Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

A Systematic Review on Exploring the Potential of Educational Robotics in Mathematics Education

  • Published:
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

By providing students with a highly interactive and hands-on learning experience, robotics promises to inspire a new generation of mathematical learning. This paper aims to review the empirical evidence on the application of robotics in mathematics education and to define future research perspectives of robot-assisted mathematics education. After a systematic search in online database via keyword search and snowballing approach, we analyzed 20 empirical studies on how to teach and learn mathematical knowledge through robotics. The results indicate that (1) most studies were conducted with a small sample size, the largest research groups were elementary school students and secondary school students, most studies used LEGO robots, robots were primarily applied to teach and/or learn graphics, geometry, and algebra, and almost half of the studies taught mathematics by engaging students in game-like interactions with robots; (2) half of the studies adopted a non-experimental research design, and most studies evaluated student performance through observation, test/examination, questionnaires, or verbal interviews; and (3) instructional implications proposed in the 20 papers can be clustered into four themes: human-robot interaction, connections between mathematics and real life, pedagogical suggestions, and facility conditions. The 20 papers suggest that robotics generally plays an active role in mathematics education; however, there are indeed situations in which no significant improvement was found in students’ mathematical learning. In view of this, we prospect the future research perspectives of robot-assisted mathematics education and propose that more rigorous intervention studies could be conducted to further explore the integration of robotics and mathematics education.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Adams, K. D., & Cook, A. M. (2017). Performing mathematics activities with non-standard units of measurement using robots controlled via speech-generating devices: Three case studies. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12(5), 491–503.

    Google Scholar 

  • Astleitner, H., & Wiesner, C. (2004). An integrated model of multimedia learning and motivation. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(1), 3–21.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benitti, F. B. V. (2012). Exploring the educational potential of robotics in schools: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 58(3), 978–988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bers, M. U., Flannery, L., Kazakoff, E. R., & Sullivan, A. (2014). Computational thinking and tinkering: Exploration of an early childhood robotics curriculum. Computers & Education, 72, 145–157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, L. N., & Howard, A. M. (2014). The positive effects of verbal encouragement in mathematics education using a social robot. In Proceedings of the 4th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (pp. 1–5). Princeton, NJ: IEEE.

  • Ceci, S. J., & Williams, W. M. (2010). Sex differences in math-intensive fields. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(5), 275–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen, G., Shen, J., Barth-Cohen, L., Jiang, S., Huang, X., & Eltoukhy, M. (2017). Assessing elementary students’ computational thinking in everyday reasoning and robotics programming. Computers & Education, 109, 162–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheryan, S., Master, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2015). Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing girls’ interest in computer science and engineering by diversifying stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clements, D. H., & Meredith, J. S. (1993). Research on Logo: Effects and efficacy. Journal of Computing in Childhood Education, 4(4), 263–290.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fernandes, E., Fermé, E., & Oliveira, R. (2009). The robot race: Understanding proportionality as a function with robots in mathematics class. In V. Durand-Guerrier, S. Soury-Lavergne, & F. Arzarello (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Congress of European Research in Mathematics Education (pp.1211–1220). Lyon, France: Institut National de Recherche Pedagogique.

  • Gomoll, A., Hmelo-Silver, C. E., Šabanović, S., & Francisco, M. (2016). Dragons, ladybugs, and softballs: Girls’ STEM engagement with human-centered robotics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(6), 899–914.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hwang, W. Y., & Wu, S. Y. (2014). A case study of collaboration with multi-robots and its effect on children’s interaction. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(4), 429–443.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, J. (2003). Children, robotics, and education. Artificial Life and Robotics, 7(1), 16–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Julià, C., & Antolí, J. Ò. (2016). Spatial ability learning through educational robotics. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 26(2), 185–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keren, G., Ben-David, A., & Fridin, M. (2012). Kindergarten Assistive Robotics (KAR) as a tool for spatial cognition development in pre-school education. In Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) (pp. 1084–1089). Algarve, Portugal: IEEE.

  • Keren, G., & Fridin, M. (2014). Kindergarten Social Assistive Robot (KindSAR) for children’s geometric thinking and metacognitive development in preschool education: A pilot study. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 400–412.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kitchenham, B. (2004). Procedures for performing systematic reviews. Keele, 33, 1–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kitchenham, B., Brereton, O. P., Budgen, D., Turner, M., Bailey, J., & Linkman, S. (2009). Systematic literature reviews in software engineering–a systematic literature review. Information and Software Technology, 51(1), 7–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kucuk, S., & Sisman, B. (2017). Behavioral patterns of elementary students and teachers in one-to-one robotics instruction. Computers & Education, 111, 31–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • La Paglia, F., La Cascia, C., Francomano, M. M., & La Barbera, D. (2017). Educational robotics to improve mathematical and metacognitive skills. Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine, 15(14), 70–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leonard, J., Buss, A., Gamboa, R., Mitchell, M., Fashola, O. S., Hubert, T., & Almughyirah, S. (2016). Using robotics and game design to enhance children’s self-efficacy, STEM attitudes, and computational thinking skills. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(6), 860–876.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lindh, J., & Holgersson, T. (2007). Does LEGO training stimulate pupils’ ability to solve logical problems? Computers & Education, 49(4), 1097–1111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mandin, S., De Simone, M., & Soury-Lavergne, S. (2017). Robot moves as tangible feedback in a mathematical game at primary school. Adv. Intell. Syst. Comput., 457, 245–257.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martin, F., Lurgio, M., & Coffey, D. (2006) Robotic jewelry: Inventing locally contextualized mathematics in a fourth grade classroom. In V. Dagiene & R. Mittermeir (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Informatics in Secondary Schools: Evolution and Perspectives (pp. 214–225). Vilnius, Lithuania: ISSEP.

  • Master, A., Cheryan, S., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2016). Computing whether she belongs: Stereotypes undermine girls’ interest and sense of belonging in computer science. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(3), 424–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Master, A., Cheryan, S., Moscatelli, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2017). Programming experience promotes higher STEM motivation among first-grade girls. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 160, 92–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Menekse, M., Higashi, R., Schunn, C. D., & Baehr, E. (2017). The role of robotics teams’ collaboration quality on team performance in a robotics tournament. Journal of Engineering Education, 106(4), 564–584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mitnik, R., Nussbaum, M., & Soto, A. (2008). An autonomous educational mobile robot mediator. Autonomous Robots, 25(4), 367–382.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mubin, O., Stevens, C. J., Shahid, S., Al Mahmud, A., & Dong, J. J. (2013). A review of the applicability of robots in education. Technology for Education and Learning, 1, 1–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nickels, M., & Cullen, C. J. (2017). Mathematical thinking and learning through robotics play for children with critical illness: The case of Amelia. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 48(1), 22–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nussbaum, M., & Soto, A. (2009). Collaborative robotic instruction: A graph teaching experience. Computers & Education, 53(2), 330–342.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Padayachee, K., Gouws, P. M., & Lemmer, M. (2015). Evaluating the effectiveness of LEGO robots in engaged scholarship. In Proceedings of the Annual Global Online Conference on Information and Computer Technology (GOCICT) (pp. 16–20). Louisville, KY: IEEE.

  • Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc.

  • Pinto, A. H., Tozadore, D. C., & Romero, R. A. (2015). A question game for children aiming the geometrical figures learning by using a humanoid robot. In Proceedings of the 12th Latin American Robotics Symposium and Third Brazilian Symposium on Robotics (pp. 228–233). Uberlandia, Brazil: IEEE.

  • Ponce, P., Molina, A., Hernández, L., Acha, E., Morales, B., & Huitron, C. (2017). Teaching math in elementary schools by LabVIEW and LEGO robots. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, 13, 255–270.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rhine, D., & Martin, F. (2008). Integrating mathematical analysis of sensors and motion in a mobile robotics course. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 5090, 41–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rusk, N., Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Pezalla-Granlund, M. (2008). New pathways into robotics: Strategies for broadening participation. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(1), 59–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shankar, R., Ploger, D., Nemeth, A., & Hecht, S. A. (2013). Robotics: Enhancing pre-college mathematics learning with real-world examples. In Proceedings of the120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (pp. 1–17). Atlanta, GA: ASEE.

  • Shih, B. Y., Chang, C. J., Chen, Y. H., Chen, C. Y., & Liang, Y. D. (2012). LEGO NXT information on test dimensionality using Kolb’s innovative learning cycle. Natural Hazards, 64(2), 1527–1548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Toh, L. P. E., Causo, A., Tzuo, P. W., Chen, I., & Yeo, S. H. (2016). A review on the use of robots in education and young children. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(2), 148–163.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trochim, W. M. K., & Donnelly, J. P. (2006). Research methods knowledge base (3rd ed.). Mason: Thomson. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/.

  • Walker, E., Girotto, V., Kim, Y., & Muldner, K. (2016). The effects of physical form and embodied action in a teachable robot for geometry learning. In J. M. Spector et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) (pp. 381–385). Austin, TX: CPS.

  • Wei, C. W., Hung, I. C., Lee, L., & Chen, N. S. (2011). A joyful classroom learning system with robot learning companion for children to learn mathematics multiplication. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(2), 11–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yelland, N. J. (1994). The strategies and interactions of young children in Logo tasks. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 10(1), 33–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This work was financially supported by the “2011 Plan of Jiangsu: Collaborative Innovation Center for Strengthen Moral Education and Cultivate People, Nanjing Normal University”.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Liying Xia.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 2 General information of the reviewed papers
Table 3 Study design and major findings

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhong, B., Xia, L. A Systematic Review on Exploring the Potential of Educational Robotics in Mathematics Education. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 18, 79–101 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-018-09939-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-018-09939-y

Keywords

Navigation