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Programming in a robotics context in the kindergarten classroom: The impact on sequencing skills

This paper examines the impact of computer programming of robots on sequencing ability in early childhood and the relationship between sequencing skills, class size, and teacher’s comfort level and experience with technology. Fifty-eight children participated in the study, 54 of whom were included in data analysis. This study was conducted in two different school environments, where both class size and teacher’s experiences with the technology used varied – one teacher had used the system for the prior year, the other teacher had not. School environments were further subdivided into control and experimental groups. Kindergarten children in the experimental group were exposed to the TangibleK program for a period of twenty hours, taught by their classroom teacher. Children participated in computer programming activities using a developmentally appropriate tangible programming language, specifically designed to program a robot’s behaviors. All fifty-four participants sequencing skills were assessed before and after the intervention using a picture story sequencing task and analyzed using a repeated measures, 2x2x2 design ANOVA. A significant interaction was found between group assignment and test results. No significant interactions were found for school assignment. Results are discussed taking into account class size, teacher experience, and teacher comfort level with technology.