About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6483-6490
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

USING ACTIVITY THEORY TO UNDERSTAND HOW USING ROBOTS CAN FOSTER LEARNING OF BASIC CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING

P. Abrantes, J.F. Matos

University of Lisbon, Institute of Education (PORTUGAL)
Recently many educators have been using robots in teaching activities in order to assist students' learning in a variety of subjects and topics across all levels of education. Several studies address robotics and programming as an educational activity, showing that, in many situations, there is an added value in the use of robots in the classroom.
In this research report we use the central principles of Activity Theory to analyze, describe and understand how students learn basic programming concepts in interaction with robots in the classroom.

In the framework of Activity Theory (Engeström, 2001; Matos, 2010) learning is essentially associated to the development towards an expansive field, both in terms of subject and the context.
Specifically, we focus on the relationship between subjet (students – individually and in group) and object (programming concepts), being mediated by the construction of a guide dog (guide-robot), leading to conceptual transformations in terms of understanding programming through the use of tecnological tools. We address also the mediating role of the classroom culture (emergent norms), division of labor (groups’ dynamics and student-teacher interaction), and rules (formal and informal norms in the classroom).

The task that students are supposed to develop is the construction and programming of a robot that would simulate a guide dog.
Through data analysis, we interpreted the classroom activity system and the results suggest that learning is driven by real needs of students, as manifested in dilemmas. Learning emerges from social interactions and is well located in the co-participation in a social (and not just individual) understanding. We conclude suggesting that there is evidence that a constructionist practice in the classroom may help the development of students’ programming concepts.
@InProceedings{ABRANTES2012USI,
author = {Abrantes, P. and Matos, J.F.},
title = {USING ACTIVITY THEORY TO UNDERSTAND HOW USING ROBOTS CAN FOSTER LEARNING OF BASIC CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {6483-6490}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Abrantes AU - J.F. Matos
TI - USING ACTIVITY THEORY TO UNDERSTAND HOW USING ROBOTS CAN FOSTER LEARNING OF BASIC CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 6483
EP - 6490
ER -
P. Abrantes, J.F. Matos (2012) USING ACTIVITY THEORY TO UNDERSTAND HOW USING ROBOTS CAN FOSTER LEARNING OF BASIC CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 6483-6490.
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