Periodic Reporting for period 2 - eCraft2Learn (Digital Fabrication and Maker Movement in Education: Making Computer-supported Artefacts from Scratch)
Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2018-12-31
Importance. Through the integration of available technologies and the deployment of suitable craft- and project-based pedagogies, we envisioned the solid emergence of the eCraft2Learn learning ecosystem suitable to foster learners’ 21st-century skills and to shift the role of the teacher to that of a coach. The eCraft2Learn project establishes digital fabrication and making as 21st-century learning activities in formal and informal educational contexts; and encourages a paradigm shift in technology education from a black box and silo products to a white box so that learners become designers and makers of transparent problem-solving artefacts.
Objectives. The eCraft2Learn project aimed at researching, designing, piloting and validating a learning ecosystem for 21st-century STEAM education to foster deeper learning. With this goal in sight, the project targeted the expansion of a holistic knowledge base from the development of innovation management techniques needed to support craft- and project-based learning through the deployment of suitable pedagogy supported by making and digital fabrication tools. The project also targetted facilitating learners use of breakthrough technologies for learning, i.e. 3D technologies (modelling, visualisation, simulation and printing), computer programming tools and A.I. cloud services within a social context through one single unified user interface for design and creation of computer-supported artefacts. With this, we expect to foster positive changes in attitudes towards STEAM education through the integration of maker movement practices that allow the co-design and co-creation of computer-supported artefacts.
- a pedagogical methodology for deploying digital fabrication and making as part of STEAM education following five stages: ideation, planning, creation, programming and sharing
- a technical infrastructure constituting a physical learning environment for enabling digital fabrication
- a digital platform to support the pedagogical methodology: the unified user interface(UUI) for students and the learning analytics system interface for teachers, and
- an online educators community to enable them to connect and share experiences or questions on deploying and running the eCraft2Learn ecosystem or similar initiatives in the field.
To enable teachers and learners to deploy and work within the ecosystem, the project has created a large number of support materials which can be found on the digital platform and the official project website. To provide an overview of the ecosystem and get started with deploying it, the project has created a user manual containing 10 user guides for educators that are accessible through the project website, including use-cases and personas. The digital platform contains 100+ OERs on using electronic devices, using 3D printing and 3D modelling, using A.I. programming, worksheets, troubleshooting, and additional materials from the Ultimaker and Arduino Communities. Additional 30+ video resources are available on the project YouTube channel describing good practices, sample projects, introducing the UUI and the pedagogical methodology, as well as testimonials from teachers, students, coaches and parents involved in the project pilots. To answer technical questions for educators, Arduino has additionally provided 45 live-casts on educational aspects of their devices.
To raise awareness of the project result in the scientific community, in the broad educator community, as well as in policymakers and additional groups, the project has presented its outcomes in more than 55 conferences, events and exhibitions across the planet. The project has also released 26 scientific publications accessible through the project website. To enable the future exploitation of the ecosystem by deploying it in the classroom, the project website, the social media channels and the digital platform itself, contain abundant information on all of the components of the learning ecosystem.
Upon project conclusion, all defined claims on the benefits of the learning ecosystem have been validated by the pilot’s participants through a mixed scientific method to evaluate their experiences. The research data for the validation of claims came from classroom/session observations, questionnaires, learners' and teachers' diaries, interviews with learners and teachers in Greece and Finland, statements received by parents as well as additional documentation received by the participating teachers regarding the educational value of the eCraft2Learn learning intervention. The impact measurement confirms the following claims:
1. The eCraft2Learn ecosystem fosters Creativity
2. The eCraft2Learn ecosystem fosters Critical Thinking
3. The eCraft2Learn ecosystem fosters Problem Solving
4. The eCraft2Learn ecosystem fosters Collaboration Skills
5. The eCraft2Learn ecosystem is useful as a supporting backbone to the craft- and project-based learning pedagogy.