A Survey about the Use of Educational Robots and Physical Computing Devices in Computer Science Lessons at German Secondary Schools


Educational robots and physical computing devices are steadily becoming a common sight in computer science classes, as they offer a both motivating and illustrative access to a multitude of technical concepts. However, this versatility comes with the drawback that it is not a priori clear how such systems should be designed or how they are most effectively used during lessons. It’s also unclear how much additional workload their maintenance incorporates.

To help answer these questions, we conducted a survey at 114 German secondary schools from 11 different federal states. First we asked computer science teachers about the current state of their lessons and the additional workload regarding the maintenance of the technical devices at their school. Afterwards, we questioned our participants how educational robots and physical computing devices are used in their respective classes, what positive and negative aspects they see in such systems and how much additional workload they add.

We found that in 49% of the cases computer science teachers were responsible for the maintenance of the schools’ technical devices, implicating that the use of additional digital devices would further increase their workload. Nevertheless, 65% of our participants used educational robots and/or physical computing devices during their lessons. The systems were also generally perceived in a positive light with the most stated use case being introduction to programming and the most valued functionality being modular components. In this paper, we present the design and results of this survey.

Author Information
Kira Bungert, Frauenhofer FKIE, Germany
Lilli Bruckschen, Frauenhofer FKIE, Germany

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Design

This paper is part of the ECE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21