Gearing up for Robotics
This naturalistic, qualitative research investigated the extent and depth to which the perceived embedded educational skills and concepts associated with gears in a robotics environment were realized. The research literature revealed a paucity and confusion of description and definition of gears, and a lack of articulation of the embedded skills associated with gears. Based on some seminal research papers, a novel skills grid was developed as a measuring instrument, against which deep mining of the knowledge progress of the understanding of gears of four teachers was observed. The analysis of results pertaining to considered gear integration in the construction of a robot revealed that learning does not occur serendipitously and, unless taught overtly, the opportunities for the learning of gear concepts are often missed or deliberately bypassed. This lack of desire to learn about, and consider gear integration in constructions, could be attributed to confusion of interpretation of a non-contextualised ratio, or more deeply, the confusion of ratio representation in rational number and colon formats.