Catlin, D. (2019). Beyond Coding: Back to the Future with Education Robots. In L. Daniela (Ed.), Smart Learning with Educational Robotics: Using Robots to Scaffold Learning Outcomes (pp. 1-44). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19913-5
Jeannette Wing’s 2013 call for education to make coding a key skill coincided with a boom in new education robots. Not surprisingly most of these new robots focus on developing student’s computational thinking abilities and programming know-how. Is that all robots can offer? To find the answer I’ll explore the history of education robots: specifically the ideas of Seymour Papert. What we’ll find is something with far more potential than providing learners with a way of developing their coding skills. And against accepted wisdom, I’ll suggest that as technology develops the need for coders will (in the long-term) dwindle but the power of robots to help educate children for the future will increase.
Online Version: www.springer.com/us/book/9783030199128
In 1969, Seymour Papert invented the first educational robot called a Turtle. It was an addition to the computer language Logo, which he’d designed in 1965 speciﬁcally for educating children. Papert did not simply invent some technology, he oﬀered a revolutionary way of educating children. He gave teachers practical tools to realise constructionist develop mental theories in the classroom. We will show that Papert’s work forms a Kuhnian Paradigm which has endured for nearly 50 years and provides the foundation for all work with educational robots. The use of educational robots in special needs education was one of many beneﬁts that grew out of the resulting environment. The early robots designs didn’t pay attention the needs of this area of education. So early researchers used the available robots and started to ask and seek answers to relevant questions. We analyse this historical research and report on their ﬁndings. We ﬁnd modern research simply conﬁrms the original work. We will introduce the Papert Paradigm and show how it empathised with the changing attitudes towards special needs education. We look at a deepening understanding of the technology provided by the Educational Robot Application Principles. And by combining this information with the Universal Design for Learning ideas we ﬁnd a set of guidelines to help create better robots for special needs education.
Published in Technology, Knowledge and Learning – Springer Nature B.V. 2018 Full Text Available at https://rdcu.be/4ESz
Teaching programming and coding skills in K-12 classrooms is becoming a part of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs across the United States. Often, these opportunities are available through extra-curricular activities such as Robotics club, math club, STEM club, etc. Increasing STEM opportunities for students who are English language learners, culturally and linguistically diverse learners, and/or students from underserved backgrounds is vital. In a pilot study prior to a larger, grant-funded study on the effects of metacognitive strategy instruction on elementary students’ academic performance, the principal investigator (PI) developed an activity with a corresponding assessment instrument. The PI initially incorporated floor-robots into an activity in two fifth grade science classrooms. Pre/post survey analysis provided encouraging results. To follow up on the initial results, the PI and co-principal investigators (co-PIs) introduced floor-robots into eight additional fourth and fifth grade science classrooms over an additional school year, as well as in an after-school setting, to determine how floor-robots might be used effectively to engage elementary students in STEM learning. The investigators introduced over 257 elementary students to three types of floor-robots, and this provided students with opportunities to have hands-on access to programming and coding robots for specific purposes. Of the 257 students who interacted with the floor-robots, approximately 103 were provided with pre/post surveys on Roamer®, one of the floor-robots. Additional data analysis provided surprising and encouraging results. (more…)
In this excerpt from the Talking Turtle BBC Horizon Television Programme, researchers explain their success with using Turtle Robots with children with cerebral palsy. This is the first use of robots in special needs education. (more…)
13th to 16th July University of Warwick, UK
This video shows the presentation given by Dave Catlin on the 14th July, 2017.
If you search for definitions for Maker Space you will find words and phrases like enthusiasm, shared interest and technology. It represents a belief in the value of tinkering. Society has always respected the tinkerer and education have longed to bring their spirit to the classroom. Is it possible? How would you do it? This paper is an account of a school and a teacher who succeeding in achieving these goals. It records how he answered these questions and more importantly, how he created a Maker Space which helped deliver the curriculum, improve student test scores without suffocating the Maker Space spirit of adventure.
The new 2017 programs concerning primary school and middle school clearly mention computer algorithms and computer coding. We have seen that these two skills can be learned by programming certain mini-drones. This approach makes it possible to initiate all pupils, including those with special educational needs, not only into algorithms and computer coding, but also into other basic skills. (more…)
In 1986 Seymour Papert, the “father of Logo,” collaborated with award-winning film maker William Schwartz and Elizabeth Schwartz, who was Assistant Superintendent of the Ladue, Missouri School District, to produce Seymour Papert On Logo.
At the Constructionism Conference 2016, Bangkok, Thailand, Cynthia Solomon received a Lifetime Achievement Award. As one of the people involved from the start Cynthia took the opportunity to talk about the history of this remarkable project. This is a video of her presentation.
In 1983 a teacher and aspiring journalist Anth Ginn introduced me to the ideas of Seymour Papert and Turtle Robots. I loved it and set out to design my first educational robot. I was a mechanical engineer working on different contracts so I knew large numbers of talented people. I soon got a team together: Dave Ewins to do the electronics, Graham Carpenter for the software and Peter Pavlitski who organised the production. The result was the Valiant Turtle. The British Design Council included it their book the Best of British Design and I soon found out that education was how I wanted to spend my working life. We sold the last Turtle in about 2010 (we could not get the parts to make them anymore). A few days ago I came across Simon’s blog. He kindly let me add it to our records. I hope you find it interesting – Dave Catlin. (more…)
Catlin and Blamires proposed the “Educational Robotic Application (ERA) Principles”. These 10 principles give researchers, designers, educators and teachers a way of evaluating and comparing educational robots and their activities. The ‘Pedagogical Principle’ was one of these ideas. It stated you could use many different developmental theories to view and describe the learning involved. It also identified 28 (now 29) different ways you could use a robot in a classroom. Catlin and Blamires did not give a satisfactory explanation of the these methods. This paper corrects this. (more…)