Invited talks

Science in and out of schools: issues of image, interest and identity
Professor Justin Dillon, King’s College London
September 16, 2011

Teachers are the major determinant of quality in education. However pedagogy is heavily influenced and, in many cases, restricted by curriculum and assessment pressures. Although there are outstanding teachers and schools, the evidence suggests that many students do not identify with science from a relatively early age and, perhaps as a consequence, develop negative attitudes towardsscience in school. These feelings appear to be even more prevalent among girls. What, if anything, can be done about the situation? Drawing on research funded by the European Commission and by the UK Economic and Social Science Research Council, this talk will focus on three key issues: image, interest and identity. As well as presenting empirical data from a range of countries, some case studies of effective and innovative practice in schools and in other science-rich institutions will be discussed.

Robots for creative learning and creative research as education andresearch tools in knowledge based society
Professor Dr.mult.h.c. Prof.h.c. Branko Katalinic, Vienna University of Technology
September 15, 2011

Short overlook about past, present and future of robots. Robots as most sophisticated machines develop by man. Two basic behaviors of biological systems: adaptation as dominating behavior type in the world of the plants and sensing-planning-acting as dominating behavior type in the world of animals (and man). Robots are machines which are (partly) following the behavior of animals, for that reason are robots most sophistical machines ever made by man. Abilities and efficiency of robots are given and based on the balance and harmony between mass (mechanical structure), information (control/sensors structure) and energy (actuators).

We are now facing the transformation from industry and information based society to the society based on knowledge. This transformation is one of the most fascinating transformations in the history of mankind. Chances, risks and potential possibilities are of this transformation are enormous. The role of engineers and their education will be changed in seven main directions; one of them is need for increased creativity of engineers. The space given for the development of creativity of engineers during education is due to the traditional approach and limited educational means very limited. Application of robots for the education opens possibilities of creative learning and creative research as tool for increasing of creativity of next generation of engineers.

Use of robots in the education is at very early stage, we have just some mosaic stones in the wonderful mosaic picture called robotics platform for creative learning and creative research. This platform will be created in the next years and decades by integration in different networks now still isolated fragmental activities at academia and in the industry worldwide. The main characteristics of such platform have to be:

  1. Platform has to cover all needs for the creative learning from the level children (learning & playing) over pupils and students till the level of scientific research in different disciplines up to doctoral level.
  2. Platform must be suitable for the learning robotics and bright range of other disciplines (from control, logistics, programming, sensorics, organization, different services and many others).
  3. The robots used in this platform are in the range of small and closed structures till complex with (semi) opened structure. They have to cover wide range of adaptive and intelligent behavior, and wide range of abilities of robots, based on different sensor and integrating software.
  4. Cooperation between different robots from other producers. Robot cooperation tasks have to solve larger problems of completing of tasks which cannot be solved by one robot only. For solving of this kind of problems is necessary to synchronize the work of more robots.
  5. Assistance (help) tasks including robot help to people, machines or other robots to complete their work.
  6. Building of complex self organizing systems for different tasks such as: assembly, production, and service. All "self-" disciplines are one of the most promising directions in the development of technology.
  7. Improving of robot performances and abilities for the applications in the conditions of increased disorder and the dynamic of changes in the surrounding environment.
  8. Spreading of robots in the new application fields in industry, services and education.
  9. Development of robot functions and abilities in the direction to be system integrator.
  10. Competitions in the creative learning and creative research based on the use of this platform. The competitions have to be organized from elementary school till the level of the universities at national and international levels.
  11. Development of curricula for creative education with mobile technological robots. Development of standard exercises and research tasks.
  12. Development of new pedagogical approach for creative learning and creative research based on robots and with robots. Including modern learning technologies, means and methods

International cooperation between partners from academia and industry is needed for development of new generation of technological and service mobile robots for creative education and research. In this concept has to be integrated best positive experience in the education in robotics and education with the use of robots of all partners.

Robots are at the very beginning of their development, sophistication of today's robots is comparable with the level of sophistication of cars before the First World War. No one other known machine has such enormous development potential and wide fields of applications as robots.

NAO in Education
Andréa Mestre, Aldebaran Robotics
September 16, 2011

Robots in education, education with new technologies.

  • Aldebaran Robotics a French SME with the goal of building research and education platforms. More than 400 universities and research centers already use NAO.
  • Innovative education methods. Exploring sciences with the use of a humanoid robot : computer science, electrical engineering, mechatronics, mechanical engineering, psychology etc. Promoting interdisciplinary relations and projects
  • Motivating, powerful, visionary and fun teaching tool. Achieving global competitiveness with state-of-the-art technology.
  • Increase students motivation and success in STEM fields
  • NAOs features : recognize faces, speak, recognize phrases, detect obstacles, connect to the internet  etc. Easy to use Graphical User Interface « Choregraphe » allowing students to learn how to program NAO. From beginners until expert level, every student can use our programming environment.
  • Education Partnership Program : introduction of a program offering grants to universities and schools building course programs/lab activities and practical excercises using NAO
  • Case study: RoboCup gathers more than 3000 students aiming to build a fully autonomous robot to defeat the human world soccer champion by year 2050. An example of a interdisciplinary project combining STEM fields.
  • Case Study: Fachhochschule Aachen