By O. Fragou, A. Kameas, I. Zaharakis
The “e-Twinning Thematic Conference: Learning to Think in a Digital Society” took place in Athens between September 28 and 30, 2017 (http://www.etwinning.gr/tc2017). E-Twinning, the largest teachers network in Europe, has long promoted the ideas of innovation, creativity and critical thinking. The conference underlined the importance of computational thinking skills and emphasized their importance in teaching practice. Computational thinking represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set highlighted in the European Reference Framework on key competences for lifelong learning. The conference was attended by primary, secondary and vocational training teachers from all over Europe.
In the context of the H2020 project “UMI-Sci-Ed: Exploiting Ubiquitous Computing, Mobile Computing and the Internet of Things to promote STEM Education”, Computer Technology Institute and Press “Diophantus” organized a hands-on workshop (code W 10) (Day 2 Friday 29/9/2017 14:30 – 16:00). The organizers were Achilles Kameas, Associate Professor, Hellenic Open University & Director of Research Unit 3, Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus”, Ioannis Zaharakis, Associate Professor, TEI of Western Greece & Manager of Research Unit 3, & Manager of Research Unit 3, Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus” and Olga Fragou, Research Associate of Research Unit 3, Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus”.
A. Kameas presented UMI technologies and their importance in forthcoming digital society, explaining the scope of the UMI-Sci-Ed project and why it is important to focus on STEM education in order to enable young people to become tomorrow’s informed citizens and professionals. O. Fragou provided information on the initially designed instructional tools as well as actions undertaken in the UMI-Sci-Ed Communities of Practice placing emphasis on the presentation of the UMI-Sci-Ed platform which has been recently developed and launched as a basic tool for UMI-Sci-Ed community building. Finally, Hellenic Open University Post Graduate student, Nikolaos Chanos provided a demonstration of UDOO Neo kit (an extended Arduino-based platform with peripherals), and initial data from the implementation of UMI based educational scenario for secondary education.
Attendees had the opportunity to have hands-on experience with UDOO Neo Kit and they explored the UMI-Sci-Ed platform, which supports the Communities of Practice that are formed around STEM education scenarios, consisting of learning and teaching actors (students and teachers), instructional designers, academics and corporate stakeholders, so as to become acquainted with the platform tools: blog, wikis, forum, educational scenario upload etc. They also attended the presentation of preliminary data collected from implementing a UMI scenario in Greek Educational Settings of secondary education. The attendees were interested in the UMI field, in how the Communities of Practice could be used to leverage school teaching as well as in using the UMI-Sci-Ed platform as a springboard for additional scholarly activity.