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Abstract

There has been a steady increase in the number of studies investigating educational robotics and its impact on academic and social skills of young learners. Educational robots are used both in and out of school environments to enhance K–12 students’ interest, engagement, and academic achievement in various fields of STEM education. Some prior studies show evidence for the general benefits of educational robotics as being effective in providing impactful learning experiences. However, there appears to be a need to determine the specific benefits which have been achieved through robotics implementation in K–12 formal and informal learning settings. In this study, we present a systematic review of the literature on K–12 educational robotics. Based on our review process with specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, and a repeatable method of systematic review, we found 147 studies published from the years 2000 to 2018. We classified these studies under five themes: (1) general effectiveness of educational robotics; (2) students’ learning and transfer skills; (3) creativity and motivation; (4) diversity and broadening participation; and (5) teachers’ professional development. The study outlines the research questions, presents the synthesis of literature, and discusses findings across themes. It also provides guidelines for educators, practitioners, and researchers in areas of educational robotics and STEM education, and presents dimensions of future research.

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