Workshop (14)

Gifted First Graders in Digital Age –Individual Projects in ICT and Robotics
Ana Sović-Križić; Jasna Cvetković-Lay; Tomislav Jagušt
Center for Gifted Child Development „Bistrić“ (www.nadarenost.net), Zagreb, Croatia
University of Zagreb, Faculty of electrical engineering and computing, ana.sovic@fer.hr
In the first part of this workshop some important advantages of the interaction between a gifted child and a computer will be provided from the psychological point of view together with an overview of workshop activities with young gifted students in ICT and robotics in our extracurricular enriched program. Mentors particularly encourage the creativity and higher level of abstract thinking through individual programming projects. Gifted children acquire complex concepts and create program at a considerably higher level than the expected one. The easiest way to introduce some advanced concepts to gifted children is through games that they are familiar with. If we give them an opportunity to build a robot that can move and talk, they will accept the challenge. Children use LEGO educational sets, especially Mindstorms EV3, to make the program for the robot in intuitive drag-and-drop software and download the program to the “Intelligent Brick”. Our main goal is to explain and teach the basic concepts of programming, like variables, loops, conditional statements, but also some advanced concepts like events or operating principles of a full-adder. To guide the gifted children’s’ focus, they fill worksheets with the assignment. In this demonstration, we present handbook with lessons and worksheets for LEGO Mindstorms EV3 workshops and we demonstrate simplicity of the programming in the drag-and-drop software for LEGO robots, and complexity of more demanding worksheets for programming with ARDUINO plates.
Although those subjects can be quite abstract even to grown-ups, gifted children adopted the high level of mental concepts very easily and quickly through games and well prepared practical examples.