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ERIC Number: EJ1064464
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1045-1064
Children as Innovators in Action--A Study of Microcontrollers in Finnish Comprehensive Schools
Järvinen, Esa-Matti; Karsikas, Arto; Hintikka, Jouni
Journal of Technology Education, v18 n2 p37-52 Spr 2007
In authoritative teaching methods, whereby the teacher controls the social interaction and other classroom activities, the actions of many children are often in response to what they perceive to be the teacher's expectations and the requirements of traditional school evaluation practices, such as examinations and tests. In this kind of school setting, children do not necessarily feel the teaching and its content to be personally important or useful. For this reason, it is difficult for them to make meaningful connections between what they are taught and their everyday life. To make learning more authentic and meaningful to children, it is essential to give them a sense of ownership for their learning. The overall purpose of the study was to help children become familiar with some essential features of microcontroller technology and its possibilities in various aspects of everyday life. Moreover, the study essentially aimed to encourage children to engage in innovative thinking in finding uses for microcontrollers to meet their own needs and purposes. The study was carried out within a European Union-funded research and development project in technology education at the University of Oulu. It was the first study in Finland to introduce the teaching of microcontrollers in primary schools. The microcontroller system used in the study is based on the Picaxe-08 system developed in England by Revolution Education Ltd. (see and it was modified collaboratively with a Finnish company, Step Systems Ltd., so that it could be better applied to the pedagogical aims of the study. The participants consisted of both primary and secondary school teacher who had been taking part in the Technology Education "NOW!" project over a period of years. Twelve comprehensive (primary and secondary) school classes of grades 5- 8 (ages 11-14 years) participated in the study. The number of children involved was 230. The participating schools were located in Oulu Province. True to the qualitative data collection methods, multiple data sources and strategies were employed, applying the concept of triangulation. In technology education it is important to engender the idea of how the human-made environment has developed and is still developing through human activity. Ingenuity, innovation, and problem solving are part of the basic essence of technology.
Journal of Technology Education. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland