Educational Robotics in Teacher Education: an Innovative Tool for Promoting Quality Education

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Nov 2, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Educational Robotics in Teacher
Education: an Innovative Tool for
Promoting Quality Education




Dimitris

Alimisis

School of Pedagogical &Technological Education

Patras, Greece

www.etlab.eu

alimisis@otenet.gr

02/11/2013

1

Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Robotics

in Education

Education

in Robotics

Educational robotics

Robotics as

learning tool

Robotics as

learning object

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Teachers/educators

Students/learners

science, maths, informatics, technology…



To teach…

Who needs “
robotics in education
”?

To learn…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

pedagogy

technology

Educational robotics

Shifting Focus

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


The successful introduction of an educational
innovation, like robotics, is not just a matter of
access to new technologies


Technology alone cannot affect students’
minds
!


The robot is just another tool…


it is the educational theory that will determine
the learning impact coming from robotic
applications

Shifting focus from technology to
pedagogy…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

We need…


Alignment with theories of learning


proper educational philosophy


well designed curricula


supportive learning environment


WELL PREPARED TEACHERS!

before we rush to exploit robotics
in education…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

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Theories behind robotics in education

Piaget’s Constructivism,

Papert’s constructionism


learning by design


project
-
based
learning


open
-
ended problem
solving


Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

The TERECoP methodology

TERECoP


(
Teacher Education in
Robotics
-
enhanced
Constructivist
Pedagogical Methods)

www.terecop.eu

European Programme
Socrates / Comenius /
Action 2.1 (Training of
School Education
Staff) 2006
-
2009


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

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TERECoP
publication,
Athens, 2009

available online

www.terecop.eu


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The TERECoP learning methodology…

5 Stages



Engagement


Exploration


Investigation


Creation


Evaluation



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designing a training
methodology for
teachers


“teachers teach as they are taught,
not as they are told to teach”!

we train teachers in the very way in
which they are expected to educate
their students


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

12

From the training course to the school
class



Our trainees are encouraged
to introduce robotics in school
classes


several implementations in
primary and secondary
schools so far in Greece, Italy,
Spain, Czech Rep…


integration in official school
program?


Workshops


Open days


Exhibitions


Presentations


Publications

From training course to teachers’
community…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

robotics in training programmes for
future teachers in ASPETE, GR


started 2010
-
11…


at the School of Pedagogical and Technological
Education (Patras, Greece)


In one
-
year training programs


for future teachers of secondary technical
education


a robotics module has been integrated in the
course of educational technology

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


building Lego robots in groups


Icon
-
basic Lego programming software


Explorations and
trials


Discussion for pedagogical use in
classrooms


Encouragement to introduce robotic
activities in classrooms


Robotics in ASPETE

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

A case study: robotics for teaching control
programming concepts (switch and loop)


Teaching programming concepts in
school informatics through robotics


for 2 teaching sessions (2 hours for each
session) in a lower secondary school
(Gymnasium) class of informatics (April
2011, Patras, Greece)


21 pupils aged 13

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Robotics in informatics class…


Familiarisation with basic Lego
programming blocks


simple robot
-
cars with


four wheels


one motor


one ultrasonic sensor


to be programmed to perform simple
motions and actions involving making
decisions and loop behaviors


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


Pupils imagine a behavior for their robot
involving decision making and/or repetition


Pupils work in groups


Group discussion


sketch their plan with paper and pencil on
worksheets


realise their plan programming their robots

Students in action…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


Free to make
trials


Present their project


demonstrations


Celebrations!

Students create and share…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

the feedback collected from the classroom
had verified their initial assumption that


robotics in informatics would be
appealing activity for students


could help in bringing abstract
programming concepts closer to the
pupils’ understanding



Teachers’ report…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

The robotic activity had enabled student
-
teachers to


see the results of their actions in the
school class reality


get immediate feedback from pupils,
which had increased their self confidence
in using robotics in school

Self
-
reflections…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


obvious similarities between the methodology
proposed in the training course and that
applied by the student
-
teachers in the school


student
-
teachers successfully implemented
the robotics
-
based methodology they had
been taught…


on a topic of their own choice and
specialization …


in a real classroom setting

Evaluation…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

…proved useful for student
-
teachers because


they were provided valuable feedback from
pupils’ work


were convinced that the use of robotics
according to the proposed methodology is
realistic and feasible


strengthened their self confidence for future
use of robotics in school

Evaluation: connection between training
course and school class…

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23

Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Robotics in further training for in
-
service
science teachers



further training courses for in
-
service physics
teachers held at the University of Athens
(September
-
December 2011)


for 10 teaching hours for a group of 6 trainees


aim: to explore together with the trainees
ways to use robotics as learning tool focusing
on the phenomenon of motion and the basic
kinematics concepts: time, distance, speed,
motion at constant speed, motion at
accelerated speed…


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

“design a robotic experimental activity of your
own choice that would be helpful for your
students to study the rectilinear motion at
constant speed and then in rectilinear motion
accelerated at constant rate”

Trainees in 2 teams


Dsigned the activities


Realised the experiements


Evaluated this training scenario



challenge


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


we concurred with our experienced
trainees that the methodology followed
had resulted in a study of kinematics
concepts through active participation of
the learners;


it could build step by step a deep
understanding of the concepts triggering
curiosity and encouraging further study
and research


Evaluation…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


robots had allowed repeated and controlled
by the user interesting experimentations


programming the motions and devising
appropriate algorithms could help students in
understanding the underlying kinematics
concepts


realisation

of the robot programmed motion
on the floor could help students to see their
thinking, as expressed in the algorithm, to
come alive and to understand their
failures/achievements


Evaluation…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Going from training to school class
again…


In a lower secondary school

located in
a

poor

rural

area

of Western

Greece (Ilias
Prefecture, April 2012)


Teaching kinematics concepts in a school
physics class through robotic
s


A class of 9

students

aged

13 in groups
of

3



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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


rectilinear

motion at constant speed



relationship

between distance and time
of motion


conceptualization and measurement of
speed


position
-
time and speed



time graphs

Topics


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


familiarisation

with the Lego Mindstorms
kit

and the programming environment


each group

built

their own

vehicle


Programming the robots to move


Experimentations with the motion of the
vehicles


Study of the motions, collection of data,
drawing conclusions from data


Activities in class…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Teacher encouraged
students’ initiatives,
imagination and
creativity in building
the car in their own
way.

The result: each group
constructed a
different vehicle!


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

efforts of children to experiment with
different solutions

“there was a strong tendency for many
tests in the construction and use of many
different parts

(teacher)

Experimentations…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

“… I obsereved that students’ behavior showed
that they had tried to impose their own ideas,
ignoring or modifying the instructions given by
the teacher… For example the red team did
not use equal
-
sized wheels which resulted in a
non
-
robust construction, but they insisted on
their original idea that eventually changed
gradually…. the white group used initially six
wheels (instead of the proposed four) because
they found it more attractive...”
(teacher)

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Dimitris

Alimisis
, ASPETE, GR

The day ended with racing between the three
vehicles, with the children to amuse and enjoy
their artifacts


Fun activities…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Students successfully approached the
concept of linear motion at constant
speed;

they easily found that the speed remained
constant at each measurement they had
made;

the concept was also reflected in the
graphs distance
-
time and speed
-
time
made ​​with paper and pencil


Results…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


What went well today in what you did
with your team?


What did not go well?


What you liked most of what you did
today?


What did not you like from what you did
with your group today?


Diaries in the end of each day…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

when at the end of each day they used
their cars in car racing:



I liked most when we put the battle
carts and although ours is the heaviest it
came out first




I didn’t like that sometimes we were
defeated in the race by the other children
due to our engine failure



the most enjoyable moments


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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


Introduced some fun!


Motivated students to make
improvements in their vehicles to make
them more competitive


Transformed education into
game
-
based
learning
and

turned education into a fun
activity


Combining learning with gaming makes it
easier, faster and more effective

children’s excitement with the game of
racing…

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

“most interesting activity?”


the assembly and construction of the
vehicle


emphasized the excitement they had felt

when we set in motion our car



their satisfaction from collaboration and
team work


interviews in the end of the course

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR

Appreciated the understanding they had gained
for the kinematics concepts

However they were impressed with their
achievement in constructing and
programming the robotic vehicle itself



it was surprisingly easy to build the robot…




in the beginning we thought we would never
be able to build robots that we had seen only
in pictures… but we did!
”.

“what new did you learn in this course?”

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Dimitris Alimisis, ASPETE, GR


Robotics has much potential to offer in quality
education


the benefits in learning are not guaranteed for
students just by the simple introduction of
robotics in the classroom


The real fundamental issue for improving
quality learning is not the robot itself; rather,
it is the curriculum


and teacher’s methodology that will
determine the learning result

Conclusions and proposals


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introduction of well designed robotics
modules within teacher training courses


have to emphasise the role of
educational robotics as a tool to foster
essential life skills:


cognitive,


meta
-
cognitive,


personal development


team working;


Teacher Education courses…

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To highlight that robotics benefits are
relevant for all children


broader perspective projects and
strategies should be employed by
trainers to provide multiple pathways for
teachers to introduce robotics in school
and to engage young people with diverse
interests and learning styles


Teacher Education courses…

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pioneering efforts are considered as
development of a high potential if
existing networks link together and
synchronize their actions into a European
network


promote communication and
collaborative work between researchers,
teachers, and learners

Proposal for a European network

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a forum for the community to share
experiences, products and expertise


create and share open educational and
technological products and practices
(curricula and resources)


support teacher education establishing
and running summer schools for teachers


Proposal for a European network…

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to try practical implementations of
robotics curricula in schools,


to test and validate curricula and
methodologies in both teacher education
and school class level


To form Special Interest Groups to study
specific issues and the latest
developments in the domain of
educational robotics

encourage and support teachers…

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www.etlab.eu

www.terecop.eu

alimisis@otenet.gr



For more…