School of Robotics is a partner in an Erasmus plus Higher Education project dedicated to developing methodologies and manuals dedicated to distance learning for pre-school children.
The full name of the project is Distance Learning Model Reinforced with Robotics for 3-7 Years Old Children, acronym EARLY; it started in November 2011 and will end in May 2024, for 30 months of activity. The coordinator is Kokaeli University in Turkey and the partners are:
the School of Robotics
the University of Latvia in Riga
the University of Mannheim, Germany
the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (IPV), Portugal
the Early Years Association, Ireland
the Mellis Ed. Tech. company, Turkey.
EARLY PROJECT NEEDS ANALYSIS
Before presenting the project, the partners investigated the need for future pre-school teachers to be up-to-date on the use of distance education. Indeed, university courses for these professions do not always provide training in ‘online and digital education for early childhood children’. Therefore, preschool teacher candidates mainly focus on face-to-face teaching activities. The lack of knowledge in this regard has already been reflected in the applications of current preschool teachers, as many of them complain that because they cannot interact with children due to the pandemic situation and school closures, their teaching processes have been negatively affected. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that the different aspects of the educational process must be able to be carried out even in the absence of the presence of face-to-face education. This emergency also highlights the need to carry out early education in other situations (sick children, situations of disability and various emergencies) and also in normal situations, to support learning at home and the ability of family members to care for young children. For this reason, preschool teacher candidates must be prepared for the different situations that require the support of children through distance education and must learn to involve parents in the educational process in order to achieve efficiency during distance education in the best possible way.
- To raise early school teaching undergraduates’ awareness of Distance Learning
- To contribute to eliminating the challenges which they will face while teaching children 3-7 years c. To meet them with innovative teaching activities that can be used to accelerate the learning processes of children 3-7 years.
- To contribute to the personal development of children 3-7 years in terms of fostering all children’s skills together with their peers with diversified backgrounds and personal features by raising prospective teachers’ awareness e.
- To obtain genuine, valid and reliable data on the needs of prospective teachers related to the teaching activities to engage children 3-7 years in the learning process more effectively.
The project aims to provide a methodology to support European teachers, parents, and young children about how best to utilize digital and online technologies to develop multimodal practices and to provide kindergarten and primary school teachers and tutors, Associated Partners and Stakeholders, and the European educational systems with a pedagogical methodology and some guidelines to autonomously design a Methodology for Online Education.
The project Results, will be:
Early Education Modular Course Curriculum and Lessons Plans for online labs dedicated to some of the subjects and themes selected and that will be related to the development of the young children’s various competencies as well as to the development of new ways – suitable and enjoyable for their young age – to communicate through digital tools and use them to share knowledge, emotions and experiences.
A Manual for Early Education online Labs. The style and design of this interactive handbook will be set up to be adopted as a university course, to be used by students and teachers for their professional updating, and be incorporated into the educational activities of various associations (teachers, parents, psychologists’ associations, pedagogues, pre-school clubs and associations, private schools, etc.)
An Online Early Education MOOC which will be an educational, evaluation, and monitoring and dissemination tool. This Project Result involves the creation of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) to upskill teachers interested in updating and expanding their pedagogical repertoire and integrate the use of technology in their practices. The aim is to make outputs available to a wider audience thanks to an Open Education Resources (OER) policy. It will be in English and translated into all partner’s languages.