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The Robo-School project: for the first time a robot helps students learn math and art

An innovative educational initiative from Dschola, in association with Comau and CRT Foundation, will run through May for about 3,000 students from 6 to 19 years old

A robot that helps students learn part of the school curriculum, such as math and art, boosts the ability to learn through the interactive use of new technologies. This is the aim of the Robo-School project, carried out by Dschola in partnership with CRT Foundation and Comau, for around 3,000 Piedmontese students from 6 to 19 years old and 100 professors. Through May 2017, a total of 38 schools will be involved: 14 primary schools and 24 secondary schools (13 of which already participate in the CRT Foundation’s Diderot project).

Robo-School is an innovative educational initiative, both in terms of the proposed working methods and its objectives. In fact, for the first time, learning at school is helped by an interactive "student-robot" collaboration. Students are not going to study robotics, as is already the case in some schools, but will use the robot as a real teaching tool  able to make normal school subjects, like math and art, more interactive and fascinating.

Robo-School project is a concrete example of how advanced technologies can be used to develop a new way of learning, effectively integrating and supporting traditional teaching tools and methodologies. The robot selected to work alongside students in their learning adventure is the new e.DO articulated robot, designed and constructed by Comau (in open-source) to be used for educational purposes.

"Using a tool like the robot alongside the 'language' of the students, we bring schools in our territory highly innovative teaching methodologies, capable of becoming true best practices for the country,” says the General Secretary of the CRT Foundation,Massimo Lapucci. “Robo-School is experienced for the first time in the classes of Diderot Project of the CRT Foundation, which annually offers thousands of students the opportunity to approach in a creative and inspiring way disciplines in very different fields, supporting and complementing the daily work of the teachers."

"Comau is proud to participate in a valuable project like Robo-School, with such great partners in CRT Foundation and the Dschola Association, together with a significant number of schools here in Piedmont," states Donatella Pinto, Head of Human Resources for Comau. "This project is concrete proof of the relevance of robots within an educational framework, with educational purposes, and their ability to become an innovative work tool for students and teachers alike. To this end, they can help develop new skills within a constantly evolving educational scenario that is open to change."

Each of the schools that are involved in the project will participate with three different classes. Aided by the presence of a science communicator, students are required to attend a specific module that includes a math or art lesson lasting 100 minutes. Students first learn how a robot works, what its components are and how to assemble some of its parts. The robot “created” in the classroom will then be used by students to perform several school activities. Learning outcomes, achieved thanks to Robo-School, will be assessed by professors based on objective criteria that are established at an early stage of the project.

For example, to facilitate math learning, primary school students have to move geometric figures using a robot on which a clamp has been mounted. These figures are then placed in a defined area, from which the students will calculate the perimeters. The secondary schools, however, will use a robot equipped with a graphic instrument, and students must find points in space and plot curves on the Cartesian plane.

On the other hand, for the primary and secondary school students who are following the art module, the Robo-School project will be dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci inventions. These inventions will be studied and compared using modern robotic technologies. Using robots, students can then perform operations typical of some of the machines invented by Da Vinci. For example, the ability to move object using a robot equipped with a clamp can be considered analogous to the crane invented by the famous scientist.

In addition, the Robo-School project enables the participating institutions to take part in a public competition regarding cooperation between human and robots.  Entries are due by April 8, 2017, which requires students to send a draft (pictures, video, drawings, etc.) to the Organizing Committee.

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