June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.1679.1 - 26.1679.20
Using Robotics as the Technological Foundation for the TPACK Framework in K-12 Classrooms In recent years, educators’ increasing reliance on technology has led to the development of aconceptual framework for teaching known as TPACK, which incorporates three keycomponents: technology, pedagogy, and content. The TPACK framework exploits synergisticinteractions among these three knowledge domains to emphasize the use of technology as aneffective pedagogical tool for creating and presenting novel representation of knowledge that canbe readily accessible to students. In this paper, we consider the use of the LEGO Mindstormsrobotics kit that can allow teachers to create unique and varied representations of disciplinarycontent in math and science. Three examples illustrate the use of LEGO Mindstorms roboticskits as a pedagogical tool to convey fundamental concepts in math and science.Many students have difficulties comprehending the law of energy conservation due to its abstractnature. A major source of students’ complications stems from their inability to visualize a systemcontaining both kinetic and potential energy, simultaneously. Using robotics provides anopportunity to create an engaging and visual representation of such a system. Specifically, azipline robot can be constructed to move under the force of gravity along an inclined ziplinepath. Instrumenting the robot with an ultrasonic sensor and using a program to wirelessly pollsensor data allows the robot’s height and speed to be evaluated at any position. The energy statesof the robot can be calculated at any two or more locations to visualize and verify that the totalmechanical energy is conserved. Therefore, using robotics provides a useful tool for representinginformation that is ill suited for manual representation.Robotics provides a suitable platform for representing many biological concepts as well. Forexample, many species demonstrate different types of locomotion, often explained by biologicaladaptation. Similar to the previous example, there are many challenges in demonstratingcharacteristics of biological adaptation. However, through the use of robotics students canmanipulate and simulate the significance of different anatomical features. Specifically, a four-legged walking robot can be used to demonstrate advantages of locomotive features for animalsin an arctic habitat. Students can design different types of feet for the robot and analyze itsperformance in walking across different surfaces that represent the arctic environment. The netdistance traveled and stability of the robot can be used as performance measures to contrastdifferent anatomical features of the animals. This novel instantiation of TPACK to roboticsdemonstrates the advantages of using technology as an essential pedagogical tool in biology.As technology permeates into the teaching of fundamental mathematical concepts, roboticsoffers a captivating means to address many pedagogical issues that are intrinsically ofmathematical nature. Many students struggle with recognizing trends in mathematical sequencesdue to their complex nature. Yet, the use of technology, such as robotics, can allow students tovisualize seemingly unrecognizable patterns. One illustrative example to address this issue is amobile robot that is programmed to drive along a path representative of the Fibonacci sequence.To allow the LEGO Mindstorms controller to understand the instruction set, the sequence issimplified into basic algebraic equations. The outline of the resulting path is traced with anattachment on the robot to enhance the visualization of the sequence’s rapid expansion. In thismanner, robotics serves as a powerful teaching tool to enhance students’ pattern recognitionskills and improve their understanding of mathematical sequences.The above lessons illustrate how robotics can be used as a technological tool within the TPACKframework. Such lessons allow fundamental concepts in math and science to be presented in newand effective ways. The full version of this paper will further elaborate on each lesson, includeclassroom assessment of the lessons, and provide recommendations for future work.
Brill, A. S., & Listman, J. B., & Kapila, V. (2015, June), Using Robotics as the Technological Foundation for the TPACK Framework in K-12 Classrooms Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25015
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