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Effect of Robotics on Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Self-Efficacy, Science Learning, and Computational Thinking

Abstract

The current impetus for increasing STEM in K-12 education calls for an examination of how preservice teachers are being prepared to teach STEM. This paper reports on a study that examined elementary preservice teachers’ (n = 21) self-efficacy, understanding of science concepts, and computational thinking as they engaged with robotics in a science methods course. Data collection methods included pretests and posttests on science content, prequestionnaires and postquestionnaires for interest and self-efficacy, and four programming assignments. Statistical results showed that preservice teachers’ interest and self-efficacy with robotics increased. There was a statistically significant difference between preknowledge and postknowledge scores, and preservice teachers did show gains in learning how to write algorithms and debug programs over repeated programming tasks. The findings suggest that the robotics activity was an effective instructional strategy to enhance interest in robotics, increase self-efficacy to teach with robotics, develop understandings of science concepts, and promote the development of computational thinking skills. Study findings contribute quantitative evidence to the STEM literature on how robotics develops preservice teachers’ self-efficacy, science knowledge, and computational thinking skills in higher education science classroom contexts.

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Correspondence to Kamini Jaipal-Jamani.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and national ethics research council and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Pre/Postassessment of Science Concepts

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Appendix 2

Interest Questionnaire

Table 1 We are interested in learning about your attitude toward programming, robotics and using robotics in teaching. Read the statements below and check the box that describes your opinion

Appendix 3

Self-efficacy for Teaching Robotics Questionnaire

figureb

Appendix 4

Sample Programming Worksheet for Robot 1

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Jaipal-Jamani, K., Angeli, C. Effect of Robotics on Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Self-Efficacy, Science Learning, and Computational Thinking. J Sci Educ Technol 26, 175–192 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-016-9663-z

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Keywords

  • Science education
  • Robotics
  • Preservice teachers
  • Self-efficacy
  • Computational thinking