Learning to Build, Building to Learn: Robotic Programming in Early Childhood
This is a challenging time for early childhood education (K-2). On the one hand, there is increasing, federally-mandated pressure placed on the education of young children, particularly in the fields of math, science, engineering, and technology. On the other hand, there is growing concern to respect the developmental capabilities of young children when presenting such content.
The TangibleK project is an interdisciplinary, NSF-funded project to investigate the use of innovative new technology in early elementary school. In particular, we focus on computer programming and robotics with the goal of understanding what is developmentally appropriate for young children in light of novel human-computer interaction techniques that provide more age-appropriate access to technology.
In this talk, I will discuss my work on the TangibleK project, including the design of an innovative programming environment called CHERP (Creative Hybrid Environment for Robotic Programming), a hybrid tangible/graphical computer language. I will also present preliminary results of our usability studies and intervention, as well as future directions for this work.