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Design and Impact of a Teacher Training Course, and Attitude Change Concerning Educational Robotics

Abstract

Current initiatives and laboratories concerning Educational Robotics (ER) are often not based on strong pedagogical backgrounds. Additionally, they are carried out by inadequately trained teachers, and are not evaluated properly in terms of effectiveness. Moreover, according to teachers, ER usability is often neglected. The main goal of the present article is to present a training course on ER (Edu.Ro.Co.), grounded in pedagogical insights, and to discuss the results of the course and teacher’s opinion about ER in terms of: (i) teachers’ attitudes and perceptions of using ER; (ii) the potential impact of ER on students’ key competences for lifelong learning; and (iii) strengths and weaknesses of ER. These aspects were analysed by means of questionnaires specifically designed by the authors, and administered before and after the training course. A total of 339 teachers attended the training course and 254 completed the questionnaires. The article describes the methodology utilised in the realisation of the course and analyses the questionnaire’s results. In particular, the number of teachers that considered themselves prepared to apply ER significantly improved after the training course. ER is considered by teachers an important tool for the improvement of students’ motivation, planning skills, team working, problem solving and creativity development. Finally, the results from questionnaires indicate that teachers consider ER, a method that improves team-working abilities and motivation in the students. In contrast, the main disadvantage is the cost of the robotic kits. Based on these results, new directions for future research in ER are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially funded by the Tuscany Region. The authors would like to thank all the teachers involved in the training course.

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Correspondence to Francesca Cecchi.

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Funding:

This study was partially funded by the Tuscany Region.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Castro, E., Cecchi, F., Salvini, P. et al. Design and Impact of a Teacher Training Course, and Attitude Change Concerning Educational Robotics. Int J of Soc Robotics 10, 669–685 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-018-0475-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-018-0475-6

Keywords

  • Educational Robotics
  • Training course
  • Pedagogy
  • STEM
  • Teacher attitude