Research Questions

The general goal of my research is to investigate the effect of integrating UMI technology into primary-school education on students’ learning of and attitudes toward STEM subjects. When students are intentionally active, constructive, and engaged in authentic activities in a cooperative setting, they are participating in a process that employs student-centred and guided discovery-based learning to achieve meaningful learning in line with constructionism. The research questions (RQ) are divided into two categories: learning and attitudes:

RQ1. Learning:

What is a Community of Practice?

What are the current STEM teaching practices in school education and how are these applied to enhance learning?

What scientific content knowledge do students learn through their physicalization activities?

To what extent are the various STEM disciplines represented in the content knowledge that is learned?

To what extent is the students’ learning meaningful?

RQ2. Attitudes:

What are the current attitudes to STEM in primary school children?

What are the students’ attitudes towards learning STEM and how do the attitudes change after participating in UMI activities?

What are students’ attitudes towards learning about robots and how do the attitudes change after the UMI activities?

My conjecture is that UMI activities will positively affect students’ learning of STEM, to achieve meaningful learning and boost their attitudes toward STEM.

Objectives

There are six key objectives to this research project, these are linked to and will be achieved in the work packages outlined in the ‘Work plan’ section.

  1. Produce a literature review on the state‐of-the‐art in UMI technology to enhance children’s learning
  1. Analysis the current STEM curricula and teaching methods used in primary school education.
  1. Define the concept of communities of practice in the context of second level education and establish a community of practice as an ongoing concern of this research
  2. Investigate how technologically mediated classroom activities alter the learning of and attitudes to STEM subjects
  1. Disseminate results of interim studies at national and international conferences.
  1. Produce an academic thesis that establishes the final position of the proposed research and which outlines pathways of enquiry that may extend forward from the completed research findings.

Work Package 1, Literature review and surveys (6 months, Month 1-6) **Now**

Obj 1: Produce a literature review on the state-of-the-art in UMI technology to enhance children’s learning.

Obj 2: Analysis the current STEM curricula and teaching methods used in secondary school education.

Conduct initial literature review of work related to the study of children’s learning and attitudes in secondary school education. Conduct a meta-analysis of publications that studied the integration of ICT in secondary school education and summarise these results. Analyse the current STEM curricula used in Irish secondary school education and survey a broad spectrum of secondary school teachers about the teaching methods used to deliver this curricula.

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