TheDexterLab project aims to develop simple and affordable solutions to maintain scientific experimentation activities within and outside the classroom stimulating students' creativity and digital tools. Access to scientific instrumentation in secondary education is often hindered by the unequal availability of resources in the educational world between countries and schools across Europe. This leads to a low diversity of experimentation tools available, complicating the possibility for teachers to develop large-scale STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) activities, in an interdisciplinary logic and focused on a better understanding by the students of the societal challenges of our century, illustrating the link between scientific and technical issues and their impact on the citizens’ daily life. In addition, the current COVID-19 crisis has accentuated the inequalities between students because of the necessary but complex hybridization of the learning modalities regarding, for instance, access to educational material and to digital resources. Today impacted by both sanitary and distance learning issues, experimental activities are hence heavily affected, yet crucial in understanding scientific processes. TheDexterLab project was designed to respond to this short- and long-term challenge by creating several resources associated with scientific experimentation protocols, making it possible to maintain and stimulate the use of active pedagogies in secondary education. These resources include:
The development of scientific instruments for data collection and analysis, or DIY devices, available to all at low cost, modular and reusable, conceived through a Do-It-Yourself approach for being easily replicable at school, within fab labs or at home.
The development of simulation tools, making it possible to overcome the lack of financial resources and to maintain scientific activities without degradation, whether the material is available for the student/class, with the underlying objective of stimulating the digital programming skills of the learners.
Finally, supporting documentation and guidelines allow the proper understanding and implementation of TheDexterLab protocols under ideal conditions, within formal and informal learning ecosystems.
Within TheDexterLab , the objective is to enable students to build their own devices enabling them to perform STEAM experiments. These devices will be generally based on programming boards ensuring the proper functioning of the sensors needed for performing data collection needed in the understanding of the scientific concept approached. It is hence crucial for the students to have enough materials and tutorials to understand how to use the boards, program and run them. The activity sheets created under Let's STEAM will hence be a very good basis to ease the implementation of this project step. In addition, the simulation tool developed will be based on the MakeCode programming editor integrating several simulation scenarios. In the framework of overpassing barriers linked to accessibility/affordability of scientific instrumentation, simulation scenarios will be used as an adequate substitute to physical scientific instruments. Simulated scientific reactions or collection of data on the MakeCode editor will hence enable to maintain, in all the possible settings, the scientific activities without degradation. This will further contribute to developing the competencies of both teachers and learners in the field of programming. Available as open material on TheDexterLab project website, these resources will make it possible to maintain and stimulate the use of active pedagogies in secondary education.
Discover more about TheDexterLab resources here.