Computational Design Thinking and Physical Computing: Preliminary Observations of a Pilot Study
Category: Robotics
Published: 10/09/2020
Journal: Robotics 9(3), 71 - MDPI AG.
Authors: Alden, Dochshanov, Michela Tramonti
FotografiaToday’s technological development inevitably defies educational approaches in terms of future demand for skills to be imparted. Among other skills, the capacity to operate and communicate effectively within multidisciplinary realms is duly considered as the fundamental one. Educational robotics (ER) and STEM do constitute a suitable framework for the development of these specific skills. Moreover, competences such as computational (CT) and design thinking (DT) have already been nominated as necessary to adapt to the future and relevant for innovation. The years of independent development and evidence of practical implementation justify the maturity of the related methodological approaches and emerging gradual shift towards their combination. In this regard, the actual work presents a pilot experience of the combined application of computational design thinking and educational robotics in the case of a 9-to-11-year-old target audience. The approach utilizes a novel platform developed under the project Coding4Girls combining design thinking and game-based learning and introduces physical computing through consecutive assembling and programming an IR-controlled robot-car. The core of the learning path consists in the development of primary programming skills and their gradual transfer into the physical realm. The method, as the study demonstrates, is capable of helping keep students both motivated and result-oriented throughout the duration of the course.

Keywords: computational thinking; design thinking; STEM; physical computing; robotics education; coding; multidisciplinarity

How to cite this paper:
Alden, D., & Tramonti, M. (2020). Computational Design Thinking and Physical Computing: Preliminary Observations of a Pilot Study. Robotics, 9(3), 71. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/robotics9030071