Botstem.org: An Online Community of Practice

One of the aims of BOTSTEM is to create an online community of practice for teachers interested in implementing STEM activities in their teaching. The botstem.org platform is based on the leading Virtual Learning Environment Moodle which offers tools for the creation and dissemination of interactive activities and social inclusion, using forums, chatrooms and even live audio-video conferencing.

On the front page of the platform, users can view any unread messages from other peers or from members of the project teams. On the calendar, significant events can be shown, both for local events (ie a robotics competition in Italy) as well as international events (Project meeting).

Clicking on the “Botstem for teachers” link can lead to the main course page where all the material regarding STEM can be found. On the top of the page, each partner has created a unique forum for the countries involved (Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece). Currently, more than 50 teachers have accounts to the platform and this number is expected to rise significantly when the platform is officially launched for the school year 2019 – 2020.

The page is also comprised of another seven categories. In the first category, labeled “What is STEM”, we have created short explanatory videos as an introduction for novice teachers. In the category “STEM Methods” we introduce the basic methodologies employed when teaching STEM subjects in schools. Again, short videos were created as an introduction to novice teachers interested in STEM subjects.

In “Computational Thinking”, short videos explain the concepts for introducing students to computer programming. In “Robots and Inclusion”, good practices of robotics in education are presented. In “Assessment”, a short introductory video is included along with rubrics for evaluation.

Finally, an “Evaluation Questionnaire” has been created in four languages (Spanish, Italian, Greek and Swedish) for participating teachers.

Botstem.org is a living community of teachers, continually being updated, upgraded and enriched. Our intention is to help create a thriving community where teachers from various countries log online, not only to access material but also to share their content and experiences.