“Free and mindful opportunities in schools to change the Future”
Verona 30th March 2019
The first botSTEM multiplier event has been organized in Verona (Italy) by Polo Europeo della Conoscenza with the title “Free and mindful opportunities in the schools to change the Future” at the Conference Centre of San Zeno on the 30th March 2019.
The event has been structured as a conference with international participants not only from the project’s countries but also from Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Russia, Uruguay.
The speakers from Italy and other European and extra-European countries have been 50. At the conference participated a total of 506 attendees of which 18 foreigners form Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Russia, Uruguay and 64 students.
During the morning there has been a plenary session with the introduction by both the Regional and Provincial director of education and 6 keynote speeches.
Ileana M.a Greca, full teacher in Specifics Didattics Department at the University of Burgos, presented botSTEM, a European project, and talked about robotics and STEM education for children and primary school.
Serafino Caloi, Primary School teacher, talked about his approach to teaching mathematics and how creativity helps in teaching and learning STEAM.
Ernesto Burgio, epigenetist, pediatrician and president of the ECERI, European Cancer and Environment Research Institute of Bruxelles, talked about the neurodevelopmental disorders and the risk of children’s brain in the Digital world.
Daniela Lucangeli, professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Padua, author of numerous research contributions in the field of mathematical learning and member of national and international scientific associations in the field of Learning and Developmental Psychology, talked about the need to chance the educational models and the teaching approach to avoid the cognitive gavage and performance anxiety.
Franco Nembrini, teacher, writer and pedagogist, talked about school and Math like one of the many Dante’s Divine Comedies and how to involve the students and to motivate them.
Raissa Pshenichnikova, Director at the Academy of Culture and Art of Eastern Siberia, talked about the sacred geometry of cosmos as an evolution of man and the development of his spiritual consciousness.
The video of the plenary session is at this link: http://www.europole.org/en/video-international-multiplier-event-free-and-mindful-opportunty-in-scool-to-change-the-future/
During the afternoon 25 parallel workshops took place in the rooms of the conference centre covering several topics: innovative STEM education methods, educational robotics, scientific experiments in primary school, teaching to disabled students with robotics and new technologies, early childhood education, teaching prosocial values, aware use of internet and smartphones, inclusive education for immigrants, etc.
The botSTEM partners conducted specific workshops.
The Universidad de Burgos presented at the Multiplier Event two different workshops related to robots and programming. In “Play and learn with Robots – Robotic educative STEM for the Kids’s talents development” teachers learnt the advantages of working with young children computational thinking abilities using unplugged activities.
Meanwhile, in the workshop “Robots in the Garden” parents, teachers and children tackled a real world problem: Plants care and maintenance, using robotics and programming. For this purpose, participants learnt to detect the temperature, the light conditions and the level of the moisture of a plant with a tiny programmable computer called BBC microbit. After that, the BBC microbit was programmed to water the plant when the moisture conditions were not appropriate.
Andreas Redfors, Björn Cronquist, Marie Fridberg from HKR – Hoegskolan Kristianstad Sweden had a presentation titled A Blue-Bot climbing experience.
The participant were given a short introduction to robotics and integrated STEM before being challenged to generate ways of getting a bluebot robot to reach an interesting cave on a mountainside, which in practice meant to get the robot to ’climb’ up a steep inclined plane produced from cardboard. The inclination was such that the robot could not manage to ’climb’ straight up, which brought in aspects of science via friction and gravitation. Interesting discussion arose.
Alexandros Kofteros and Matina Marathefti from Ideodromio chose to present Meet Edison robots to the participating educators. The workshop started with a brief introductory presentation about the robot, its specifications, its functionality etc. Then in groups of 3 or 4 persons, educators were given the chance to interact with robots, using barcodes on printed maps. They were asked to connect Edison’s actions with STEM concepts while playing and thinking as if they were small children. During the workshop, educators were very engaged, expressing their enthusiasm and great interest.
Arantza Blanco from KVeloce offered a workshop aimed specifically at teachers, to gather their experiences in the field of STEAM education. This workshop, using the methodology of World Café, was attended by professionals of education with different backgrounds, who discussed on different topics around STEM education. After the explanation of the dynamics by KVeloce, a list of statements was shown, for which the attendants stated their agreement and disagreement and their justification. The workshop showed that educators were highly motivated on teaching science fields, but they missed some further training specially regarding new technologies, robotics or coding; in this sense, the attendants stated an important gap in the skills needed for teaching code and programming. Besides, they highlighted the presence of key limitations related to staff and time, but also infrastructures and logistics, which are in addition unequal depending on the school, and the need to involve the families in STEM education at early ages. Finally, the views reflected that teachers did not perceive gender-based differences about STEM fields, neither in the interest of boys and girls, nor in the way these fields are tackled in the classroom.
Vanesa Fariza from Adele Robots presented “How to Create your own Virtual Robot”. The workshop was focused on creating a Virtual Robot to be used in the classrooms by teachers or students to evaluate other students knowledge or teach new concepts in a fun way. The participants could learn the instructions to create their own Virtual Robot and after that they tried to program their own. The students and teachers had to define and program questions and answers about the subjects they considered interesting. To do so, they had to take into account that questions can be formulated in different ways so they had to program different ways of asking the same question and also different correct answers not to create a static robot.