Due to technological advancements, robotics is findings its way into the classroom. However, workload for teachers is high, and teachers sometimes lack the knowledge to implement robotics education. A key factor of robotics education is peer learning, and having students (near-)peers teach them robotics could diminish workload. Therefore, this study implemented near-peer teaching in robotics education. 4 K10-11 secondary school students were teachers to 83 K5-6 primary school students. The intervention included 4 3-hour robotics lessons in Dutch schools. Primary school students completed a pre- and post-intervention questionnaire on their STEM-attitudes and near-peer teaching experience, and a report on their learning outcomes. Interaction with near-peer teachers was observed. After the lessons, a paired-samples t-test showed that students had a more positive attitude towards engineering and technology. Students also reported a positive near-peer teaching experience. Conventional content analysis showed that students experienced a gain in programming and robotics skill after the lessons, and increased conceptual understanding of robotics. The role the near peer teachers most frequently fulfilled was formative assessor. Near-peer teachers could successfully fulfil a role as an engaging information provider. This study shows that near-peer teachers can effectively teach robotics, diminishing workload for teachers. Furthermore, near-peer robotics lessons could lead to increased STEM-attitudes.
Despite a growing effort to implement computational thinking (CT) skills in primary schools, little research is reported about what CT skills to teach at what age. Therefore, the research questions that guide this study read: (1) How is age related to students' success in computational thinking tasks? (2) How are computational thinking tasks perceived by students? (3) How do students' experience learning with respect to computational thinking? 200 primary school students between the age of 6 and 12 participated in this study. These students got introduced to two CT subjects: abstraction and decomposition. We found that age seems to be related with these concepts, with an interaction effect for gender in the abstraction task. No differences found between young and older students in the constructs perceived difficulty, cognitive load, and flow indicate that young primary school students can engage in learning these CT skills.