Technology is critical for innovation, yet schools struggle to get students interested in this area. Teaching robotics and programming, closely connected to robotics, could change this. Robotics matches the new digital technologies curriculum, strongly supported by the VET schools and other school institutions all of Europe, however, it is still not enough in schools. There are at least five reasons to teach robotics in schools:
- Students find it fun,
- Robotics is an effective way of introducing programming to students,
- Programming and robotics provide skills useful in future employment,
- Robotics and programming is suitable for students with a range of abilities,
- Robotics demystifies a complex technology.
The project "Modelling educational robot" is meeting the necessity of the 21st Digital Century Society to implement as much as possible in the regular and open curriculum the subjects programming and robotics. Robotics helps address the growing demand for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools. By exemplifying technology directly by programming the robot, students also learn about science, engineering, and mathematics, and get an understanding of how these subjects link together.
Robotics is enhancing the student's understanding of what machines can and cannot do, which is the best way to address student's fears in this area. By programming robots, students can discover if they have the aptitude and interest in the job market of the future, and the truth is, that there’s no doubt that there will be a need for people to be involved in programming mechanical devices in the foreseeable future.
The MER Consortium consists of six partners:
- Šolski center Novo mesto, Slovenia
- ITIS Polo Tecnico Fermi-Gadda, Italy
- Muratpasa Mesleki ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi, Turkey
- Univerza v Ljubljani - Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Slovenia
- IUS Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina
- Technological institute AIJU, Spain
All the institutions have a huge background in programming and construction of robots, as huge teaching experiences in this area as well. Students from these institutions are already engaged in the robotics, however, the institutions are also aware of the fact that in the future almost 40% of jobs will be replaced with robots, which means that an extra emphasis should be given in implementing as much as possible the modern technologies in the school curriculums.
The project covers two main intellectual outputs: “Educational modular robot” (Output 1), and E-learning online course "Make your own robot" (Output). The main purpose of the Output (01), Educational modular robot, is to build an educational modular robot in different levels, from the very basic level, mid-level, high-level to the extra-high autonomous level (with two solutions from the Universities) and to upgrade at each level programming codes and structural units.
The main purpose of the Output (02), E-learning online course "Make your own robot", is to build up a complete online e-Learning course, with the implemented different levels in the construction of a robot from Output (01), always leading the player (constructor) to the right path in case the solution for programming and construction is not the right one. This course is not only about the construction of a robot but also about programming codes, which are also user-friendly and leading the student (constructor) from the very basic codes to the most complex one in a playable way, through the game.
Throughout this project, expected are manifold impact of this project on different aspects, among others:
- on the expanding and updating of the curriculum of school subjects included in the training cycle Programming and construction of robots
- on enhancing the tolerance and diversity in inclusive schools
- on teachers through training (as they are the "carriers" of knowledge, and will have a crucial role in expanding all the information, "know-how" methodology)
- on stakeholders, community (in general), LLL community
- on all the audience interested in robotics at local, regional, national and international level.