A Training Course in Educational Robotics for Learning Support Teachers

  • Francesca Agatolio
  • Monica Pivetti
  • Silvia Di Battista
  • Emanuele Menegatti
  • Michele Moro
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 560)


This paper discusses the new implementation of a strengthened introductory training course in Educational Robotics for pre-service and in-service learning support teachers. By means of a final written questionnaire we compare the results of the course in 2015 with this year course, when the number of hours were doubled. This year participants expressed a higher appreciation and a better attitude towards robotics. Teachers agreed on the conviction that robotics can enhance students’ motivation to learning and that educational robotics sustains a new point of view on science for teachers. Regarding the implementation in class, approximately two third of the participants declare they had already an idea on how to integrate robotics in curricula. More specifically, participants named ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders), ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), learning disabilities, mild mental retardation as aspects that can be effectively addressed by ER.


Educational robotics Learning support teacher Special needs education Inclusive education Teacher training Course evaluation 



We thank the director of the Specialization course for teaching support of disabilities for the opportunity of the ER lab. This work was partly supported by the project: ERASM: Educational robotics as a validated mindtool: methodology, platforms, and an experimental protocol, code: CPDA145094, funded by the University of Padova.


  1. 1.
    Oliver, R.: The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education. In: Proceedings of the Higher Education for the 21st Century Conference, Curtin (2003)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Voogt, J.: Consequences of ICT for aims, contents, processes, and environments of learning. In: van den Akker, J., et al. (eds.) Curriculum Landscapes and Trends, pp. 217–236. Springer, Netherlands (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Avvisati, F., Hennessy, S., Kozma, R.B., Vincent-Lancrin, S.: Review of the Italian strategy for Digital Schools. OECD Education, Working Papers 90. OECD Publishing (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Istenic Starcic, A., Bagon, S.: ICT supported learning for inclusion of people with special needs: review of seven educational technology journals, 1970–2011. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 45(2), 202–230 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brodin, J., Lindstrand, P.: What about ICT in special education? Special educators evaluate information and communication technology as a learning tool. Eur. J. Spec. Needs Educ. 18(1), 71–87 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Watkins, A.: Information and communication technology (ICT) in special needs education (SNE). European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Course, Specialized Training: ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs. UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) (2006)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Williams, P., Jamali, H.R., David, N.: Using ICT with people with special education needs: what the literature tells us. Aslib Proc. 58(4), 330–345 (2006). Emerald Group Publishing LimitedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Florian, L., Hegarty, J.: ICT and Special Educational Needs: A Tool for Inclusion. McGraw-Hill Education, UK (2004)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Valtonen, T., Hacklin, S., Kontkanen, S., Hartikainen-Ahia, A., Kärkkäinen, S., Kukkonen, J.: Pre-service teachers’ experiences of using social software applications for collaborative inquiry. Comput. Educ. 69, 85–95 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Singleton, C.: Using computer-based assessment to identify learning problems. In: ICT and Special Educational Needs: A Tool for Inclusion, pp. 46–63 (2004)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bittencourt, I.I., Baranauskas, M.C., Dermeval, D., Braga, J., Pereira, R.: Designing for different users and multiple devices: a roadmap towards inclusive environments. In: Kotzé, P., Marsden, G., Lindgaard, G., Wesson, J., Winckler, M. (eds.) INTERACT 2013, Part I. LNCS, vol. 8117, pp. 605–622. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-40483-2_43 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Di Battista, S., Menegatti, E., Moro, M., Pivetti, M.: Introducing educational robotics through a short lab in the training of future support teachers. In: 6th International Conference on Robotics in Education, RiE 2015. Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland (2015)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eguchi, A.: Educational robotics for promoting 21st century skills. J. Autom. Mob. Robot. Intell. Syst. 8(1), 5–11 (2014)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Karna-Lin, E., Pihlainen-Bednarik, K., Sutinen, E., Virnes, M.: Can robots teach? Preliminary results on educational robotics in special education. In: Sixth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2006), pp. 319–321. IEEE (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Virnes, M., Sutinen, E., Krn-Lin, E.: How children’s individual needs challenge the design of educational robotics. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 274–281. ACM (2008)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Alimisis, D., Arlegui, J., Fava, N., Frangou, S., Ionita, S., Menegatti, E., Monfalcon, S., Moro, M., Papanikolaou, K., Pina, A.: Introducing robotics to teachers and schools: experiences from the TERECoP project. In: Clayson, J., Kalas, I. (eds.) Proceedings for Constructionism, Paris, France, pp. 16–20 (2010)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mikropoulos, T.A., Bellou, I.: Educational robotics as mindtools. Themes Sci. Technol. Educ. 6(1), 5–14 (2013)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Demo, G.B., Moro, M., Pina, A., Arlegui, A.: In and out of the school activities implementing IBSE and constructionist learning methodologies by means of robotics. In: Robots in K-12 Education: A New Technology for Learning, pp. 66–92 (2012)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., Sang, G., Voogt, J., Fisser, P., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A.: Preparing pre-service teachers to integrate technology in education: a synthesis of qualitative evidence. Comput. Educ. 59(1), 134–144 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
    Alimisis, D.: Educational robotics: open questions and new challenges. Themes Sci. Technol. Educ. 6(1), 63–71 (2013)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Urschitz, T., Moro, M.: Low threshold: how inclusive is Constructionism? In: Futschek, G., Kynigos, C. (eds.) Proceedings of the International Conference on Constructionism 2014, Wien, pp. 299–308 (2014)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Moro, M., Menegatti, E., Sella, F., Perona, M.: Imparare con la robotica. Applicazione di problem solving. Edizioni Centro Studi Erickson, Trento (2011)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Alimisis, D., et al.: Teacher education on robotics-enhanced constructivist pedagogical method. School of pedagogical and technological education, Athens (2009)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cacco, L., Moro, M.: When a bee meets a sunflower. In: Proceedings of 4th International Workshop Teaching Robotics Teaching with Robotics and 5th International Conference on Robotics in Education, Padova, Italy, pp. 68–75 (2014)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Silva, S., Soares, F., Pereira, A.P., Costa, S., Moreira, F.: Robotic tool to improve skills in children with ASD: a preliminary study. Int. J. Life Sci. Med. Res. 3(4), 162 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Albo-Canals, J., Heerink, M., Diaz, M., Padillo, V., Maristany, M., Barco, A., et al.: Comparing two LEGO robotics-based interventions for social skills training with children with ASD. In: 2013 IEEE RO-MAN, pp. 638–643. IEEE (2013)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Osgood, C.E., Suci, G.J., Tannenbaum, P.H.: The Measurement of Meaning. University of Illinois Press, Urbana (1957)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Benitti, F.B.V.: Exploring the educational potential of robotics in schools: a systematic review. Comput. Educ. 58(3), 978–988 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mama, M., Hennessy, S.: Developing a typology of teacher beliefs and practices concerning classroom use of ICT. Comput. Educ. 68, 380–387 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Agatolio
    • 1
  • Monica Pivetti
    • 2
  • Silvia Di Battista
    • 2
  • Emanuele Menegatti
    • 1
  • Michele Moro
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’InformazioneUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Psicologiche, della Salute e del TerritorioUniversity G. d’Annunzio of Chieti-PescaraChietiItaly

Personalised recommendations