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Doctoral defence of Annastasia Shipepe, MSc, 20.12.2023: A design study on educational robotics in Namibia

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Computer Science will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, Joensuu Campus and online.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

The topic is A design study on educational robotics in Namibia. Future jobs require robotics skills, however, only few young talents are exposed to robotics in Namibia. Educational robotics (ER) is a robotics learning tool that has its roots in how robotic systems can be designed and developed. ER helps learners and students attain the 4Cs of the 21st century skills, problem-solving skills, computational thinking skills, and design thinking skills.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

This study explored how participant-oriented educational robotics workshops can provide an understanding of robotics in Namibia and what opportunities can arise as a result of educational robotics in Namibia. Various opportunities, such as exposure to robotics, collaboration, and robotics- related business opportunities, can emerge from the use of educational robotics (ER). Recommendations to practitioners also emerge from research work such as this and this research work also provides recommendations to education practitioners who wish to incorporate robotics into school curricula. The results may also not be novel everywhere but new and crucial for the Namibian context where utilization of tools such as educational robotics is picking up speed but still at an emergent stage. 

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

The results of this study will be transferable in aiding with the integration of robotics into the school curriculum, the after school-programs curriculum as well as robotics holiday bootcamps in Namibia and the wider Global South.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The study followed Design Science Research (DSR), a research paradigm that seeks to solve problems by providing and creating innovative artifacts in response to the demands and requirements of communities. DSR is known for its ability to transform organizations and communities in a sustainable way by designing knowledge and procedures on how things should be done to provide solutions to real-life problems and achieve societal goals. Therefore, a series of educational robotics workshops and activities were carried out. We conducted educational robotics activities with children with special needs, primary school learners, secondary school learners and undergraduate students.

The doctoral dissertation of Annastasia Shipepe, MSc, entitled A design study on educational robotics in Namibia will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, Joensuu Campus. The opponent will be Teaching Professor Amy Eguchi, University of California San Diego, USA, and the custos will be and University Lecturer, Docent Ilkka Jormanainen, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the public defence is English.

For more information, please contact: 

Annastasia Shipepe,