind of exposure might have on children's development or even the extent to which exposure occurs. We will address early exposure to computers here. 590
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Several recent articles have addressed the issue of the translation and interpretation of education research for the purpose of affecting policy (e.g., Educational Researcher 29(6).) We respond to the publication of, and media attention to 1 , Fool's gold: A critical look at computers in childhood (Cordes & Miller, 2000). This report delineates some important issues for discussion and includes several valid concerns. However, we believe it's presentation of half-truths and misleading interpreta-tions of theory and research under the guise of academic respectability not only presents an unfortunate one-sided picture of the issues and related empirical research, but, more generally, plays the U.S. media game to the detriment of research, intellectual discourse, and, ultimately, children. Misuse of technology by some and overzealous promotion by others are not valid reasons for misrepresenting the field or for speciously framing the computer as the lightning rod for a broad range of criticisms that we argue can be reasonably attributed to no single source. Such incomplete and dishonest reporting misdirects attention from the wider web of political and pedagogical concerns, trammels the progress of research and expert practice that can guide developmentally appropriate and beneficial use of computers, and does violence to the academic enterprise by reinforcing the cynical belief that research can also support either of polar opposite opinions. In this article, we hope to correct misconceptions about computers in education, but more so, to argue for a complete, balanced, consideration and reporting of research, especially when addressing policy implications. In 1995, we argued that "we no longer need to ask whether the use of technology is 'appropriate'" in early childhood education (Clements & Swaminathan, 1995). The research supporting that statement was, and remains, convincing, but social and political movements follow their own cyclic course. The most recent example is the publication of Fool's gold: A critical look at computers in childhood (Cordes & Miller, 2000). This report delineates some important issues for discussion and includes several valid concerns. However, we believe that it may do more harm than good because it's presentation of half-truths and misleading interpretations of theory and research under the guise of academic respectability not only presents an unfortunate one-sided picture of the issues, but, more generally, plays the U.S. media game to the detriment of research, intellectual discourse, and, ultimately, children. In this response, we will not address all of the lacunae and misrepresenta-tions in the report, as this would require an extensive revisiting of research already available in several sources (Behrmann, 2000; Clements & Nastasi, 1992; Clements & Sarama, 1997). Instead, we address several major problems with this particular report and, using it as a case, draw implications for reports in this genre. The major sections deal with research on young children and computers; following these sections, we discuss areas of agreement and the issue of full reporting of research results, and end with conclusions and implications.
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Electronic media, particularly television, have long been criticized for their potential impact on children. One area for concern is how early media exposure influences cognitive development and academic achievement. Heather Kirkorian, Ellen Wartella, and Daniel Anderson summarize the relevant research and provide suggestions for maximizing the positive effects of media and minimizing the negative effects. One focus of the authors is the seemingly unique effect of television on children under age two. Although research clearly demonstrates that well-designed, age-appropriate, educational television can be beneficial to children of preschool age, studies on infants and toddlers suggest that these young children may better understand and learn from real-life experiences than they do from video. Moreover, some research suggests that exposure to television during the first few years of life may be associated with poorer cognitive development. With respect to children over two, the authors emphasize the importance of content in mediating the effect of television on cognitive skills and academic achievement. Early exposure to age-appropriate programs designed around an educational curriculum is associated with cognitive and academic enhancement, whereas exposure to pure entertainment, and violent content in particular, is associated with poorer cognitive development and lower academic achievement. The authors point out that producers and parents can take steps to maximize the positive effects of media and minimize the negative effects. They note that research on children's television viewing can inform guidelines for producers of children's media to enhance learning. Parents can select well-designed, age-appropriate programs and view the programs with their children to maximize the positive effects of educational media. The authors' aim is to inform policymakers, educators, parents, and others who work with young children about the impact of media, particularly television, on preschool children, and what society can do to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs.
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To determine whether duration and content of media exposure in 6-month-old infants are associated with development at age 14 months. Longitudinal analysis of 259 mother-infant dyads participating in a long-term study related to early child development, from November 23, 2005, through January 14, 2008. An urban public hospital. Mothers with low socioeconomic status and their infants. Duration and content of media exposure at age 6 months. Cognitive and language development at age 14 months. Of 259 infants, 249 (96.1%) were exposed to media at age 6 months, with mean (SD) total exposure of 152.7 (124.5) min/d. In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, duration of media exposure at age 6 months was associated with lower cognitive development at age 14 months (unadjusted: r = -0.17, P < .01; adjusted: β = -0.15, P = .02) and lower language development (r = -0.16, P < .01; β = -0.16, P < .01). Of 3 types of content assessed, only 1 (older child/adult-oriented) was associated with lower cognitive and language development at age 14 months. No significant associations were seen with exposure to young child-oriented educational or noneducational content. This study is the first, to our knowledge, to have longitudinally assessed associations between media exposure in infancy and subsequent developmental outcomes in children from families with low socioeconomic status in the United States. Findings provide strong evidence in support of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of no media exposure prior to age 2 years, although further research is needed.
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Examining the full array of media available to children and adolescents, this book describes not only the amount of time they spend with each medium, but the kinds of content they choose, and the physical, social, and psychological context of much of their exposure. This national sample study provides a comprehensive picture of young people's media behavior.
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A general theory of domain identification is used to describe achievement barriers still faced by women in advanced quantitative areas and by African Americans in school. The theory assumes that sustained school success requires identification with school and its subdomains; that societal pressures on these groups (e.g., economic disadvantage, gender roles) can frustrate this identification; and that in school domains where these groups are negatively stereotyped, those who have become domain identified face the further barrier of stereotype threat, the threat that others' judgments or their own actions will negatively stereotype them in the domain. Research shows that this threat dramatically depresses the standardized test performance of women and African Americans who are in the academic vanguard of their groups (offering a new interpretation of group differences in standardized test performance), that it causes disidentification with school, and that practices that reduce this threat can reduce these negative effects.
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Technology has opened many educational doors to children, particularly children with disabilities. Alternative solutions from the world of technology are accommodating physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments in many ways. Much of the technology we see daily was developed initially to assist persons with disabilities. Curb cuts at streetcorners and curb slopes, originally designed to accommodate people with orthopedic disabilities, are used more frequently by families with strollers or individuals with grocery carts than by persons with wheel−chairs or walkers. The optical character reader, developed to assist individuals unable to read written text, has been adapted in the workplace to scan printed documents into computer−based editable material, saving enormous amounts of data entry labor. Technology, An Equalizer Technology can be a great equalizer for individuals with disabilities that might prevent full participation in school, work, and the community. This is most evident in the case of individuals with mobility, hearing, or vision impairments but is also true for individuals with limitations in cognition and perception. With technology, an individual physically unable to speak can communicate with spoken language. Using a portable voice synthesizer, a student can ask and respond to questions in the "regular" classroom, overcoming a physical obstacle that may have forced placement in a special segregated classroom or required a full−time instructional aide or interpreter to provide "a voice." Improvements in sensor controls enable subtle motor movements to control mobility devices such as electric wheelchairs, providing independent movement through the school and community. Text and graphics enhancement software can enlarge sections of a monitor enough to be seen by persons with vision impairments. Text can be read electronically by a digitized voice synthesizer for a person who is blind. For persons with hearing impairments, amplification devices can filter extraneous noise from the background or pick up an FM signal from a microphone on a teacher's lapel. Word processing, editing, spellchecking, and grammatical tools commonly found in high−end software facilitate the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in regular classrooms by allowing them to keep up with much of the work. Not inconsequentially, the children often feel better about themselves as active learners.
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Research shows the importance of social interaction between peers in child development. Although technology can foster peer interactions, teachers often struggle with teaching with technology. This study examined a sample of (n = 19) children participating in a kindergarten robotics summer workshop to determine the effect of teaching using a structured versus unstructured robotics curriculum on fostering peer-to-peer collaborative interactions. Results indicated that using a structured curriculum was associated with significantly less collaboration than an unstructured curriculum. Findings from this study indicated that to foster peer collaboration, a less structured learn-by-doing approach might be useful for teachers when integrating technology.
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Young children explore their world through manipulatives, playing with ‘technology’ that may or may not be digital. To this end, I offer an exploration into how the existing framework of the New Media Literacies (NMLs) paradigm set forth by Henry Jenkins (2006) in Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century might be applicable to early childhood education. For the purposes of this paper, I focus on three of the twelve NML skills (play, distributed cognition and transmedia navigation) and how they might each be reflected in the interplay between digital and non-digital media within Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching and learning. Aligning the discussion of young children's media use with NMLs might allow for greater examination of the potential positive benefits of digital and non-digital media and technology.
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The purpose of this research was to study the impact of computers on the social behavior of preschoolers. Fourteen preschoolers were observed while they worked at the computer over the course of two months. Data were collected through non-participant observations, informal interviews of the children, and interviews of the teachers. Results found a total of 91 peer interactions and 33 teacher interactions over the course of the study. The interactions included children acknowledging each other, children commenting and being ignored, and children sharing or helping each other. Gender variation was found in frequency of use, with the boys using the computer more often than the girls. Implications of the study underscore the educational value of the social environment at the computers, the value of using developmentally appropriate software, and the need for teachers to teach such cooperative learning behaviors as sharing of ideas and group problem solving.
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The home computer use of 33 children aged between 7 and 11 years is described. These children and their parents were interviewed on four occasions. In addition, domestic computer use was monitored for 30 days in respect of the identity of user(s) and the nature and duration of their software use. Although parents had strong aspirations that household computers should support their child's learning and although parents' main software purchases were educationally oriented, children spent most of their time on games of a sort not typically found in their classrooms. This observation was explored through a comparative analysis of the home and school ecology. Description of the school setting was achieved by engaging with pupils and teachers attending the five schools from which the home-based sample was drawn. Patterns of school computer use conformed to practices commonly reported for early education. However, this classroom context of computer use was shown to be very different to that sustained in homes. Parents took few steps to orchestrate the content or motive of children's computer activity and they rarely become directly involved in that activity themselves. These observations are discussed in relation to contemporary ambitions to influence the interface of home and school through the mediation of information and communications technology (ICT).
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This article presents a constructionist approach to introducing technology, in particular robotics, in the early childhood classroom. The authors demonstrate how this approach is well suited, since the four basic tenets of constructionism have a long-standing tradition in early childhood education: (a) learning by designing meaningful projects to share in the community, (b) using concrete objects to build and explore the world, (c) the identification of powerful ideas that are both personally and epistemologically significant, and (d) the importance of self-reflection as part of the learning process. This article introduces a methodology for teaching preservice teachers to integrate technology in the classroom. It also describes four different experiences in which preservice teachers designed and integrated robotic projects done with LEGO Mindstorms and ROBOLAB to engage their young students in exploring and learning new concepts and ways of thinking.
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Discusses how to use computers to facilitate learning with young children in early care and education settings. Includes discussion of software selection, website selection, connections of software and websites to the curriculum, and computer selection. Lists strategies for facilitating equitable access, improving computer availability, and assisting parents with home computer use. (KB)
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Contends that early childhood educators need to understand how exposure to computers and constructive computer programs affects the development of children. Specifically examines: (1) research on children's technology experiences; (2) determining best practices; and (3) addressing educators' concerns about computers replacing other developmentally appropriate activities, difficulty levels, social effects, student control, and stifled creativity; and (4) teacher role. (SD)
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Using computers with young children is a journey. It begins with being receptive to learning about a unique new resource that provides children significant opportunities for growth and learning. The path then leads to obtaining computers, providing teachers with hands-on computer experiences, sharing knowledge of research and teaching strategies, and hopefully finding mentors to aid in the process. From that point on, the journey travels in different directions as teachers create unique ways to use computers with young children. Ideally, this last part of the journey never ends as teachers continue to search for and implement new ideas and products that can enhance young children's learning.
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Incorporating technology into the early childhood classroom to enhance traditional teaching methods is not a new idea. Yet the use of technology as an instructional tool in curriculum is still often considered an innovative way to engage young children in learning. Since "computers serve as catalysts for social interaction", the use of technology to implement curriculum supports new ways of teaching and learning. The inclusion of technology can provide continuity of instruction throughout a school and create new layers in the curriculum. This article shares the author's experiences as a prekindergarten teacher who embraced technology in her classroom. By incorporating appropriate technological tools into her curriculum, the author found that the children were more engaged and enjoyed the learning process. They also seemed to develop independence and a deeper sense of classroom community. The author came to realize that children viewed technology as a fundamental element of the classroom.
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Robotics naturally lends itself to teaching math, science, technology and engineering in the K-12 classroom. LEGO Mindstorms makes it easy for students even in kindergarten to design and build their own robotic creations. However, the key to bringing engineering into K-12 through robotics is educating teachers on the content, how to use the materials, and how open-ended design problems can be effective in the classroom. This paper details the Tufts University Center for Engineering Educational Outreach's theoretical framework, motivations, and efforts involved in bringing engineering via LEGO robotics into every kindergarten through fifth-grade classroom in one school through the Systemic School Change in Engineering Project. Preliminary results and recommendations are presented.
Early childhood teacher education methods classes often emphasize the application of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). In today's digital age, it is important for teacher educators and their students to think about how to extend DAP to technology use. In this article, two contrasting classroom scenarios are provided to illustrate developmentally appropriate technology use (DATU), a new educational term coined by the authors. Briefly, DATU is defined as use that both respects the unique challenges presented by children's levels of development and capitalizes on children's natural desire to actively, collaboratively construct knowledge and solve problems. A five-element framework for guiding teachers toward DATU is explained.
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The present study investigates how working memory and fluid intelligence are related in young children and how these links develop over time. The major aim is to determine which aspect of the working memory system—short-term storage or cognitive control—drives the relationship with fluid intelligence. A sample of 119 children was followed from kindergarten to second grade and completed multiple assessments of working memory, short-term memory, and fluid intelligence. The data showed that working memory, short-term memory, and fluid intelligence were highly related but separate constructs in young children. The results further showed that when the common variance between working memory and short-term memory was controlled, the residual working memory factor manifested significant links with fluid intelligence whereas the residual short-term memory factor did not. These findings suggest that in young children cognitive control mechanisms rather than the storage component of working memory span tasks are the source of their link with fluid intelligence.
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A request from the National Academies to prepare a presentation for a Workshop on Non-Technical Strategies to Protect Youth from Inappropriate Material on the Internet occurred before much was known about children, youth, and the Internet. The author's strategy was to investigate websites that cater to children and adolescents. The developmental issue of consumer socialization was raised by a visit to the Disney website. In contrast, the developmental issues of sexuality, aggression, and intergroup relations were raised by visits to chat rooms hosted by two different Internet Web portals. Examination of existing research literature, in conjunction with visits to the websites, led to the following conclusions: (1) Many parents are aware of the problems of making children the targets of commerce; however, they are quite unaware of the kind of social and cultural worlds young people are creating online. (2) Children and adolescents are not simply the targets of adult Internet creations; they are active participants in creating their own cybercultures, for example, in teen chat rooms. (3) The nature and norms of these cultures can be very much influenced by adult rules, regulations, and participatory monitoring. (4) The important developmental issues raised by this new medium are not unique to the Internet. For example, each psychosocial phenomenon from consumerism to sexuality to aggression has important manifestations in the culture at large.
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Individual differences in reading comprehension may reflect differences in working memory capacity, specifically in the trade-off between its processing and storage functions. A poor reader's processes may be inefficient, so that they lessen the amount of additional information that can be maintained in working memory. A test with heavy processing and storage demands was devised to measure this trade-off. Subjects read aloud a series of sentences and then recalled the final word of each sentence. The reading span, the number of final words recalled, varied from two to five for 20 college students. This span correlated with three reading comprehension measures, including verbal SAT and tests involving fact retrieval and pronominal reference. Similar correlations were obtained with a listening span task, showing that the correlation is not specific to reading. These results were contrasted with traditional digit span and word span measures which do not correlate with comprehension.
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In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement addressing media use in children. The purpose of that statement was to educate parents about the effects that media--both the amount and the content--may have on children. In one part of that statement, the AAP recommended that "pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of two years." The wording of the policy specifically discouraged media use in this age group, although it is frequently misquoted by media outlets as no media exposure in this age group. The AAP believed that there were significantly more potential negative effects of media than positive ones for this age group and, thus, advised families to thoughtfully consider media use for infants. This policy statement reaffirms the 1999 statement with respect to media use in infants and children younger than 2 years and provides updated research findings to support it. This statement addresses (1) the lack of evidence supporting educational or developmental benefits for media use by children younger than 2 years, (2) the potential adverse health and developmental effects of media use by children younger than 2 years, and (3) adverse effects of parental media use (background media) on children younger than 2 years.
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To evaluate the impact of interventions focused on reducing screen time. Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsycINFO, ERIC, and CINAHL through April 21, 2011. Included studies were randomized controlled trials of children aged 18 years or younger with interventions that focused on reducing screen time. Efforts to reduce screen time. The primary outcome was body mass index (BMI); the secondary outcome was screen time (hours per week). A total of 1120 citations were screened, and 13 studies were included in the systematic review. Study samples ranged in age (3.9-11.7 years) and size (21-1295 participants). Interventions ranged in length (1-24 months) and recruitment location (5 in schools, 2 in medical clinics, 1 in a community center, and 5 from the community). For the primary outcome, the meta-analysis included 6 studies, and the difference in mean change in BMI in the intervention group compared with the control group was -0.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.28 to 0.09) (P = .32). The secondary outcome included 9 studies, and the difference in mean change from baseline in the intervention group compared with the control group was -0.90 h/wk (95% CI, -3.47 to 1.66 h/wk) (P = .49). A subgroup analysis of preschool children showed a difference in mean change in screen time of -3.72 h/wk (95% CI, -7.23 to -0.20 h/wk) (P = .04). Our systematic review and meta-analysis did not demonstrate evidence of effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing screen time in children for reducing BMI and screen time. However, interventions in the preschool age group hold promise.