R. Castro, M. Diéguez, P. Hidalgo, B. Castel, C. Cartes

Universidad de La Frontera (CHILE)
The experience takes place in the basic programming of computers subject, that it´s given to 14 different courses of civil engineering of UFRO, with a universe of 300 students each semester. The subject receives students of different areas involving engineering, each one with diverses profiles that makes them closer or far from the themes checked. This is the reason that induces different levels of motivation or disposition to the learning process resulting in low performance and high desertion to the subject.

In this context, the principal problem to face with the experience is the lack of motivation and interest to the subject by students. Because of this, it was proposed to innovate in the methodology, so as to bring the subject closer to the students, from a teaching based in theoretical contents, to something more practical and active that involves the student as an essential in is learning process.

It was designed a practical activity which joined presencial work in the laboratory and self-governing work from the student, like investigation and feedback (student and teacher).The experience seeks to introduce concepts of computers programming and the programming language JAVA, through the manipulation of programmable elements called “Arduinos”. It is expected that practical activities like this, allow the students to develop autonomy in their learning process (through investigation), stimulate critical thinking (becoming a reviewer of the other students work), and give them the chance of learning from their mistakes (through the feedback and correction of their answers). All this in an environment more entertaining, fresh and motivating for the students.

The activity is presented as a learning process, in which it is expected that the students consolidate their knowledge and strengthening the development of their competence in each activity of the process.To achieve it the students must research about the Arduino platform, design and execute a set of instructions that will allow the Arduino have a solution to the problem, feedback the work of other students and correct their own work relating the observations made by their partners. The activity was made in groups, in 2 practical sessions of 60 minutes each one, plus personal work activities between sessions.

The activity is considered successful, because it was evidenced that the motivation in students was better, so as the learning process, through the changes done in the teaching methodology .You can observe changes in the students, both learning, attitude and motivation. In respect of the learning, the student achieved to manage concepts of programming language in less time and improved their grades.

About the attitude, the students changed his motivation from one session to another, showing more interest in achieving goals and research the items he did not know. Through an opinion quiz, most of the students considered that they had a change of opinion in relation to the subject, saying that it was more interesting and useful.