The Educational Impacts of Learning to Code in Elementary School
It is almost universally agreed that children must know how to code. We present a review of experiments in using digital support to teach coding in Canadian and Greek schools. Why focus on this topic in particular? Because in a world where new forms of technology are encroaching ever more deeply into our lives, where software and apps have become essential, and where the ability to grasp and navigate through computing environments promises to become yet more essential in years to come, it is indispensable for schools to equip students to appropriate the world they will inhabit. This is exactly what some countries, including Great Britain, France, and some Canadian provinces, are doing by making coding a mandatory competency starting in elementary school. Thus, an army of robots has invaded classrooms from America to Europe and Asia. Their names are NAO, Bee-Bot, Dash and Dot, Lego Mindstorm, Lego WeDo 2.0, Rolling Spider Drone, Thymioll, Ollie, Probot, Learning Resources’ Programmable Robot Mouse, Jumping Sumo, Ozobot, Edison, Raspberry Pi, and Sphero. But many are wondering if these robots have real potential for learning. In this presentation, we describe some actual learning situations in elementary schools in Canada and Greece where simulation software and robots are helping teachers and students learn to code. We present the results of several exploratory studies conducted under the Canada Research Chair on Technologies in Education, and we spotlight some innovative ways to apply these tools in the classroom.
Khanlari, A. (2016). Teachers’ perceptions of the benefits and the challenges of integrating educational robots into primary/elementary curricula. European Journal of Engineering Education, 41(3), 320-330. doi:10.1080/03043797.2015.1056106 Moreno-León, J., Robles, G., & Román-González, M. (2016). Code to learn: Where does it belong in the K-12 curriculum? Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 15(2016), 283-303. Shim, J., Kwon, D., & Lee, W. (2016). The effects of a robot game environment on computer programming education for elementary school students. IEEE Transactions on Education, doi:10.1109/TE.2016.2622227