Learning across the key learning areas : what is possible with robotics in the classroom?
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Rose-Marie Thrupp
Primary teachers are continually distracted by the literacy and numeracy agenda. This challenges their ability to identify the worth of learning in design technology. Design technology provides a key context for learning literacy and numeracy and the important concepts of design technology. It has potential to provide a purposeful means of engaging those most likely of doing poorly on literacy and numeracy tests such as NAPLAN. Furthermore, design technology gives some learners a reason to learn literacy and numeracy. This paper explores the use of a resource frequently associated with design technology. This resource is LEGO NXT robotics. Robotics in this form is often used in schools. However, it is often an extra-curricula activity for gifted learners after school. Furthermore, it is seen as a resource of use for robotics sake, only. In this paper initial data from a pilot study about learning evident when learners work with LEGO NXT robotics, is examined. The purpose of the study, still in progress, is to question the notion of ‘robotics for robotics sake’ and identify the potential of robotics to enrich learning across key learning areas for a wider population of learners. The study involves a volunteer group of preservice teachers working in the Teaching Robotics Education across the Key Learning Areas (TREK) project at Central Queensland University. These preservice teachers worked with children in classrooms during the school day with LEGO NXT and consequently, created a ‘capture’ of the work in which they engaged with children. These texts were then analysed to identify elements of learning required in the Queensland syllabuses. The resultant findings provide advice for primary teachers about the worth of robotics as a device to engage learners in deep learning of many aspects of the syllabus in the classroom. It provides an alternate view of how LEGO NXT needs to be promoted to primary teachers.