Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Donald M. Johnson

Committee Member

George W. Wardlow

Second Committee Member

Chris Estepp

Keywords

Agriculture, Arduino, Breadboarding, Novice, Programming

Abstract

This thesis consists of two articles that examined an instructional treatment based on the use of Arduino UNO R3 programmable microcontrollers in a fundamentals of agriculture systems technology course at the University of Arkansas. The first article examined students’ breadboarding and programming self-efficacy and knowledge of Arduino. The treatment consisted of a three-class-period instructional treatment, starting with a pretest before instruction to measure students’ baseline interest, knowledge, and self-efficacy of breadboarding and programming Arduino. This was followed with a short 30-minute instructional video explaining basic Arduino programming and breadboarding. Next a hands-on laboratory activity requiring students to breadboard and program an LED circuit was conducted. The activity was graded and rubrics were returned to the students before they took the posttest. Students’ mean scores for breadboarding and programming self-efficacy and Arduino knowledge were higher after the instructional treatment, while the observed mean for interest slightly declined.

The second article examined the rubric scores from the hands-on laboratory activity and evaluated where students most commonly made errors breadboarding and programming. Rubric scores on Arduino breadboarding were 58.5% and programming 23.5%, leading us to conclude that students needed more instruction on Arduino programming and in breadboarding simple electronic circuits. The single most common error made when programming was the lack of writing simple comments at the end of each line of the program sketch to describe what the command is doing. The second most common error in programming was not writing the command to correctly identify a digital pin as an output. For breadboarding, the two most common errors were that students were unable to correctly “forward-bias” an LED and wire a single 240ohm resistor in series in the circuit.

Both articles produced findings worth implementing into a future redesigned study where novice agriculture students are introduced to basic electronics circuitry followed by Arduino programming. Readers should design instruction that provides students with the opportunity for mastery experiences like breadboarding and programming success during instruction prior to an individual hands-on task. The instructional treatment should be extended in time to allow students more opportunity to process new knowledge. The hands-on activity should be simplified to include only one LED circuit, and the reference sheet should show more complete examples of programming. Students should be encouraged to work together on the hands-on activity rather than being left to work individually.

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