As economies in Europe and world continue to change and innovate in ways that could hardly have been imagined mere generations ago, it becomes all the more important that children and young people are taking up science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Indeed, society’s long-term capacity to innovate will require educators to have engaging and hands-on approaches to teaching STEM subjects, just as this in turn will require professional development for the teachers themselves.
Unfortunately, such approaches are too often overlooked in favour of less innovative and engaging lessons, frequently relying heavily on screen time for the children.
The Play2Learn project will develop educational content and lesson plans, supported by a do-it-yourself computer kit, to improve teaching efficiency and develop competences of teachers in delivering highly motivational and engaging lessons.
Teachers will learn how to build and configure a DIY computer, how to interact with it using electronic circuits, and how to use the software included in the operating system to develop games and programs for their students.
Transferring these activities in the classroom, kids will be introduced to computational thinking and programming in an interesting and engaging way.
The project has the following objectives:
- To provide educators with a hands-on approach to computational thinking, programming and STEM subjects which is engaging for children without increasing screen time.
- To develop an effective and motivating educational pack to introduce kids to coding while integrating fields of engineering, technology math and science.
- To promote needed employability skills, namely problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership and creativity.
- To create a community of practice for teachers and educators, through a virtual academy, who will be interested in disseminating the concepts of educational hands-on play.
Play2Learn is expected to:
- Boost the development of transversal problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Clarify findings regarding ways of introducing children to educational hands-on play.
- Improve the capacity of teachers to integrate innovative interventions into their instructional practices.
- Create evidence-based policy and research recommendations for the use of educational play in the classroom.
- Propose strategies for adopting educational hands-on play in the classroom.