Educational Robotics at Schools Online with Augmented Reality

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a strategic partnership and later – a self-sustained professional community in the intersection of Educational Robotics and Augmented reality. All activities related to the production of IOs, all other tangible and intangible results, all events, and other activities will contribute to this goal.

The Educational Robotics at Schools Online with Augmented Reality – eROBSON project is motivated by the need to enable teaching educational robotics and other STEM topics in online and blended modes supported by digital tools. This need has been highlighted by the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic.

Educational Robotics is a term to describe educational approaches that use platforms such as Arduino, LittleBits and Mindstorms for STEM education. These approaches traditionally depend on face-to-face activities in laboratory environments and on the availability of special equipment and consumables.

eROBSON proposes a new approach of delivering laboratory courses. The approach is of low implementation cost, easy to adopt and has a zero risk of transmitting COVID19 or other viruses. The approach suggests using Augmented Reality to simulate the necessary lab equipment and the hands-on interaction with it. Augmented Reality is a technology that enhances human perception with additional, computer-generated sensorial input to create a new user experience.

The main objectives of the project are as follows. First, to enable teaching of educational robotics and STEM subjects in the context of COVID19 pandemic by (a) creating new pedagogical approaches for conducting practical hands-on learning activities in online and blended modes, (b) designing an original approach of using AR-enhanced simulations of different educational robotics platforms, and (c) designing a methodology that includes pedagogical approaches, technological solutions, and processes. Second, to facilitate capacity building among STEM teachers by (a) designing dedicated teacher training materials in a form of a teacher guide and (b) organizing teacher training workshops. Third, to improve the quality of STEM education across Europe by (a) producing educational robotics materials for schools and (b) piloting STEM educational activities that are not available in the pandemic.

The main target group of the project is school pupils studying STEM subjects. Some of the results target school teachers of STEM and science education and aim to provide the necessary guidance and the necessary tools to implement the proposed approach in the real classroom.

The design of the project is guided by the European policies, strategies and tools. The project aims to improve the digital competence of educators and subsequently their students by developing a comprehensive set of educational resources that can be used for remote teaching of practical STEM subjects, are open and accessible online (EU initiative “Opening Up Education”).

The project follows the “Digital Learning & ICT in Education” 2018 and “Digital Education Action Plan” 2018 by promoting innovative technology-enhanced learning practices which are rapidly becoming the new mainstream during the COVID19 pandemic. The project aims to enable new pedagogical approaches that provide an engaging and effective digital substitute to the traditional learning in the lab, making lab-based learning possible during a pandemic and generally more accessible in any context. All results and materials designed in the project will be evaluated, widely disseminated and available online as OERs.

The project is guided by the European skills frameworks: “Digital skills framework” and the “Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) by involving teachers into the process of designing educational materials and providing a framework with universal building blocks with practical guidelines on both creating new materials and using them in teaching.

The project supports the ”EU Cohesion Policy”, focusing on social inclusion according to students requirements and preferences based on the UN definition of inclusion.

The eROBSON project includes five Intellectual Outputs. The partners will organize three Multiplier Events and three Learning/Teaching/Training activities in order to effectively fulfill its objectives.

eROBSON’s main impact will be to transform interactive robotics teaching to remote teaching scenarios. The project will produce the tools, guidelines, and validated examples of educational materials to help educators to perform interactive teaching in the field of educational robotics remotely by means of Augmented Reality.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Erasmus Plus programme, grant agreement 2020-1-NO01-KA226-SCH-094120.