At King’s College London we are pleased to host a visiting researcher, Filiz Kalelioğlu, from Turkey, who is researching pedagogy and the BBC microbit. Physical computing is fun and engaging, but does it really help students learn, what are the best teaching methods to use with small devices in the classroom, and how can we assess what has been learned?
In this post, Filiz describes her project:
I am currently a visiting research fellow at the School of Education, Communication and Society. My project is about the BBC micro:bit. The aim of this study is to explore pedagogies for the BBC micro:bit and to propose the pedagogical strategies for integrating the micro:bit into the programming classes based on the experiences of computer science teachers in the UK. If you teach with the BBC micro:bit, please help us by completing this survey! (before July 20th). It should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete .
The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable physical computing device. It was introduced into UK schools in 2016 and is now available to all. The device has a range of features that can be used to support the skills children need while learning programming and can contribute to their science, technology and engineering learning.
Physical computing involves design and development processes and could be seen as a bridge for bringing together software and hardware components. Specifically, physical computing is a way of monitoring what programming scripts or codes do; in fact, the physicality generates feedback to the student to help them progress. With the help of this approach, students can practice programming activities in an explorative way.
Many studies have examined and discussed the use and effect of physical computing regarding different types of electronics devices or robotics etc. However, there are no comprehensive research studies that have focused on the use of the micro:bit with reference to pedagogy. Initial evaluations of the micro:bit have focused on its technical capability, characteristics, or motivational perspectives.
Teachers may not feel prepared to use such kinds of programmable devices in their programming classes and may be looking for professional development on these topics. What experienced teachers do with physical computing can inform teachers just starting out with physical computing. Therefore, the focus of this study is to study the experiences of the teachers and potentially suggest pedagogical strategies for integrating the micro:bit into programming lessons. Finally, it is thought that the perceptions and experiences of the teachers participating in the research will act as a guide to teachers from different countries all over the world who want to use micro:bit to teach programming to children.