Fabric Robotics - Lessons Learned Introducing Soft Robotics in a Computational Thinking Course for Children

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Abstract

In this paper we present findings from the current and last year’s season of a CT course: we investigated how soft materials enriched learning of CT in relation to embedded systems and creative thinking practices. We also addressed gender biases in the course, as we observed how boys and the few girls in the course responded to the practices related to fabric prototyping and sewing, when moving from LEGO Mindstorms to wearable devices and soft robotics. Data gathering was conducted following a qualitative approach, based on ethnography combining note taking, observations, pictures of the children artifacts and live drawings of the children in action. We observed changes that occurred in creativity, project context, in the hardware and debugging, flexibility and reusability, in addition to the gender balance. We also analyze the play moods observed in the children. The main contribution of the paper is to detail our approach, the methods used in the observations and analysis, and our findings, for the benefit of other institutions and groups striving to design CT curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
PublisherSpringer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Soft Robotics
  • Educational Robotics
  • Computational Thinking
  • CT
  • K-12
  • Curriculum Design
  • Gender
  • Microcontroller Platforms
  • Circuit Playground Express
  • LEGO Mindstorms EV3

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