School name: University of Eastern Finland Teacher Training School
Products: Matatalab Coding Set, Musician add-on, Artist add-on
The FCLab and matatalab pilot started on Thursday the 17th of February with five teacher students who are doing their practice in the University of Eastern Finland Teacher Training School. The student teachers are first year students and their prior knowledge of coding and working with robot sets was very slim.
Learning by doing
The goals of the teacher student workshop was to get a first hand experience from novices about the usability of the sets. We did not give any instructions on how to use the products so the starting point was very “Deweyish”, Learning by doing! We also discussed the pedagogical possibilities and the students' assumptions about how robots would work in the classroom with the 1st graders.
40 minutes active experience
In about five minutes the student teachers were actively coding with the blocks and doing challenges. Some used the instruction manual and others learned from each other. There was a nice ripple of conversation and plenty of smiles around the table. During the 40 minutes of testing the students made different routes with and without obstacles, tried many functions, composed music with the add-on and drew many kinds of geometrical shapes. The robots were made to dance, sing and move.
After the personal hands-on session we discussed the experiences. One student said: “At first, it took a moment to figure out how the Matatalab robot worked, but when it was clear, I thought it was easy to use. The best, I think, was the music add-on and making my own compositions.” Another student commented that: “I liked using it. The best thing was to try the artist section, as it allowed you to challenge yourself well and try new things.”
The student teachers felt that during the workshop they had developed their coding skills and they learned about programming. When the basic commands and principles were understood they were able to develop problem solving skills, creativity and math skills.
From this short experience the student teachers thought that the pedagogical possibilities include learning collaboration skills and coding skills. The Artist Add-On can be integrated into, for example, mathematical geometry or visual arts. The robots enhance interaction and group working skills. In their opinion the matatalab robots Inspire and motivate to learn.
Let's see the the reactions of the 1st graders next week!
The next steps in the piloting will be taken with the 1st graders and we are very excited about that!