Palacky University in Olomouc (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 1916-1921
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0485
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
We encounter mathematics and mathematical concepts in our everyday lives. We need to count money, find out what time our bus leaves, weigh groceries. The foundation for later mathematical skills lies in the good development of pre-mathematical ideas in a child’s preschool years. Just in this period we can lay a good foundation for their logical thinking and reasoning.

In the article, we will be based on the results of the study entitled “Mathematics and Reading Preschool Literacy (MRPL1)”, in which 119 teachers from 72 kindergartens from different parts of the Czech Republic participated. The focus will be mainly on the use of modern robotic tools based on the trend of incorporating digital technologies into preschool education. Robotic toys are becoming a contemporary phenomenon. Robotic toys provide a new type of educational environment that has a strong motivational framework. They encourage discovery through trial and error, allowing immediate feedback and active work with errors. With systematically guided activities, they have significant potential for developing children’s cognitive abilities. Targeted work with these tools can significantly contribute to the development of children’s spatial orientation, their numerical skills, logical reasoning and algorithmising. In the application part we will focus specifically on the possibilities of educational use of the robotic toy Bee-Bot. It is encouraging that the teachers have shown interest in the new ideas. Activities related to Bee-Bot interested them. Only a small portion of kindergarten teachers currently has Bee-Bots at their disposal. Popularisation of the Bee-Bot and it’s usage would help get it in more kindergartzens. Overall, however, they lack sufficient methodological support.

Based on MRPL1 research findings, a pedagogical experiment was realised. A set of 10 educational preschool level activities was compiled with a focus on mathematical ideas development through work with Bee-Bot. Individual activities were graded 1-3 in levels of difficulty depending on age. All activities were verified in kindergarten pedagogical practice. Participant observation method was used. Children aged 3-7 took part in the experiment. The children's performances were evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively - using a numerical rating scale of 1-5. The results of the pedagogical experiment showed that Bee-Bot has a strong motivational accent for children. The chosen activities helped children concentrate on given mathematical problems. The children spontaneously showed their creativity and found different solutions to given tasks. They naturally approached a divergent solution. There was an obvious strengthening of the communication and cooperation component when the task was solved cooperatively.

We have come to the conclusion, that the targeted inclusion of Bee-Bot and other robotic toys in preschool education makes sense not only in scope of mathematical preliteracy development, but also aids other components of their cognitive development. However, the availability of methodological support for teachers is essential. We believe that it is important to compile a set of methodological materials for working with Bee-Bot for individual age categories with an emphasis on the development of children's mathematical thinking. And these materials have to be available to teachers in kindergartens.
Mathematical pre-literacy, kinder garden, robotic toys, Bee-Bot.