The scope of this project is to teach young people digital skills with the use of open technologies. We have set up two open labs and have created open educational material (available at elearn.ellak.gr) to provide free courses to mixed classes of refugees and Greek youth. Code+Create has been initially designed and implemented in partnership between FCA and GFOSS. It continues with new courses in cooperation with IOCC.
A solution for life skills & integration
Youth who learn digital skills become better architects of their own future and can be active participants instead of passive consumers in an increasingly data-filled world. Just like a language, digital and tech concepts are best learnt young. Interventions that support the development of intercultural competencies connecting refugees with their peers in host community, are identified to be inexistent in the ongoing refugee response in Greece. Uncertainties about the future and difficulties in integrating to Greek society, put young refugee women and men at risk of losing all sense of hope.
Filling an educational gap
Refugee adolescents are not included in formal reception classes organised by the Ministry of Education in Greece. On the cusp of adulthood, it is critical for them to get access to more meaningful and constructive opportunities that offer a chance to learn – even at an introductory level – valuable, marketable digital and technological skills. Youth need to be proficient at 21st-century skills in order to thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, where IT and technical literacy is an important asset in any work or educational context.
There is also an emerging need for models that bring together local and refugee youth. While offering access to new (digital and technological) skill sets, youth need more opportunities to interact and learn together.
We address these educational gaps by setting up introductory courses in an open technology lab for mixed classed of refugee and Greek youth to learn computer science, coding and related competencies. The project delivers effective educational activities to motivated learners from both youth groups in an effort to address 21st-century skills gaps. It has been designed to be scaled up to include additional refugee sites, youth centres and Greek public schools and to be further modified to accommodate learners of other ages.
The project’s main objectives are:
- To provide refugee youth who are not in school or have no access to other educational activities with a solid foundation in digital & tech skills, and the starting tools for more advanced exploration and/or coursework in information technology.
- To provide a shared space for refugee and Greek youth to interact, learn and work together on digital projects.
- To create an inspiring learning environment where youth are encouraged to learn, connect and problem-solve.
Spaces set up, instructors, location and program
Youth participants are selected from the urban Athens area. The two learning spaces currently active are equipped with tech tools such as Raspberry Pis, Nodemcu, Edison robots, 3D printers, projectors, and a laptop for every participant. Classes last 3 hours and take place 2-3 times a week. The program’s duration is 8 weeks. Classes are held in the weekdays and weekends. Every class is run by two instructors per session with the aid of a class facilitator. All instructional material is in English, openly licensed and available for free in an online learning management system (Moodle).
Learning spaces are setup as open technologies lab with the following hardware:
(42) Linux Laptops
(2) 3D Printer Ultimaker 2+
(2) Interactive Projectors
(12) Starter Arduino Robotics Kit
(10) Raspberry Pi 3 + SD + Power adapter
(1 per person) Edison Educational Robot and Internet of Things Lab
Course list and educational modules
The educational modules taught in the courses are:
- Introduction to 3D printing, robotics and IoT applications. This course is designed as an introductory series of lessons on Educational Robotics with Edison, 3D Printing and Internet of Things (IoT) using NodeMCU and is designed for young students. Students are introduced to Robotics by programming an Edison (robot), to 3D printing, Internet of Things and the NodeMCU platform. Students and Teachers get to experiment with LEDs, sensors for monitoring temperature and humidity through widgets and are taught to design automated functions. At the end of the course participants are able to produce an overall project using smart home concepts, relays, sensors and weather monitoring. The online material of the course is available at https://elearn.ellak.gr/course/view.php?id=45.
- 3D printing with circuits and Arduino. This course introduces the makery movement through beginner modules in 3D printing, circuits and Arduino programming. In the first modules, participants experiment in design thinking through 3D modelling and 3D printing, with interactive tutorials and group problem-solving activities. Next, electronics and circuits fundamentals are revisited, with prototyping on the breadboard, but also on 3D printed parts. Finally, participants dive into physical computing, using Arduino Uno and Nano, as an introduction to C programming, microcontrollers and sensors. In the end, every participant assembles, programs and remixes a 3D printed Arduino biped robot. Open source, commons-based and peer-to-peer are characteristics at the core of the course, both in terms of technology and learning. The coursework concludes with an interactive electronics and design project that the participants design and build from scratch in groups. Simple tips, tricks, tools and puzzles for aspiring makers aged 18-24. The online material of the course is available at https://elearn.ellak.gr/course/view.php?id=63.
- Introductory Python programming. This is an introductory course in Python for young students. Its purpose is to help students become acquainted with basic programming concepts through a high level language and be able to create simple arcade games using Python and the pygame library. Python is a widely used high-level programming language for general-purpose programming that is widely used by various organizations such as Google, Yahoo and Youtube. By the end of the course participants will have the skills to create a simple video game. The online material of the course is available at https://elearn.ellak.gr/course/view.php?id=49.
- Mastering Office Computing. The course is designed to teach how to effectively produce a wide range of documents: job cv’s, letters, books, reports, newsletters, brochures, theses, templates and other documents. Students learn how to produce great looking presentations for work, school, or personal use plus essential tips to effectively presenting their documents. Also students will learn to use spreadsheets for capturing, manipulating and displaying data and extracting meaningful conclusions. The online material of the course is available at https://elearn.ellak.gr/course/view.php?id=37.
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