Here’s How to Put Circuitry Into Context

By Allie VanNest

Being able to apply basic circuitry concepts to the real world helps students to put their lessons into context, according to new research from Dr. Kylie Peppler, Associate Professor of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine.

Weaving real-world examples into learning can help kids understand why they’re in school and how these lessons lead to them achieving their goals.

Dr. Peppler found that littleBits, in particular, is responsible for significant circuitry learning across students aged five-years-old to 15-years-old after a basic 90-minute introduction that includes circuit play, a five-minute introduction to circuitry, and a self-directed project. This includes increases in understanding current flow, connections, and polarity.

Dr. Peppler, infographic, circuitry, littleBits

The same competencies that are learned by students working with littleBits are well-documented as being challenging for undergraduate students majoring in physics or engineering.

Dr. Peppler found that students working with littleBits have a much easier time mastering these concepts. In other words, littleBits is doing a better job teaching circuitry concepts than the toolkits traditionally used by students in the classroom.

Specifically, littleBits promotes transferable understanding of circuitry learning to real-world problems — allowing students to engage in a conceptual understanding of circuits that is important to physics and engineering.

So what’s the secret to helping students master circuitry skills early-on in the classroom? Professor Seymour Papert, who came up with the idea that learning happens best through making, said it perfectly: “We need to produce people who know how to act when they are faced with situations for which they were not specifically prepared.”

If you’re interested in watching a replay of Dr. Peppler’s recent webinar presenting the full results of her study, you can do that here.

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