Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 4(12), pp. 2814 - 2825
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.041215
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Learning from the Periphery in a Collaborative Robotics Workshop for Girls


Florence R. Sullivan 1,*, Kevin Keith 2, Nicholas C. Wilson 3
1 College of Education, University of Massachusetts, United States
2 Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, Landmark College, United States
3 Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Stanford University, United States

ABSTRACT

This study investigates how students who are peripherally positioned in computer science-based, collaborative group work meaningfully engage with the group activity in order to learn. Our research took place in the context of a one-day, all-girl robotics workshop, in which the participants were learning to program robotic devices. A total of 17 girls, ages 8 - 13 (M = 11.725) participated in the workshop. Participants were recruited from local middle schools, through the technology teacher. Data collection consisted of video and audiotaping all group interactions over the daylong workshop. The group discussions were then fully transcribed. In this study, we focus on two students from different groups who had less direct contact with the materials, and were thus positioned peripherally. We used microgenetic learning analytic techniques to analyze discourse patterns in order to characterize the engagement of both the two groups of which the students were a part, as well as the two students themselves. One of the groups demonstrated stronger coordination from a discourse perspective and the focal student in that group exhibited meaningful engagement, while the other group demonstrated weaker coordination from a discourse perspective and the focal student exhibited marginal engagement. This contrast allows us to begin to build a picture of the factors that support learning from the periphery. Our results indicate that agency exhibited in well-coordinated group discussions is a key aspect of meaningful engagement.

KEYWORDS
Robotics, Girls, Collaboration, Participation, Discourse Analysis

Cite this paper
Florence R. Sullivan , Kevin Keith , Nicholas C. Wilson (2016). Learning from the Periphery in a Collaborative Robotics Workshop for Girls. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4 , 2814 - 2825. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2016.041215.