Title Integrated physics approach to robotics designed laboratory
Project Number 2011-1-HR1-LEO05-00828
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text Our goal is development of new practices and methods for teaching integrated and practical subjects like robotics, mechatronics and electronics through self-explanatory school laboratory simultaneously developing informatics skills and basic knowledge of more fundamental subjects like physics and mathematics.
In the project proposal we outlined the following outcomes:
(i) implementation, adaptation and enhancement of existing ComLab courses, software and equipment according to the curriculum of vocational secondary schools,
(ii) development and design of new courses, software and laboratory equipment,
(iii) implementation of low-cost and freeware, open-source software,
(iv) integration of "conventionally hard" physics concepts in attractive robotics environment,
(v) development of new practices and methods for teaching integrated approach in school laboratory,
(vi) dissemination of this innovative equipment and approach across vocational schools in all partner countries and wider in Europe, establishing "International Summer Schools in Robotics and Electronics".
Through analysis of 15 crucial points, which we stated as the project results or products, we will show that all six declared outcomes are present in our work. Moreover, it should be visible that all our efforts and strategies went in a direction specified in the project proposal. Within the project developing documentation (e.g. consortium minutes and reports) we are documenting our attitude in progress control with respect to 8 declared work-packages. We were permanently insisting on a proper synchronization of all consortium activities.
Description Partners involved in the consortium originate from different educational fields; university science education (P0, P6), university technical education (P4), university pedagogical education (P1), vocational schools (P2,P3) and educational agency (P5). Different primary orientations of partners and their institutions can be disadvantage if the work plan is inadequately scheduled, on contrary if one is aware of diversity in consortium you can redistribute jobs in a way that this variety become advantage. Collaboration between Slovenian and Croatian partner coordinators (Kocijančič and Androić) actually originates from year 2009. Both of them then held workshop for Croatian physics teachers. This collaboration continues through Summer Schools of young physicists and finally transforms in the official international collaboration when in year 2011 first LdV-ToI projects were open to be governed by Croatian promoters. Communication with Romanian and Turkish partner organizations arises at a period of LdV project planning. So the whole project timing was scheduled in a sense that we can start very quickly with intensive transfer of innovation between Croatian and Slovenian members of consortium giving to Romanian and Turkish partners adjusting time through the first international summer school. But on the second international summer school Turkish partner has very distinguished role in preparing advanced robotics international laboratory called mini sumo robot project. Students from Romania and Turkey were included very successfully inside international robotics group, too.
Utilization and distribution of results
Open and distance learning
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Information and Communication
material for open learning
open and distance learning
From the beginning we knew that the basic robotics one week curriculum works fine because for years it exists and it was well tested in Slovenian schools. But diversity of ideas within so called advanced electronics and especially robotic lab we could not expect. For example Turkish mini sumo robot exercise was a surprising complete success. We are always asked by people from media about this laboratory.
Because Croatian and Slovenian scholar systems originates from the same, so called Central European education system, our knowledge resources of teachers are comparable. Crucial difference is in the fact that robotics and electronics are more present in Slovenian primary schools than in Croatian. On a level of vocational schools there are also many similarities. Widely present problem is that in Croatia and also in Slovenia a certain number of teachers and trainers prefer traditional electrical engineering approach with a lot of knowledge pre- requests before actual doing by hands is started. This attitude cannot be changed by the force or by prescribed programs. Only good examples, like summer schools and camps on electronics and robotics, can change that attitude. So in our two summer schools we had dozens of different teachers and trainers without forcing them to be directly involved in our laboratory activities. General rule is that you can quickly change equipment but people are changing slowly.
Our activities, geographically speaking, are not divided by borders. Actually there are no significant differences between Croatian and Slovenian schools. Romanian partner and Turkish partner were involved in summer schools with smaller number of teachers so we expect indirect effect to their scholar system. It is worth to notify that partners from vocational schools are geographically close to the Croatian and Slovenian border.
The best parts of our strategy are learning through example and learning with pupils’ own speed. Do the things by head and hands. These principles are valid for both, teacher education and student education.
All the time we were teachers/trainers and students oriented. Learning itself is synergic process between teachers and pupils.
We have quantitative parameters that show our success by measuring interests for summer schools and camps, but also by growing interest for showrooms in elementary schools and gymnasiums with humanistic curricula.
We notify especially significant interest in Istria. Sometimes it is related to teachers’ engagement itself, but also to the local economy with growing informatics and electrotehnics companies.
Croatian and Slovenian subsection of consortium can act as a very compact group either geographically or by forming the common: program point of view. Romanian partner is coming from the field of educational agency so impact of INFIRO good practice can be propagated from above. Turkish partner is from technical education field and their connection and eminent role inside INFIRO collaboration is a good reference for future activities.
Result and feedback
It is clearly visible from the project proposal that we promised to handle with variety of problems in vocational education related to robotics, electronics and even physics and informatics field. Our primary goal is to change education paradigm in which particular knowledge is subject of particular reduced educational process. Our approach is clearly interdisciplinary. This fact is making our schools/camp not perceived as uninteresting school so even less capable students achieving results in learning by hand environment. So interest in our activities is not merely from talented and high motivated student population, but also from a domain of “ordinary” students.
Aims of dissemination
Our dissemination is different in a case of different target population. Generally it is easier to motivate young people and students for learning robotics and electronics. Advertising our way of teaching approach between teachers and trainers population is a little bit difficult because we have to straggle with a lot of prejudice formed by previous experience. Most efficient dissemination is in teaching student population because they learning and learning how to teach others almost concurrently.
National VET System
National VET system is a far to be perfect. Society is in long turn economic crises and very often can be heard that we are not producing adequate working potential in the current vocational school systems. Our project is strongly supporting technical education which is not always properly represented in vocational schools curricula. We have, as consortium, good experience for now vocational school curriculum improvements.
For partners’ society situation is the same. Any good practice and experience in the technical education is always welcome because their societies are also overcrowded with young people without any/proper technical education or training.
We have impact on young growing companies interested in technically and scientifically good educated persons. During project period we demonstrated our work to them. They support our activities through showrooms and exhibitions, booth during the first and the second summer school.
There are two types of influences. One way is through direct individual teacher to teacher connection. Our teachers of technical education have a sort of permanent education obligatory seminars. The second way is through educational system itself. Some partners a coming from universities where they teaching are educating young teachers. Promoting our work through university learning we can develop good impact. Unfortunately I must say that future teacher and trainers work (today students) is not satisfactorily valorised through LdV-ToI financial scheme.
We are planning to develop our collaboration through meetings around summer school events. Actually we arranged the third summer school in Slovenia in summer 2014. General financial scheme is that we can count on self-financing of students, sponsors support for teacher and trainers, and hardware support and equipment is from remaining resources of current project. We are also planning new project with novel additional value.