When Kids are challenged to solve real problems – Case study on transforming learning with interpersonal presence and digital technologies

Renate Motschnig, Daniel Pfeiffer, Anna Gawin, Peter Gawin, Michael Steiner

pp. 88 - 111,  download





Whereas the world around us changes radically, innovations in the school system tend to be extremely slow. In the era of digitalization this is particularly unfortunate, since kids urgently need to acquire skills that teachers were not prepared to teach. This situation calls for new models of education. This case study is about implementing one such model, namely applying the Stanford Design Thinking Method to let pupils design elements of their life like schoolbags, classrooms and robots, and implement prototypes using technologies such as Minecraft, Micro:bit, and Lego Education. In the innovative educational intervention 'MadeByKids', the DaVinci Lab, an external organization, worked with pupils (at grade K2 to K6, in sum about 450 children), in a series of three workshops at 17 Austrian schools. We researched the workshops via a case study on essential features of the intervention and by quantitative and qualitative pre-test and post-test questionnaires of pupils. Results show that pupils learn meaningfully regarding programming as well as social competences and most of them enjoy this kind of active learning. Results also indicate clearly that - even though the intervention is centered at children - their teachers need to be intensively included, otherwise a remarkable share of them may experience a loss of control over their class and remain skeptical. Besides discussing the results of the survey, the authors address the challenge of sustainability and share important learnings from the project.


Keywords: Digital Competence, Teamwork, Coding, Making, Kids, Stanford Design Thinking, Challenge, School, Minecraft, Micro:Bit, Lego Education, Stop Motian, Scratch


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