AN EDUCATIVE PLATFORM BASED ON MAKECODE, CIRCUITPYTHON & SCRATCH FOR CREATIVITY AND PARTICIPATORY SCIENCES USING IOT BOARDS

STEAM education represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized evaluation, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. It is expected that between 2017 and 2027, the jobs that will require STEAM skills and competences will grow by 13%.

 

To tackle this challenge, schools in Europe must implement STEAM strategies and pedagogies to promote interdisciplinary and innovative initiatives within the classrooms.

 

In the framework of the STEAM movement, many platforms and tools for education based on digital learning, programming and computational thinking have emerged to help the teachers to develop new contents and new skills to motivate the students to become more actors than attendees.

This is the case of the platforms Scratch, MakeCode and CircuitPython.

 

 

This trend is nowadays visible in all European countries and should be tackled at International scale. Even if since the creation of the tools, many changes and optimizations have been done, their full potential is often not completely used or understood from the teachers depending on their own initial training on computational thinking and basic digital skills.

Development of a training of teachers computational thinking programme

Let’s STEAM is ambitioning to close the gap between the potential of digitally based educational pathways and the capabilities of the professors to exploit it based on a relevant curriculum dedicated to secondary schools’ teachers in the field of all STEAM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), including art and design.

 

These trainings will introduce basics competencies about programming and use of IoT electronic boards more specifically within the classroom. In addition, the courses will include major transversal training sessions related to creativity, interdisciplinary and computational thinking as a framework for the development of radically innovative pedagogical strategies.

 

The project will target at least 90 teachers, through on-site and on-line training sessions opened to all STEAM professors in Europe and beyond.

Going further in the teachers and student’s motivation in STEAM education

Besides its goal of training of teachers, Let’s STEAM is willing to provide a real opportunity to go further in creativity-based learning pedagogy and to enable using programming and Internet of Things in a novel way, based on societal challenges and citizen science rather than through the only technical vision.

 

Through Let’s STEAM, the objective will be to reconnect teachers and students with their capability to provide novel knowledge and results to the scientific and artistic community, and to motivate them in the use of computational competencies in a broader way.

Programming is a sensible, creative and reflective activity.

 

It allows to implement a computational thinking that commits the learner in an active approach of problem solving. 

Margarida Romero. Full professor. Learning, INnovation and Education (LINE) lab head. Partner of the Let's STEAM project

SCRATCH

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, linked to electronics boards, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

MAKECODE

Microsoft MakeCode is a free, open source platform for creating engaging computer science learning experiences that support a progression path into real-world programming.

 

Microsoft MakeCode brings computer science to life for all students with fun projects, immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels.

CIRCUITPYTHON

CircuitPython is a programming language designed to simplify experimenting and learning to code on low-cost microcontroller boards.

 

It makes getting started easier than ever with no upfront desktop downloads needed. Once you get your board set up, open any text editor, and get started editing code. It's that simple.

The Let’s STEAM project is co-funded by the European Union through the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership programme, operated by the French Erasmus + Agency. The project has a budget of 383 246 EUR and has started in September 2019 for 3 years until August 2022.