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Robotic Technologies: When Parents Put Their Learning Ahead of their Child’s

, , Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University, United States

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 17, Number 4, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


New technologies are slowly making it into the early childhood classroom; however, many families expose their children to these technologies before they encounter them in the formal school setting. Thus, many parents serve as the first teachers of technological literacy to their children. Or, as it is more frequent, parents and children learn together new computational skills. What are the complexities hidden behind this learning process in which both adults and children are learning at the same time? In this article we present results from a study in which, during five weekend sessions, 17 parent-child dyads and 20 children were taught to use robotic programmable Lego™ bricks to create their own meaningful final projects involving both programming and building components. In the study, a significant difference was found between building and programming aspects of final projects between the children-only projects and the parent-child projects. This suggests that Vygotzky's zone of proximal development played an important role, but it is argued that the children in the parent-child groups did not learn as much as the children in the children-only groups, as the parents were too involved in their own learning and did not tailor their instruction to their children at a level appropriate for the children to understand.


Beals, L. & Bers, M. (2006). Robotic Technologies: When Parents Put Their Learning Ahead of their Child’s. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 17(4), 341-366. Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 21, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Using Lego to Increase Science Learning in Middle School

    David Slykhuis, James Madison University, United States

    Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2008 (Mar 03, 2008) pp. 4774–4783

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