Monday, 28 September 2015

Make it NOW! Learning, Exploring and Understanding: Call for Sessions open!

Make it NOW! Learning, Exploring and Understanding -conference aims to provide an arena for discussions on craft, design and technology as an innovative combination of knowledge and skills related to eco-social values in altering the world according to human needs and wants.

The organizers are pleased to invite session proposals to the Make it NOW! Learning, Exploring, Understanding -conference to be held at Turku University, in Rauma Unit, on September 28 through 30, 2016. The goal of the sessions is to provide a forum for focused discussions on current and future-oriented research topics and results as well as innovative approaches on making, learning, exploring and understanding in the context of craft, design and technology. The session call will remain open until September 30, 2015. All session proposals must be submitted online:

Friday, 18 September 2015

Programming and robotics in teacher education seminar

Teacher educators and researchers from Finnish universities were met on 17th - 18th September in the University of Turku, Rauma Unit around the theme programming and robotics in teacher education. This meeting was a follow up event for the last spring seminar placed in Helsinki. Now in two day seminar, four workshops and several discussions were arranged in Rauma around the theme. Innokas verkosto, the University on Turku and sat@oppi were the responsible organisators of the current seminar. The organizers of the workshops were Kati Sormunen from the University of Helsinki (Startup for coding workshop), Markku Leino from the University on Turku (Lego Mindstorms EV3 workshop), Markku Lähetkangas from Festo Oy (Festo MecLab workshop), Timo Tiusanen from Step Systems Oy (VexRobotics IQ workshop) and Anna-Maija Partanen from the University of Lappland (Programming in the new curriculum workshop).

Prorgramming is becoming as a new content to the renewing Finnish core curriculum in basic education 2016. Programming will not be an independent subject, rather it will be included in different existing subjects. The seminar held in Rauma was a forum for discussions and future plans how to enhance teacher students and inservice teachers technological, pedagogical and content knowledge related to programming and robotics. Technology development is a challenge for educators, forcing them percistently to refresh their knowledge and competencies. Co-operation and sharing this knowledge is necessary to ensure effectively being up to date.

Seminar participants introduced to the discussion about the theme programming in the new curriculum 2016

Testing VexRobotics IQ

Programming Lego Mindstorms EV3

In the Festo MecLab workshop

Presentation of The Teacher Student Union of Finland

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Mechatronics and programming with Arduino

Very much work was done during the spring term in Rauma. Many of our students' Arduino projects were completed, and some of them were really fantastic. Some of the projects will be continued in the next term, partly becouse of the rebuilding arrangements in our campus in the late of the spring. In the future we are going to improve our course more towards embedded systems so that more diverse projects and new materials could be included. For example e-textiles would be one of the next alternatives. Here I'd like to introduce you one of our current projects: it is a mobile controlled small crawler, or "Arduino tank". The video has also been done by our students.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Programming as a challenge at schools

Yle Uutiset Suora linja is a Finnish TV magazine in which the reporters are talking about actual topics. The discussion is open for all audience via internet, and comments can be sent beforehand in the Yle Uutiset www-platform. In November 2013 Yle Uutiset Suora linja opened the discussion about the idea that programming should be taught in the Finnish comprehensive school. An argument was presented that for example in the Great Britain the Prime Minister Michael Cove has been standing up to get programming in the British National Core Curriculum.
Comments to Yle Uutiset were sent both on behalf of and against of the argument. Many commentators suggested programming as an optional subject. Bad and negative experiences about the own school years were reported. More all-round ICT education was suggested. I see that the challenge is to find a reasonable contest for programming as a content of education. The teachers’ knowledge about content and reasonable pedagogical competencies, as well as hardware and stuff for building and practice are requirements for success.
In our university Derpartment of Teacher Education, Rauma Unit we have continued to study programming related to our students’ Arduino microcontroller projects. We started our projects in October last year in the guidance of the visitig teacher Jussi Romppanen. On the 11th to 13th February this year we had the next active intensive period leaded by Mr Romppanen. The time between has been controlled mostly via the course wiki, but also some of the supervision and guiding has been hold in our campus.  The world of programming has been like learning to speak a new language. In the early stages students have been unsure about their abilities, and the familiarization to the programming has been challenging. The very basics are easy to understand, but the appliance and combining the control of different sensors and actuators for functional and sophisticated code has been the challenge. Our students have designed very fine projects, but much work has to be done before the happy end. Now it is also the time to consider, how do our students could use and exploit their experiences later in their work in the comprehensive school context. The functional pedagogical models for working with young children has to be found out.
The alarm clock project

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Teacher In-Service Course KäpOp2.0

Learning is something you should have motivation and enthusiasm. In technology education, the teacher should find out strategies to combine theoretical contents and practical activities in the student’s projects. For example, concepts concerning electricity or electronics are abstract and difficult to understand for the students.

Last week in KäpOp2.0 teacher in-service course the temporary students (or teachers in their real life) were studying the contents related to electricity and electronics. They were engaged in theoretical lessons, but also worked with electricity experimental material, which was conducted by a narrative background material. The idea about two secret agents seeking an extremely precious diamond “The Crown of Serengeti” and in the same time solving problems related to electricity and physics phenomena was the narrative in the background of the experiment material. These teachers experienced, that the material would be very motivational for primary school pupils.

Fortunately in our digitizing society we also have lots of possibilities to exploit free learning materials through the internet. As one example, our student teachers familiarized themselves with some learning games. One example of them was a puzzle for connecting bulbs and wires to the batteries in order to make a working circuit:

Our "teacher students" doing experiments


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mechatronics course

This week we have had a pleasure to have a visiting teacher Jussi Romppanen in our Derpartment of Teacher Education, Rauma Unit. Our second year craft and technology teacher students have studied very intensively mechatronics and programming in the guidance of Mr Romppanen. Last Week I prepared the students in my lecture by different examples related to the topic. One of the very interesting and exhilarating masters of technology and form related to the topic is Theo Jansen, a  Dutch artist who is known about building large mechanisms out of PVC that are able to move on their own. But now we have been able to study and work out with Arduino microcontrollers. Our students have been training to encode these devices. Today in the last mechatronics session they constructed and programmed their own robots or robot arms…


Robot arm

"Where shall I go?"

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Exhibition and evaluation session of the course “basics of electronics” for the first year craft and technology teacher students

In the University of Turku, Department of Teacher Education Rauma Unit, we had the course “basics of electronics” with our first year craft and technology teacher students. In the end of the project we organized an exhibition and evaluation session. Personnel from Kouluelektroniikka Oy (the electronics store) visited our session and tested with us some of the devices. In these tests, the technology and also the design of many devices were fine!

Zebra line design

Different amplifiers

Red, black and white