The Use of Lego Technologies in Elementary Teacher Preparation
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- Hadjiachilleos, S., Avraamidou, L. & Papastavrou, S. J Sci Educ Technol (2013) 22: 614. doi:10.1007/s10956-012-9418-4
The need to reform science teacher preparation programs has been pointed out in research (Bryan and Abell in J Res Sci Teach 36:121–140, 1999; Bryan and Atwater in Sci Educ 8(6):821–839, 2002; Harrington and Hathaway in J Teach Educ 46(4):275–284, 1995). Science teachers are charged with the responsibility of incorporating both cognitive and non-cognitive parameters in their everyday teaching practices. This often results in their reluctance to teach science because they often lack disciplinary and/or pedagogical expertise required to promote science learning. The purpose of this study is to propose an alternative instructional approach in which Lego vehicles were used as a tool to promote pre-service elementary teachers’ development and to examine whether there are non-cognitive parameters that promote or obstruct them from using Lego Technologies as a teaching tool. The context of the study was defined by a teacher preparation program of a private university in a small Mediterranean country. A sample of 28 pre-service elementary teachers, working in five 5–6-member groups were involved in scientific inquiries, during which they had to use vehicles in order to solve scientific problems related to concepts such as gear functioning, force, and motion. The nature of their cognitive engagement in the scientific inquiry process, non-cognitive parameters contributing to their cognitive engagement, and the impact of their involvement in the process on their development were examined through qualitative analysis of pre- and post-inquiry interviews, presentations of their solutions to the scientific problems and of their personal reflective journals.