Educational Robotics at Tallinn Winter School

In January 2019, Tallinn University’s international winter school Tallinn Winter School is celebrating its 10th birthday. The programme includes language courses and courses in design and engineering and educational sciences. In total there are 8 courses, 3 of them are in the winter school programme for the first time.

Winter school

One of the new courses is called ‘Educational Robotics in Preschool and Primary Education’. Can you imagine a lesson where students, instead of listening to your explanations, are completely engaged in learning and excitedly report everything they do? A lesson where students, working as teams, are busy teaching their small companions, educational robots, and actively learning from this? This is exactly the way learning happens in a classroom where teachers use the robot-supported teaching method.

In the whole world, teachers are looking for new ways of making learning more meaningful and fun for children. Using educational robots is one of the methods for that. There are several reasons for bringing educational robots into the classroom but the most important of these is the fact that using robots increases students’ self-motivation to learn. An educational robot makes learning fun, playful and full of creativity for the students. Using a robot in the classroom is pure experimenting in its nature, providing instant feedback about student’s solution, visualizing possible mistakes without penalty, encouraging students to test different solutions and succeed.

For the teacher, bringing a robot into the classroom is a good opportunity for making learning more creative, independent, collaborative and meaningful for students, and thus, paradoxically, support students to grow as human beings.

Why is this method not mainstream at the moment? Perhaps, it is mostly so because we have outdated definitions for the words “robot” and “programming”. Programming modern educational robots is more like guiding smart toys: students can use felt tip pens, stickers, robot buttons, and playful apps for that. Acquiring the method of robot-supported teaching doesn’t take long and is easy enough.

Pre-service and in-service teachers can come and get acquainted with most popular age appropriate educational robots in the Tallinn University Educational Lab. The practical 5-day hands-on training course about implementing educational robotics into the classroom in January, 2019 during Tallinn University's Winter School is open to all people interested in the topic. Training is conducted by teachers who have lots of experience in the field of educational robotics. More information on the course is available here.

Read more about all winter school courses and apply online here.