THIS paper reports on a pilot study to investigate the use

of tangible toolkits for physical computing [45], [22]

to support pedagogies of collaboration and production.

The focus of the study was learning through the Internet

of Things (IoT) [50] about STEM (Science, Technology,

Engineering and Maths [2]) in particular computer science

and engineering. The result of the study is part of a larger

EU project PELARS ( The

pilot was designed to identify learning indicators of collaboration

and production when studying STEM. The research

informed the design of effective data analytics and visualisation

tools for the PELARS project to advance practicebased

learning activities in STEM teaching. However, more

specifically, the findings provided a design structure

and insight into knowledge co-construction. Furthermore,

the findings illustrate how the IoT environment facilitated

this investigation in knowledge construction and boundary


Design of the IoT environment provided a technology

enhanced learning (TEL) context [35], [36]. Key to the design

was to support the context of (a) collaborative learning as no

one person had the knowledge to complete the project alone

(b) problem-based learning as no off the shelf solution was

used and (c) multidisciplinary learning by pushing the

boundaries across the subjects.

The pilot study was conducted over a period of four

months working with a group of 15 (year 10) students aged

between 14 and 15 years. The students were new to computer

science, but had some programming experience in

python. None of the students had studied IoT, engineering

or embedded systems. The start of the collaboration with

the students in early January involved thinking about smart

city projects. In groups they brainstormed ideas to investigate

after attending a mini-workshop at the UCL Knowledge

Lab. They attended the final two-day hackevent where

their ideas were prototyped and finally presented at the

London Festival of Education.

This design based research study investigated what

useful learning indicators can be identified in STEM (Science,

Technology, Engineering and Maths) collaboration

and problem-based learning context [25]. The paper

describes the methods used and the context of the study

of learning about Computer Science and Engineering

through IoT. The paper elaborates the design of the learning

approach and discusses the findings. In particular,

the emergence of community knowledge construction

and its relationship to the pedagogical approach is examined

in the context of IoT.

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