LEGO-EDU Kick Off in Joensuu, Finland
On Monday the 31st of August, within the framework of the FCLab.fi project (Future Classroom Lab), a few teachers (Teija Paavilainen, Kimmo Nyyssönen, Ville Eronen and FCL Lead Ambassador Sampo Forsström) from The University Teacher Training School of Eastern Finland received training on the use of LEGO® Education SPIKE ™ series. Manager of Training, Tommi Ollikainen, from TEVELLA (The Finnish retailer and Lego Education Partner) led the session remotely from Tampere.
During the fall, this SPIKE series will be introduced with students in the upper grades of elementary school and high school. The training and the gaining of experiences with Spike will continue in many ways:
- within the school with the teachers involved
- we will have another session with the trainers of the Lego Education Partner
- we will be an active part of the FCL network of participants.
The training and working with the students will lead to hosting workshops for teachers. It is interesting to see what forms of training will be used in the workshops considering the Covid situation. The development of new, diverse forms of training is also one of the set goals in Finland.
Spikes in Action!
After the Kick-off event, we have used the Prime sets with the students, and we have also held a few training/planning sessions of our own. The main focus has been on pedagogical development. We have participated in teams meetings of the FCL network and presented Finland's activities. In Finland, the situation is much better from a development point of view, as in many countries teaching is carried out remotely and for the time being, we are able to work with our students at school.
Hands-on in schools
At Rantakylä Training School, Lego spike series have been used by elective students for future e-learning environments and technology club members. In both groups, the pupils have been from 5th to 6th grade. The groups have been directed by Ville Eronen and Teija Paavilainen.
In the past, the "little sibling" of the Spike series, the Lego WeDo 2.0 series, has been used with students. WeDo is a simple, easy-to-deploy series that guides you step by step. In its simplicity, it inspires experimenting and creative solutions. At our school, the WeDos are in use starting from first grade. The challenges provide additional motivation even for older students. Speed Races and Robot Dances, according to the students' own interests, have inspired intensive construction, development and programming.
The optional groups (Technologies of the Future) of the Länsikatu Training School, participated in the DigiEduHack-event in mid-November. The students were from grades 5 and 6. DigiEduHack was a series of online and offline idea-hackathons happening all around the world for two days, focusing on co-creating the future of education at the digital age. More information about the DigiEduHack event can be found clicking at this link.
During the evening, the students were tasked with the designing of a learning experience of their dreams and familiarising themselves with programming in the form of different challenges. The technology we used was Lego Spike. The students were able to work well and actively on the challenges, and the event left a positive feeling for both the teachers and students. You will be able to get into DigiEduHack's moods by watching this short video clip.
During the event we were in video contact with the main stage of the event in Berlin. The DigiEduHack event was opened by innovation commissioner Mariya Gabriel from the European Commission, to whom we sent a video greeting with some questions from our students beforehand. The event was coordinated by Aalto University. We hope to be back next year and hopefully you'll also join!
Experiences with Spike series
The Spike series has received a hugely enthusiastic reception in all groups. The colour of the series, the ease of use of the application and clear instructions in Finnish give many opportunities for the students. The bravest immediately start creating and experimenting themselves, beginners go to follow the building instructions and learn through them.
The Spike series and the app that controls its use, are similarly easy for the teacher to deploy. In addition, new engines, sensors and a wide range of versatile Lego bricks for building inspire students and teachers to come up with creative solutions. In addition to enthusiastic construction, programming can sometimes remain a minor role - at that point, teacher guidance and good additional challenges are needed. For example, one challenge was to plan a safety distancing instrument in the times of the Covid-19.
The Spike series also offers great challenges all the way up to upper secondary school. Especially in programming, the teacher's own competence is also tested. LEGO Education has an extensive support website for various projects and offers lesson plans and pedagogical tips. The material needed for students is also available on the website (work sheets and such). Visit the Lego Education website if you haven't done so before.
The Lego Spike series app has a lot of ready-made ideas suitable for science and STEAM teaching. Topics include automatisation, weather conditions and its measurement (utilisation of cloud data) and environmental education. The project instructions are not fully completed, but direct you to make observations, improve and modify the program. For various innovation and maker projects, the set is also ideal for both primary schools and upper secondary schools.
In Joensuu, Lego expertise will be deepened, and the goal is to implement the contents of the programming path (from the National Curriculum) with the Spike series for 7th graders. You can follow the progress of this and other and development work on the Finnish FCLab website and on this site so stay tuned. There's more to come!