Coding as a playground: Promoting positive learning experiences in childhood classrooms
Marina U. Bers, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. Computer Science Department. Tufts University, United States ; Carina González-González, Mª Belén Armas–Torres, Department of Computer Engineering and Systems, Spain
Computers & Education Volume 138, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
In recent years, there has been a push to introduce coding and computational thinking in early childhood education, and robotics is an excellent tool to achieve this. However, the integration of these fundamental skills into formal and official curriculums is still a challenge and educators needs pedagogical perspectives to properly integrate robotics, coding and computational thinking concepts into their classrooms. Thus, this study evaluates a “coding as a playground” experience in keeping with the Positive Technological Development (PTD) framework with the KIBO robotics kit, specially designed for young children. The research was conducted with preschool children aged 3–5 years old (N = 172) from three Spanish early childhood centers with different socio-economic characteristics and teachers of 16 classes. Results confirm that it is possible to start teaching this new literacy very early (at 3 years old). Furthermore, the results show that the strategies used promoted communication, collaboration and creativity in the classroom settings. The teachers also exhibited autonomy and confidence to integrate coding and computational thinking into their formal curricular activities, connecting concepts with art, music and social studies. Through the evidence found in this study, this research contributes with examples of effective strategies to introduce robotics, coding and computational thinking into early childhood classrooms.
Bers, M.U., González-González, C. & Armas–Torres, M.B. (2019). Coding as a playground: Promoting positive learning experiences in childhood classrooms. Computers & Education, 138(1), 130-145. Elsevier Ltd.