The ignition of collaboration, curiosity and effective thinking through cross- Essay

The Ignition of collaboration, curiosity and effective thinking through cross-

curriculum tools: a case study on the usage of LEGO in project-based learning

inside the primary classroom.

PhD in Education (Research Proposal)

Khaled Mabrouk


Table of Contents………………………………………Page

I- Abstract………………………………………………1

II- Research question……………...................2

III- Research objectives……………………………2

IV- List of topic ideas…………………………..……2

V- Literature review………………………………..3

VI- Methodology………………….....................6

VII- Reference list……………………………………7


I- Abstract

Teaching students how to construct knowledge and meaning from their own learning

experiences is one of the challenges that schools face today, which means each kid

should be given the opportunity to show that s/he is the maker of meaning and

knowledge, instead of only receiving information from his/her teacher (Ultanir, 2012). In

other words, students should construct their knowledge rather than searching for it

(Boghossion, 2006).

However, most of the learning tools and activities that students rely on today at schools

do not show the meaning of constructive learning that a student requires in his/her

daily life as most of what teachers teach or what students learn at schools focus on

lecture and tutorial (i.e., whether face to face or video tutorial), and thus there must be

a performance of understanding through some appropriate constructive tools that help

students to gain a new knowledge and make it function through what they produce

(Biggs, 2003).

By the same token, encouraging students play more will equip the foundation of social

emotional learning as playing will help children to experience and understand the world

easily (Anderson, 2018). Accordingly, elementary education curriculum should be

connected with a tool, or a device that helps in engaging with group members",

conceptualize their journey of development, and indeed help elementary students to

make connections in their learning by engaging them in a playful domain (Cavaliero",



II- Research question

What are the outcomes of understanding for primary students rely on theoretical

learning tools and those who are surrounded by playful learning tools (LEGO)?

III- Research objectives

- Identify the differences between physical, theoretical, and virtual

educational resources.

- Evaluate critically the usage of playful tool (e.g., LEGO) in project-based

learning and its influence on students’ learning.

- Explore through observations the effect of LEGO on students’ understanding

and thinking.

- Formulate recommendations on the use of LEGO as an integrated tool in

three subject areas (Literacy, Numeracy and Science).

- Examine the attitude of those students who integrate LEGO in subject areas",

and those who do not.

IV- List of topic ideas

- Why do primary schools need to engage students in playful learning?

- Does the use of cross-curriculum tool (e.g., LEGO) facilitate teaching and learning

inside the primary classroom?

- Why backpacks are not filled up with LEGO, instead of books?

- Does the primary student use the iPad as a theoretical tool or a digital tool?

- Do primary students get distracted easily by iPads?


V- Literature review


Palpable tools play a vital role in today’s education, especially for young learners, as

primary students prefer to construct things, and they also love to learn from their own

experiences (Somyurek, 2015). Accordingly, some schools apply what is called today

blended-learning, while other schools prefer to apply playful learning (Lillard, 2013).

But, some teachers still struggle with the blended-learning classroom because of its

tools, because they discovered that most of the kids get distracted easily by their iPads",

which leads students to ask their teachers to repeat the lesson instructions once more",

as most of their heads down and iPads up (Frohlich, 2017).

On the other hand, some schools discovered that playful learning tools would encourage

the kid to use his/her iPad wisely (Hinske and Langheinrich, 2009). In other words",

virtual tools can be used as good facilitating companions or instruction manuals that

help the kid to search for what s/he wants to apply (Eady and Lockyer, 2013). Regardless

the facilitation that such great device brought to schools, children still need to see

reality inside the classroom through the iPad, and not the opposite (Hinske and

Langheinrich, 2009). Which means that the use of iPads only will not help in improving

young learners achievements as teachers should find a way that can encourage their

learners to integrate these devices into education and help students to build, create, or

produce (Geer et al., 2017). Therefore, K12 education should ask for the call of

augmented tools, instead of virtual tools, as augmented tools help in integrating the two


worlds of the kid; the real-physical world and the virtual world at the same time, while

virtual tools limit the social interaction of the kid with his colleagues (Hinske and

Langheinrich, 2009).


Learning with technology has become fundamental today, as teachers and students use

virtual tools whether to facilitate learning or to develop understanding, and that is why

digital tools are so important because they help in introducing students to new topics",

provide access to different text types and engage learners in different activities that are

not possible to be applied inside the classroom (Eady and Lockyer, 2013).

However, primary students are indeed still want to play and construct their

understanding via the use of touchable tools that help in bringing the virtual world to

reality (Hinske and Langheinrich, 2009). Therefore, It is hard to say that solely

technology can work, as many still fail in their final assessments with the intensive

existence of the digital tools (Porter, 2013).

On the other hand, many teachers mix between technology as being a specific subject to

teach and technology as an integral tool, which means there is no difference between a

kindle book (electronic book) and a normal book, especially when teachers ask their

students to only focus on reading, and thus there must be a learning skill that teachers

should apply to hold their students on learning something new plus reading, and that

means the new era requires a multi-tasked student; a student who gains digital skills


and knowledge at the same time (Mayas and Freitas 2007, cited in Beetham and Sharpe",

2007 p.13).

21st century education asks for teachers who know how to nurture the spirit of every

child inside the classroom (Hammond, 2006). The reason behind that is because

students are fluent in the digital language of computers, and thus they can search for

any information that increases their knowledge anytime and anywhere, as today’s

learners do not need to read a manual to understand a program, which means life

changed and young learners became symbiotic with technology, and that is why ICT is

essential for them (Prensky, 2005).

“Teachers need and deserve the time and training to be experts in managing and

instructing with the tools they are expected to use in their trade.”

(Hower et al, 2015 p. 17)

In addition, teachers should understand first, how to control and direct ICT inside the

classroom, which simply means that education technology (edtech) should be at the

service of teaching and not the opposite (Economist, 2017), and this is also argued by

Prensky’s discussion from 2010 on 21st century education requirements where he


“The key change and challenge for all 21st century teachers is to become comfortable not

with the details of new technology, but rather with a different and better kind of

pedagogy: partnering",” (p.3).


Consequently, relying on virtual learning will not provide students with all skills needed

because students will become isolated from the real world, and they will not face any

physical or social challenges (Hinske et al., 2008).


As a result, primary students require a 3 skill kit that helps them to communicate, create

and play, but having a virtual tool inside the 21st century classroom will not encourage

today’s learners to become social, but rather the social life of those who only use virtual

kits will become at risk because they are going to be alienated from face to face social

interactions (Hinske and Langheinrich, 2009)

Equally important, elementary students require playful learning; a kind of learning that

develop their mental skills and help them in activating the virtual tool effectively, and

without getting distracted by it, and thus the use of augmented kits will help in

developing blended-learning (Hinske et al., 2008).

VI- Methodology

Research Methodology is the research section that helps the researcher in collecting

and analyzing his/her own empirical data as the researcher here should state the

approaches and strategies that s/he adopts for the research, so it is a combination of

what and why the researcher is doing things that way (Biggam, 2011).

The data will be collected in this research is more qualitative than being quantitative",

therefore It is better to say that the research philosophy is more subjectivism, than


being objectivism, as subjectivism refers to qualitative, phenomenological, humanistic

and interpretivist approaches, while objectivism refers to quantitative, positivist",

scientific, experimentalist, traditionalist and functionalist approaches (Hussey and

Hussey 1997, cited in Holden and Lynch, 2004 pp. 397-409).

Since this research study tends to be qualitative study. Therefore, the study here follows

the qualitative analysis process, and thus the data will be collected via both observation

and documentation (Biggam, 2011).

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