Graphing is a key skill in the study of Physics. Drawing and interpreting graphs play a key role in the understanding of science, while the lack of these has proved to be a handicap and a limiting factor in the learning of scientific concepts. It has been observed that despite the amount of previous graph-working experience, students of all ages experience a series of difficulties when trying to comprehend graphs or when trying to relate them with physical concepts such as position, velocity and acceleration. Several computational tools have risen to improve the students' understanding of kinematical graphs; however, these approaches fail to develop graph construction skills. On the other hand, Robots have opened new opportunities in learning. Nevertheless, most of their educational applications focus on Robotics related subjects, such as robot programming, robot construction, and artificial intelligence. This paper describes a robotic activity based on face-to-face computer supported collaborative learning. By means of a set of handhelds and a robot wirelessly interconnected, the aim of the activity is to develop graph construction and graph interpretation skills while also reinforcing kinematics concepts. Results show that students using the robotic activity achieve a significant increase in their graph interpreting skills. Moreover, when compared with a similar computer-simulated activity, it proved to be almost twice as effective. Finally, the robotic application proved to be a highly motivating activity for the students, fostering collaboration among them.
- Face-to-face computer supported collaborative learning
- Intelligent tutoring systems
- Interactive learning environments
- Robotic assisted teaching