Impact of Play-Based Digital Learning (PBDL) professional development on pre-service teachers’ readiness to introduce coding and robotics

Year: 2018

Author: Walsh, Chris, Campbell, Claire

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Contemporary practice and policy calls for the inclusion of technologies – particularly coding and robotics – in early childhood teaching and learning (DET, 2015; Sterling, 2015). This creates new challenges for pre-service teachers. There are expectations that pre-service and graduate teachers will incorporate these technologies within their teaching, yet the requisite knowledges and skills are not always covered in their university courses.
 
This study investigated the effect of hands on Play-Based Digital Learning (PBDL) professional development on pre-service teachers’ readiness to introduce coding and robotics into their teaching and learning (both as pre-service and graduating teachers). PBDL is an appropriate, playful, scaffolded, intentional and purposeful approach to introducing young children to coding and robotics in the early years. It is based on the well-established notion that children learn best through play and concrete materials. PBDL was designed to assist teachers to effectively plan and enact technologies teaching and learning experiences for young children with digital hardware and software in play-based settings.
 
To determine the effectiveness of the PDBL professional development in preparing pre-service teachers for the planning and enactment of coding and robotics in early years practice, nine workshops were conducted. 50 pre-service teachers were digitally recorded and pre and post workshop surveys were completed. The digital video recordings of the workshops were coded objectively using a partial-interval-recording system. Findings indicated that pre-service teachers were more knowledgeable themselves about coding and robotics and believed they were prepared to introduce coding and computational thinking into intentional teaching practices across developmental stages
 
This presentation will showcase the PBDL approach, and discuss the findings of the research, which indicated that PDBL was deemed to be effective in preparing pre-service teachers for contemporary teaching and learning, including coding and robotics, in early years settings.

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