Non-sequential Learning in a Robotics Class: Insights from the Engagement of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This case study focused on the robotics learning process of Mark (a pseudonym), a Latino-American second grader diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Drawing on Polanyi’s (Personal knowledge: towards a post-critical philosophy [Kindle version], 1958/2015) notion of “tacit knowing” and “dwelling in tools,” we attempted to understand Mark’s unique processes and ways of engaging in learning about a Light Sensor by pursuing two research questions: (a) How does Mark, with his unique behavioral and socio-emotional characteristics, engage in the robotics class? (b) What insights can we gain from his inquiry as we develop responsive robotics education? Findings revealed that Mark used a non-sequential inquiry process filled with repetitive free explorations and unexpected expanded inquiries about the Light Sensor. This non-sequential inquiry process highlighted that dwelling with robotic manipulatives was Mark’s distinct ways of exploring the Light Sensor. His non-sequential inquiry process emerged from his tacit engagement and expanded to his sophisticated and holistic understanding of the Light Sensor. We discuss implications for a robotics education program that is responsive to young children with diverse needs and characteristics.
KeywordsEarly childhood robotics education STEM Autism spectrum disorder Non-sequential learning Tacit engagement
- Alimisis, D. (2013). Educational robotics: Open questions and new challenges. Themes in Science and Technology Education, 6(1), 63–71.Google Scholar
- Chandra, V. (2014). Developing students’ technological literacy through robotics activities. Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 22(3), 24–29.Google Scholar
- Eguchi, A. (2014). Robotics as a learning tool for educational transformation. In the 4th International Workshop Teaching Robotics. Paper presented at Teaching with Robotics & 5th International Conference Robotics in Education (pp. 27–34). Padova.Google Scholar
- Elkin, M., Sullivan, A., & Bers, M. U. (2014). Implementing a robotics curriculum in an early childhood Montessori classroom. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 13, 153–169.Google Scholar
- Gourlay, S. (2002). Tacit knowledge, tacit knowing, or behaving? Retrieved from http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/2293/1/Gourlay%202002%20tacit%20knowledge.pdf.
- Grant, K. A. (2007). Tacit knowledge revisited—we can still learn from Polanyi. The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(2), 173–180.Google Scholar
- Graue, M. E., & Walsh, D. J. (1998). Studying children in context: Theories, methods, and ethics. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Huskens, B., Verschuur, R., Gillesen, J., Didden, R., & Barakova, E. (2013). Promoting question-asking in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders: Effectiveness of a robot intervention compared to a human-trainer intervention. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 16(5), 345–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kats, Y., & Kuhn, J. (2015). Robotics-based course design for autism spectrum disorder. In S. Carliner, C. Fulford & N. Ostashewski (Eds.), EdMedia. Paper Presented at World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 1010–1015). Montreal: AACE.Google Scholar
- Lederman, N. G., Lederman, J. S., & Antink, A. (2013). Nature of science and scientific inquiry as contexts for the learning of science and achievement of scientific literacy. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 1(3), 138–147.Google Scholar
- Lee, O., & Buxton, C. A. (2010). Diversity and equity in science education: Research, policy, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
- Legare, H., Gose, R., & Guess, C. (2015). Examining the development of scientific reasoning in context. In D. M. Sobel & J. L. Jipson (Eds.), Cognitive development in museum settings: Relating research and practice (pp. 138–156). Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. E. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism (pp. 1–11). Norwood: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
- Piaget, J. (1973). The psychology of intelligence. Totowa: Littlefield, Adams and Cooperation.Google Scholar
- Polanyi, M. (1958/2015). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy [Kindle version]. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/97802262332768.001.0001.
- Polanyi, M. (1966). The tacit dimension. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Visser, W. (2010). Schön: Design as a reflective practice. Art & design & psychology. Retrieved from https://hal.inria.fr/file/index/docid/604634/filename/Visser_Collection2_Schoen.pdf.
- Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. K. (1989). Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Zion, M., & Mendelovici, R. (2012). Moving from structured to open inquiry: Challenges and limits. Science Education International, 23(4), 383–399.Google Scholar