In August the innovative project „Robotics in Gniew Municipality” has been launched in our municipality, which is the winner of our MICRO INNOVATION competition. Mikrostyk provided a grant for purchasing the equipment and conducting a series of robotics workshops for children and youth from Gniew municipality. Where did this idea come from and why was this project selected by our jury?
The digital economy is currently the fastest developing sector in the world, at seven times higher than the average for the economy as a whole. It is therefore important that children and young people become interested in new technologies early on.
At present, 90% of all jobs require at least basic IT skills. At the same time, despite increasing access to technology, as many as 50% of employees possess insufficient competencies in this area. So we have to deal with a core competence gap. Completing this gap over the coming years is one of the most important tasks of modern education.
Observation shows that in most teaching systems, this gap appears during the first 12 years of education – the competences developed during this period do not match those required during higher education or on the labor market. In Poland there are about 12 million digitally excluded people, without access to new technologies.
The challenges that modern education must face, have never been so great in history. Programming has been included in the new core curriculum of school education since September this year. Developers criticize the bad approach to teaching programming to the youngest children. There is a lack of appropriately prepared staff as well as adequate equipment in educational institutions.
Ms. Anna Ziółkowska and her project „Robotics in Gniew Municipality” address this problem by offering programming workshops for the youngest, using robotic learning kits created by Lego Education, among others Lego WeDo and Wonder Dash and Dot sets.
Dash and Dot are robots for children over the age of 5. Equipped with numerous sensors, they can be programmed in plenty of ways. Robots are driven by intuitive graphical applications that can be handled through a tablet or smartphone. The children enter the programming world by playing with robots – they create events, algorithms, build sequences and loops.
Physically existing, self-built mechanisms make encoding/programming become more realistic for many pupils. It is much easier to understand the program code when a robot performs it in the physical world right next to us and not as provided for during school classes without the possibility of putting it into practice.
These workshops are aimed at children and young people as an opportunity to spend free time and expand their knowledge. These activities will familiarize even the youngest pupils with the concept of programming and construction, and show how much joy and benefit we can derive from them.