The Project

While mobile robotics is growing in educational systems in several European countries, the fact that it is still too expensive to buy a robot limits the experience to small groups and the most favored and richest social strata. So, the partners have come together to create a low-cost robotic kit that can be used on a large scale. We are talking about a robot that can cost 1/5 of the value of a standard kit in use in the market. Thus, it may no longer be an activity for some economically proficient students (in-school but generally at extracurricular clubs), and may be a reality for all students in activities within the curriculum. On the other hand, there is no systematic introduction of robotics in school curricula within the European school systems (e.g. Detsikas & Alimisis, 2011; Litinas & Alimisis, 2013). Since there is no systematic approach to introducing robotics to curricula, but programming and robotics are nowadays based on particular initiatives of some teachers (such as teachers of this partnership), this project will use the current legal possibility of using the curriculum in a more flexible approach for developing a curriculum to programming and Mobile Robotics. Through a new approach to curriculum, teachers involved in the project also need to be improved on new pedagogical approaches on how to teach mobile robotics. We believe it is an innovative project that can reach many students but also complements the efforts that all project partners wish to make to address the challenges that present-day teachers place in the teaching and learning processes.

The project has three key phases that are considered in more detail within the first part of the ‘Management’ section. These are:

Phase 1 (3 months) – The project partners working collaboratively to develop a mobile robotics kit that innovates to establish an effective learning tool that has a cost-level that schools would find easier to bear than the current options. We will innovate using the current options as a starting point,

Phase 2 (12 months) – The project partners working with each each other’s experience and capacities to design a course for teachers and to develop the materials for the course (EDMODO platform). As the central paradigm is often to design training courses with technology, but without changing the pedagogical way of using it, our innovation is to develop a teaching and learning toolkit on Mobile Robotics that can be introduced in the school’s curriculum. We will also innovate within the Learning Teaching Training Activities during this phase within the face-to-face sessions hosted by two of the project Partners so that flexibility is built into the teaching programme, allowing for adaptation as the course progresses according to the feedback from the teachers who are taking the course.

Phase 3 (9 months) – Testing Outputs in students training – Teachers will coach their students using the teaching and learning toolkit designed previously. As stated in the Management section, the innovation of the project is connected with the latest trends, which combine the educational process with the use of technology, applying gamification into the pedagogical strategy for the students. Our initiatives will be dedicated to the introduction of gamification into learning methods and, at the same time, the development of practical skills needed in everyday life. During this period, students will take part in robotics competitions organized by the Partners who receive them: every three months, a milestone for the assessment of implementation with its students. A sequence of lessons considers a granular approach to learning processes. Students will earn points throughout the learning process, possible points used in competitions organized by the partners. The points can be translated, for example, into extra tasks for the accomplishment of tasks in the competitions, an extra hour of the help of the teachers, the bonifications in the achieved results, etc. Gamification with students helps a new pedagogical practice with the potential to achieve changes in the educational process using technology as a tool and not as a goal.

We are aware of the value of innovation and will strive and every point of reflection and consideration to ensure that an innovative process is at the heart of our approach.