Watching, creating and achieving: Creative technologies as a conduit for learning in the early years

This paper describes the use of robotics in an Early Years classroom as a tool to aid the development of technological skills in a creative environment rich with literacy and numeracy opportunities. The pilot project described illustrates how a three-phase process can result in: (1) the development of emergent literacy and numeracy, and (2) the development of digital literacy and digital access for Early Years learners. The pilot study was conducted in a combined Prep-Year 1 class over a six-week period, during which students were introduced to and engaged in the creation of robots and simple machines via the use of LEGO WeDo©. The pilot was designed around three distinct phases: modelling, exploring, and evaluating. These phases provided scaffolding for the students to engage with the technology and for the class teacher to develop her own skills. This use of WeDo© is unique to Australia, unique to Early Years, and marries hands-on, fine-motor development with 21st century learning. The outcomes of the project astounded and delighted the teacher, the principal and the researchers.