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Playful Robotics Investigations in Early Childhood Education

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Explore and create : Playground

This is presentation 1 of 3, at station "Early Learning Network Playground Station 4" within the playground "It’s Center Time with the Early Learning Network!"; scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Dr. Mary Meadows  
Basiyr Rodney  

This session will present meaningful learning experiences involving robotics investigations with kindergarten children along with outcomes of a case study designed to evaluate the impact on cognition. Learn techniques for engaging young learners in an immersive and interactive experience involving robots.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to share how, through playful robotics, children create computer based Microworlds that demonstrate autonomy and mastery over technology. In this presentation, we examine how kindergarten students build and learn from microworlds that they create through playful robotics. The study contributes to the understanding of how young children learn through play when integrated with robotics.


Presentation of Research 10-15 minutes
-include audience survey response to robotics exposure
-General Overview of the Research Study
-Question and Significance of the Study
-Conceptual Framework/Hypothesis
-Case Study Overview
-Content Analysis

Open Discussion/Chat/5-10 minutes

Supporting research

Bers, M. U. (2008). Blocks to robots: Learning with technology in the early childhood classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Biggs, J., & Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the quality of learning: The SOLO Taxonomy. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Blythe, T., Allen, D., & Powell, B. S. (2016). Collaborative assessment conference: Overview. Retrieved from

Froebel, F. (2005). The education of man. W. N. Hailmann, Trans.) Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

Gandini, L. (2012). History, ideas, and basic principles. In C. Edwards, L. Gandini, & G. Forman (Eds.), The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia experience in transformation (3rd ed., p. 44). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Howland, J. L., Jonassen, D. H., & Marra, R. M. (2014). Meaningful learning with technology. Essex, England: Pearson.

Huitt, W., & Hummel, J. (2003). Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved from

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools: Engaging critical thinking. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Krechevsky, M., & Bell, M. (2013). Four features of learning in groups. In C. Giudici, C. Rinaldi, & M. Krechevsky, (Eds.), Making learning visible: Children as individual and group learners (6th ed., p. 286). Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children.

Manning, J. P. (2005), Rediscovering Froebel: A call to re-examine his life & gifts. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32(6), 371-376.

Meadows, M. L. (2020), Cognitive Development Implications of Playful Robotics Investigations in Kindergarten: Constructing Microworlds. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest LLC.

National Association for the Education of Young Children, Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. (2012). Technology and interactive media as tools in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age [Position statement]. Author. Retrieved from

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2020). Developmentally Appropriate Practice [Position statement]. Retrieved from

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2019). Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators [Position Statement]. Retrieved from

Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong kindergarten: Cultivating creativity through projects, passion, peers, and play. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rusk, N., Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Pezalla-Granlund, M. (2008). New pathways into robotics: Strategies for broadening participation. Journal of Science Education And Technology, 17(1), 59-69.

Shabani, K., Khatib, M., & Ebadi, S. (2010) Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development: Instructional implications and teachers’ professional development. Canadian Center of Science and Education, 3(1). Retrieved from

Worth, Karen (2020). Science in early earning environments. In L. Cohen & S. Waite-Stupiansky, (Eds.), STEM in Early Childhood Education, p.15) . New York, NY: Routledge.

World Economic Forum (2016) New vision for education: Fostering social and emotional learning through technology. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from

Yogman, M., Garner, A. Hutchinson, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2018). AAP Committee on Psychological Aspects of Child and Family Health, AAP Council on Communications and Media. The power of play: A pediatric role in enhancing development in young children. Pediatrics. 2018;142(3): e20182058. Retrieved from

More [+]


Dr. Mary Meadows, Andrews Academy
Basiyr Rodney, Webster University

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