In critical need of research-based instructional strategies and assessment: an investigation of ePCR math lesson plans for middle school students


Instructional Technology

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One favored approach to teaching computational thinking (CT) and coding skills in PK-12 computer science education is to use educational physical computing and robotics devices (ePCRs). Marrying the physical functionalities and computer coding possibilities, ePCRs show great promise in cultivating PK-12 students’ CT and 21-st century skills. However, in practice, there is a lack of experienced teachers and readily-available ePCR curricula, which poses challenges in classroom integration. Thus, the purpose of this article is to analyze publicly-available ePCR math lesson plans designed for middle school students, especially focusing on lesson characteristics, instructional strategies, assessment plans, and 21st-century skills cultivated. After analyzing 283 publicly-available ePCR math lesson plans, we found that they used a variety of educational technologies. In particular, the majority utilize physical coding and the tools’ functionalities to move, draw, show visuals, and play audio. However, most of the lesson plans are in critical need of research-based instructional strategies and assessment plans and instruments. Our empirical evidence warrants a great need for additional research, design, and professional development in the area of effectively integrating ePCRs into content areas, especially in the aspects of active learning strategies, student-centered assessment, and more profound pedagogies to cultivate students’ 21st-century skills.

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Journal of Research on Technology in Education

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