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Learning to explain: the role of educational robots in science education

Keywords: educational robotics , robotics in science education , philosophy of science

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Abstract:

Educational robotics laboratories typically involve building and programming robotic systems to perform particular tasks or solve problems. In this paper we explorethe potential educational value of a form of robot-supported educational activity that has been little discussed in the literature. During these activities, primary school children are asked to explain the behaviors of a robot constructed in advance by the teacher orlaboratory supervisor, rather than having to construct or program a robot themselves. It is argued that activities of this kind may have a significant role to play within science education: participation in a collaborative process aimed at explaining the behaviors of an educational robot provides children with the opportunity to develop scientific research skills and competencies and to engage in meta-cognitive reflection on fundamental issues surrounding scientific research methods.

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