WELCOME TO ALL INCLUSIVE ROBOTICS (AIR) PLAY PROGRAM
This program is evidence based and designed to spark children's interests for STEM engagement.
Truly being All-Inclusive where educators and parents can engage children in practising skills such as communication, language, numeracy, social-emotional, creativity and many more!
Browse through our learning stories to see what children, educators and parents have been doing with their children using robotics for STEM engagement!
Dr Sarika Kewalramani, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology, Department of Education, Melbourne. She has 10+years of teaching Science and Mathematics in Australian primary and secondary educational settings. Sarika's research expertise resides in conceptualising kindergarten and primary teachers' understanding of the nexus between creative STEM-based play by integrating technologies such as robotics as inclusive teaching practices and curricula programs in ways that promote students learning and development. Through her research, Sarika provides exemplars of evidence-based practices to meaningfully integrate technologies (e.g. Robotics toys) in developmentally appropriate ways to progress for example children’s language, problem solving, inquiry, social communication skills - key dispositions needed for children to engage with STEM learning.
She is the founder and lead researcher for the AIR play program that aspires to engage children in STEM learning trajectories early on.
Dr Sarika Kewalramani, Department of Education, Swinburne University Of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia
Dr Kelly-Ann Allen, PhD FAPS, is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, and an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Centre for Wellbeing Science, University of Melbourne. Her research underscores the importance of a sense of belonging as a universal human need and she has built an international reputation for her work in the area of school belonging. She is the Lead-director and founder of the international consortium, the Global Belonging Collaborative and is the current and founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Belonging and Human Connection.
Dr Kelly-Ann Allen, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, Australia
Our Research Program
Early Learning with Robotics Play Program is an evidence-based program emerging from international study (2018-current) involving Australia, Norway and England early childhood and home-based settings.
The aim of this program is to provide evidence-based resources for educators and communities to better understand strategies and techniques for improving children’s social-emotional, communication, literacy and oral language skills as well as early numeracy skills through robot play. Only when children learn and practise these dispositions in their real-world natural learning environments in their early years, they are better prepared to engage with STEM trajectories in their future schooling years.
The Benefits Of Engaging Children In Robotic Play
Our research has signalled that by playing with robotics technologies, child’s natural curiosity and sense of inquiry-based dispositions and social communication can be harnessed. Robotics offer multimodal ways of engaging and meaning making – through touch, sound-visual-movement, and physical encounters– that go beyond simple screen time or printed text.
Through playful explorations with robots that operate using coding apps, children are provided with unique opportunities to engage with storytelling, communicating with their peers/siblings (e.g., via role play and engage in coding the robot to perform problem-based tasks), and collaborate to build creative solutions to real-world issues using everyday recyclable resources.
Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) Practice Principles Focus
Participants will have the opportunities to reflect together and with the researchers in their learning journey and progression towards children’s development of social-emotional and literacy and numeracy skills. Our program ensures that participants are provided with strategies to be able to incorporate into their planning of activities and robot experiences that caters to the family’s priorities and children’s goals. In summary, the program supports participants to align their practice with the below Practice Principles.
Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
Integrated teaching and learning approaches
Outcomes For Children
Our program is conceptualised on the premise that children’s learning of skills of building respectful relationships are deeply connected to the quality support system available in their natural learning environments. The program ensures educators walk away with strategies to achieving children’s development of:
Express emotions and behaviours in the form of words and questions
Embody resilience during manipulative play with the toys and collaborating with peers to achieve a shared goal
Integrated teaching and learning approaches
Evaluate encountered problems and pose solutions and narrate through stories their problem solving journeys
Engage in continuous questioning, suggest ideas and pose solutions between and/or amongst each other (with adults and peers)
Learn oral language skills about negotiation, conflict resolution, understanding social cues, and listening to each other’s (adults’ and peers’) perspectives
Testimonials From Educators
The collaborative activities were very fun and interactive. It was good to work with teachers of varying teaching backgrounds.
02 may 2022
Incorporating robots into lessons and the frameworks and practical planning ideas were useful.
07 Jul 2022
Acknowledgements And Funding:
Our sincere gratitude goes to the all those who participated in this study (educators, early childhood services, parents and children) despite the COVID-19 pandemic, where we reverted to online modes of data collection.
The contributors to this program would like to especially thank the Department of Education and Training VIC for their support in including the program, Improving Child Social and Emotional Development with Robot Play within their set of tools and resources and accessible to early childhood services, families, communities and allied health professionals through the School Readiness Funding Menu.
This website development was funded by the Monash University, Faculty of Education, School of Educational Psychology and Counselling, Capacity Building Grant.