Low SES primary school students engaging in an after-school robotics program

Chandra, Vinesh, Woods, Annette, & Levido, Amanda (2013) Low SES primary school students engaging in an after-school robotics program. In Honigsfeld, Andrea & Cohan, Audrey (Eds.) Breaking the Mold of School Instruction and Organization : Innovative and Successful Practices for the Twenty-First Century. Rowman & Littlefield Education, Lanham, pp. 107-115.

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Recent attention in education within many western contexts has focused on improved outcomes for students, with a particular focus on closing the gap between those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the rest of the student population. Much of this attention has supported a set of simplistic solutions to improving scores on high stakes standardized tests. The collateral damage (Nichols & Berliner, 2007) of such responses includes a narrowing of the curriculum, plateaus in gain scores on the tests, and unproductive blame games aimed by the media and politicians at teachers and communities (Nichols & Berliner, 2007; Synder, 2008). Alternative approaches to improving the quality and equity of schooling remain as viable alternatives to these measures. As an example in a recent study of school literacy reform in low SES schools, Luke, Woods and Dooley (2011) argued for the increase of substantive content and intellectual quality of the curriculum as a necessary means to re-engaging middle school students, improving outcomes of schooling and achieving a high quality, high equity system.

The MediaClub is an afterschool program for students in years 4 to 7 (9-12 year old) at a primary school in a low SES area of a large Australian city. It is run as part of an Australian Research Council funded research project. The aim of the program has been to provide an opportunity for students to gain expertise in digital technologies and media literacies in an afterschool setting. It was hypothesized that this expertise might then be used to shift the ways of being literate that these students had to call on within classroom teaching and learning events. Each term, there is a different focus on digital media, and information and communication technology (ICT) activities in the MediaClub. The work detailed in this chapter relates to a robotics program presented as one of the modules within this afterschool setting. As part of the program, the participants were challenged to find creative solutions to problems in a constructivist-learning environment.

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ID Code: 55167
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Informal learning, Robotics, Primary school
ISBN: 9781607094005
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Primary Education (excl. Maori) (130105)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Rowman & Littlefield Education
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2012 03:59
Last Modified: 14 May 2016 18:48

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