Educational Robotics for STEM (ER4STEM)
The ER4STEM project aims to turn curious young children into young adults passionate about science and technology with a hands-on use case: robotics. The domain of robotics represents a multidisciplinary and highly innovative field encompassing physics, maths, informatics and even industrial design as well as social sciences. Moreover, due to various application domains, teamwork, creativity and entrepreneurial skills are required for the design, programming and innovative exploitation of robots and robotic services. The fascination for autonomous machines and the variety of fields and topics covered make robotics a powerful idea to engage with. Young girls as well as boys can easily connect robots to their personal interests and share their ideas through these tangible artefacts.
The concept of ER4STEM is founded on three important pillars of constructionism: engaging with powerful ideas, building on personal interests, and learning through making. ER4STEM offers students aged 7 to 18 as well as their educators’ different perspectives and approaches to find their interests and strengths in robotics to pursue STEM careers. A general aim is to develop a framework encompassing processes, tools and artefacts that allow the use of robots in learning spaces. Carrying out educational robotics workshops with more than 4000 children and adolescents throughout 5 European countries represents a main implementation activity to foster the interest and engagement in STEM. The project also encompasses the organization of student conferences and competitions for enabling young people to show what they have been empowered to do. Evaluation is a further core activity of ER4STEM in order to measure the outcome of the project framework and activities. For ensuring sustainability, a repository is created for obtaining but also sharing educational robotics course activities and curricula. These contents are structured according to so-called activity plans that support in making pedagogical design more explicit and elaborate.