Why Using Robots to Teach Computer Science can be Successful Theoretical Reflection to Andragogy and Minimalism

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Title: Why Using Robots to Teach Computer Science can be Successful Theoretical Reflection to Andragogy and Minimalism
Author: Koski, Marja-Ilona; Kurhila, Jaakko; Pasanen, Tomi A.
Date: 2008-11-07
Language: en
Belongs to series: SERIES OF PUBLICATIONS C - C-2008-206
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/1196
Abstract: To help students understand subjects such as theoretical aspects of computation, algorithmic reasoning and intelligence of machines, a number of publications report experiments to teach these topics with the help of Lego Mindstorms robots. In the publications, the researchers report how they have created various ways to approach the issues either in Computer Science or in Artificial Intelligence. The reported results of the experiments are based on the learning outcomes, the feedback from the students, and the perceived informal observations (i.e. “feelings”) of the instructors. But can anyone else benefit from the reportedly positive outcomes of the experiments? To give an answer to that question, this paper analyses the reported results through two support theories. The two theories chosen for this, andragogy and minimalism, are concerned with adult learning and how teaching adults should be approached. When reflecting the results of the four teaching experiments to the suggestions drawn from the theories, a more comprehensive answer to why the experiments have been successful can be given. The four teaching experiments analysed here were in many ways similar to each other. A connection to the chosen support theories was straightforward to make. Besides describing the artefacts of teaching with the robots, a deeper discussion on this teaching approach is provided. For an instructor, all these observations offer more concrete evidence about beneficial factors of teaching with robots.
Description: Categories and Subject Descriptors K.3.1 [Computers and Education]: Computer Uses in Education – collaborative learning; K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information Science Education – computer science education, self-assessment
Subject: Robots
teaching experiment
adult learning theories
adult education

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