e-ProBotLab: Design and Evaluation of an Open Educational Robotics Platform
The purpose of this chapter is the overview of an educational robotic platform called e-ProBotLab (early Programming Robots Laboratory), which constitutes a laboratory prototype for the construction and programming of robotic devices, suitable for the development of computational thinking through the use of robotics in education. The e-ProBotLab platform constitutes a programming and robotics learning framework through practice. It was developed by the ICT in education research group (ICTE Group) of the department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education of the University of Patras. The platform allows preschool students to program the robotic construction in a playful way, while the open-source technology used enables older students to construct the robotic device on their own, possibly with the aid of the instructor. Through the engagement with this platform, children are taught introductory concepts of mathematics, computer engineering, and programming.
In the first part of the chapter, the architecture of the platform is presented, and there is reference to its key components with respect to the hardware and software that support it. The second part of the chapter focuses on the pedagogical use of the platform. More specifically, a context of educational scenarios is presented, regarding both the programming and the construction part of educational robotics, and aims at the introduction of students to basic principles of mathematics, engineering electronics, and programming through the educational approach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). In particular, this context is organized in two axes: (a) the robot programming through a visual programming language from children of preschool and primary-school age and (b) the reproduction of the robotic construction by older children.
KeywordsEducational robotics Robotic construction Visual programming STEM Instructional intervention
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