News | 21 Feb 2018
Edu-Robotics – A robot for every school
Every primary school in Fryslân received an EDU robot in 2017, including a teaching package. Why? Because we think it is important that children have the opportunity to experience how much fun technology is. On February 21, 2018 we experienced our final EDU0-robotics event in Leeuwarden.
Dressed up in all sorts of guises, walking by the hand or sitting in a pram, more than 100 robots entered theater De Harmonie in Leeuwarden on Wednesday morning, 21 February. Accompanied by about 700 classmates from 125 Frisian primary schools, they get a place on stage for the opening act: doing a dance together. Afterwards, main guest astronaut André Kuipers opens his story: ,,Which one of you is afraid of robots? Not me!''.
For a story of the Dutch astronaut, the children are, strangely enough, quite easy to 'peel free' from the techno playground. Playing with robots, 3D pens and high-tech electronics is fun, but that's not what they came for alone. ,,Andre Kuipers is walking there!'', a number of children cheer. After a fascinating story about his space journey, in which Kuipers shows with impressive videos what daily life is like on board a space station, the children of CBS De Bron from Dokkum are impressed. ,,He is cool and interesting.'' What André Kuipers succeeds in, their teacher cannot: keep a room full of children fascinated for more than an hour. ,,But André Kuipers has an interesting story!''
His grandfather's Meccano sparked his interest in technology as a child. Kuipers: ,,Now I try to pass on some of my love for technology to children''. According to Kuipers, you can't start early enough with this. ,,That's why it's great that Innovatiecluster Drachten promotes technology at school with a robot.'' Many teachers are not technically skilled, according to him. “After all, it is not for nothing that they have opted for teacher training, instead of training in technology. That makes it difficult for technology to enter the classroom.”
Robot in the classroom
The robots initially promote a career in technology where we will need a lot of workers in the future. On the other hand, the robots can help with math, language and new skills such as computational thinking. This fantastic project is made possible in part by the province of Fryslân and the municipality of Smallingerland in collaboration with Christian Primary Education Fryslân (CBOF) and Public Education Fryslân (BDOF).
Look at the children how excited they are. By including more technology in the curriculum, interest in technology will grow. A robot is one aspect that the children come into contact with, programming and mechanical building is the other. This introduction to technology cannot start early enough. That's why soon in your class!
Alderman Roel Haverkort of the municipality of Smallingerland also sees this. Together with Frisian deputy Sander de Rouwe, he will award the prizes to the schools with the winning videos from the vlog challenge. "This is the age when you have to touch children with technology," Haverkort says. "That happens far too little now." According to him, primary schools are faced with the fact that there is no good technical education available. "They need help with this, as long as technology is not yet part of the curriculum." Children who are currently in primary school will choose further education in two or three years. Alderman Haverkort does not want to wait for that. ,,You see it today, schools themselves need technology education and children love it. This wakes you up with a day like today!"
Frisian deputy Sander de Rouwe agrees. “We are short of 'golden hands' and 'smart heads'. The director of Philips asked me the question: how will we get smart children to come and work for us in the future? By introducing them to technology at an early stage, of course. And that is exactly what is happening here today!” De Rouwe hopes that these children will help others to reassemble the robot. “This way the robot gets a new life in the next class.”
Afterwards, the students of the Queen Wilhelmina School from Hollum, De Bron from Dokkum and Dr. J. Botkeschool from Damwoude André Kuipers exclusively for them alone. They want to know everything about him. Can you get lost in space? Why is the sky so blue? Is there life beyond Earth? Do you need to know everything to become an astronaut? Kuipers answers patiently and enthusiastically and concludes with a message. “Robots will make our lives a lot better because they will take over boring and dangerous things from us. That's why I'm not afraid of robots. However, we must ensure that robots remain in good hands. You can build a house with a stone, but you can also punch a hole in someone's head. That is why it is important that we on earth work for democracy, fundamental rights and human rights. That should ensure that robots remain in good hands.”
One thing is certain, technology will change and determine the future of our children. That is why we hand out a robot with a teaching package to every primary school. This lesson package was made in collaboration with the two umbrella organizations for primary education in Fryslân. In addition, special attention was paid to the simple way in which teachers can offer it to the students. And for those who can't figure it out, students from ROC Friese Poort and Het Friesland College are ready to help.
EDU robot vlogs
Some enthusiastic Frisian primary schools have made a vlog with and about their EDU robot. Visit our YouTube channel for the vlog @EDU robots
EDU robot in the spotlight
Introducing students to technology is fun and building your own 'helper in the classroom' is great! Many companies and organizations offer technology in the classroom as a gadget. We go further by giving the robot a role in the curriculum to support the children in math, learning a foreign language and programming. Because we go further than just delivering a gadget, journalists are interested. View their contributions here.
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