Robot programming versus block play in early childhood education: Effects on computational thinking, sequencing ability, and self-regulation

Weipeng YANG, Davy Tsz Kit NG, Hongyu GAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Programmable robotics is recently used in early childhood education (ECE) to introduce programming and computational thinking (CT) skills. However, there is a further need for research to contrast the efficacy of children's participation in robot programming and traditionally beneficial ECE activities. The present study thus investigated the effects of a robot programming intervention versus a block play program on kindergarteners' CT, sequencing ability, and self-regulation. The experiment (robot programming) versus comparison (block play) condition was randomly assigned to four kindergarten classes, which included 101 kindergarteners (M = 64.78 months, SD = 7.64). Statistical analyses revealed that the robot programming group (N = 54) had experienced greater gains over time in sequencing ability relative to those in the block play group (N = 47; F = 5.09, p < 0.05). Children in the robot programming group with lower level of self-regulation at baseline showed larger improvements in sequencing ability over time relative to the block play group (F = 2.37, p = 0.01). Also, children in the robot programming group with older age showed larger improvements in CT over time relative to the block play group (F = 2.40, p < 0.01). The study demonstrates the positive benefits of robot programming to early childhood development in terms of CT and sequencing ability, compared to a traditional curriculum activity in ECE—block play. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Early online date30 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2022

Citation

Yang, W., Ng, D. T. K., & Gao, H. (2022). Robot programming versus block play in early childhood education: Effects on computational thinking, sequencing ability, and self-regulation.
British Journal of Educational Technology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/bjet.13215

Keywords

  • Block play
  • Computational thinking
  • Robot programming
  • Self-regulation
  • Sequencing ability

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