Title page for ETD etd-04282005-101527

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Varnado, Terri E.
URN etd-04282005-101527
Title The Effects of a Technological Problem Solving Activity on FIRST LEGO League Participants' Problem Solving Style and Performance
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sanders, Mark E. Committee Co-Chair
Singh, Kusum Committee Co-Chair
DePauw, Karen P. Committee Member
LaPorte, James E. Committee Member
Pendleton, Leslie K. Committee Member
  • problem solving styles
  • FIRST LEGO League
  • and experience in technological problem solving
  • gender
  • age
  • problem solving performance
  • Technological problem solving
Date of Defense 2005-04-08
Availability unrestricted
This study investigated the effects of a technological problem solving activity, specifically the 2004 No Limits FIRST™ LEGO™ League Robotics Challenge, on student participants’ problem solving styles and performances. Previous research suggested that problem solving styles and performances could be influenced in children who are developing cognitively. Thirty-six 9-14 year old males and females were selected from officially registered FLL teams in the Virginia Department of Education Regions 6 & 7 of Southwest Virginia. Student participants self-assessed their technological problem solving confidence, approach/avoidance styles, and personal control during said activity three times over an eight week period. Two raters directly observed four dimensions of technological problem solving (problem clarification, developing a design, modeling/prototyping, and evaluating the design solution) at four points during the same eight-week time frame. Simple ANOVA, Repeated Measures ANOVA, MANOVA, Regression Analyses, and Qualitative Analyses were used to analyze the data. Female FLL student participants aged 9-14 perceived their overall technological problem solving style no differently than did 9-14 year old males. Gender alone showed no significant differences in performance; however, without any formal training or coursework, 9-14 year old FLL student participants showed significant increases in confidence, overall technological problem solving styles, problem clarification, developing a design, evaluating a design solution, and overall technological problem solving performance in only eight weeks.
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