In one sentence: Why Robotics?
Because through Robotics our children fully and happily satisfy their natural predisposition for discovery (from theory to practice), Science, Technology and Engineering -at the same time having fun !
In one sentence: Why Robotics in CityLab?
In CityLab " something more is done than Robotics " (Katerina, 11 years old).
We will add that children are creators from day one and not technology users / viewers - and we achieve this at all ages!
Who teaches at CityLab?
From the first day (September 2014) the children are taught by lecturers who have
- excellent theoretical and practical knowledge in each of the fields of STEM because they have already been taught themselves in a relevant department of the University orTechnical University
- already professional / business work experience in the subjects teach
- excellent transmissibility and interaction with children as well as experience in teaching / seminars
- love for the subject and vision for its multifaceted development
In our team exist Electrical Engineers with postgraduate degrees (in Computer Engineering and Robotics), Computer Scientists, and Mathematicians with excellent teaching and work experience - we all share the same goal!
How do I know if what you are teaching is appropriate for my child's age?
The guide of what we teach by age is
- the international scientific and technocratic standards of STEM teaching
- the pedagogical instructions in our country
- the many years of experience of our lecturers in the subject, but also (VERY IMPORTANT) ...
- ... the age standards of the educational platforms we use, exactly as they have been set by their manufacturer: For example, a 5-year-old child should not be taught with an educational platform where the manufacturer's age specifications are 7+. The child, of course, "will have a good time and have fun" in this case. However the child
- will not become the creator as we all wish but a simple user
- will usually handle and play with ready-made constructions made and programmed by third parties!
- he will get bored of the process quickly and will leave them, like a videogame "he once liked so much" ...
- In Educational Robotics it is difficult for a parent to distinguish these limits, which is why our responsibility at CityLab is very great in this matter.
How do I know if my child's robotics lessons are effective?
Difficult question. First of all, we will notice if the child changes the way of thinking and seeing the world and if they are looking to find the causes behind what is happening around them, not only in the simple way the mechanisms work but in everything! That is, if they finally want to explore and "challenge" everyday life (and parents…) with questions that are obvious, but very difficult to answer.
Technocratically, it is simple: they "answer" comfortably and happily to "questions" such as "what materials will you need and how will you organize to make a ... without instructions" or "how do you think… works"
For our children at CityLab, the image of happy children designing and building mechanisms such as differentials, robots out of ready-made designs and electromechanical automation on arduino and artificial intelligence programs, (I stop here because I know it sounds "somewhat" and you probably do not believe them if do not see them) - but also to present them to the public comfortably and accepting all questions is the best proof of the effectiveness of our laboratories.
Finally, there is something else - when you hear from the child that "I want to continue robotics" and "he/she does not negotiate" !!!
Describe the Laboratories?
The children of Robotics Lab are divided into two-member or three-member groups, with a strict maximum number of 8 groups or 21 children in each section. The specifications of our classrooms, our equipment, but mainly the high scientific / pedagogical level of our lecturers, comfortably "allow" the maximum number of students in the annual cycle of labs, and in fact the presentations and the competition are exceptional with these conditions! When you see it up close, you will see for yourself !!! Kids love it and have fun - there is a "new contest" every week!
In practice, because we have many classes per week, the average number of children per class does not exceed 12.
How long do the workshops last?
The best, most complete acquisition of essential knowledge comes with the attendance of the annual cycle of workshops (September - June). This circle is carefully structured and designed with a variety of interdisciplinary workshops. In fact, young students in almost all Labs can easily join at specific intervals and there is a special care for their handling and a method to "align" with the rest without learning gaps.
A few words about space and facilities?
CityLab is located in Alimos, at 4 G. Kondili Street, "up" on the seafront boulevard and opposite the "Zefyros" tram stop. Children can come on their own - access is easy and safe either by public transport or on foot, all hours of the day, and there is a private car park.
Aren't "advanced" students "bored" in their group? The big ones (eg 11) with the small ones (eg 8);
No. The "students" are classified according to their age and in groups of friends and acquaintances - the basic idea of teamwork at CityLab is that "strong" students motivate and help the rest of their team so that everyone learns from everyone and all together by the instructor. This system in Educational Robotics performs better than the usual educational process of distinguishing between "advanced classes" and "beginner classes". The "motivate - urge - urge" we see between adults and children is amazing!
Do I have to buy something? What should the child have with him?
Nothing and nothing, respectively. The required robotics equipment and personal computer or tablet are provided in the CityLab laboratories to each student.
Do you give "private" robotics lessons?
Only in groups! The "Private" courses in one person, cancel the design of the educational robotics program that requires teamwork. Exceptionally, "Intensive Introductory Seminars" are held only for children who want to join specific Labs that have already started and are at a specific level on a case by case basis.
At what age can a child participate in CityLab activities?
The youngest students are five years old, they start with impressive results and continue with even more impressive ones in many areas.
Where does each child start?
Simply: from his team and the program he has joined! Really simple and stress-free, everything is already studied very carefully, so that children can go ahead and create everything together without gaps and questions. Our experience in the subject guarantees the initially smooth integration of young children in the workshops (which to parents often seem "difficult") and we take care of our children to develop both cognitively and socially.
Should the child have experience in computers or robotics?
It is not necessary. Also, let's make it clear that "computer experience" is one thing and "computer programming" (operation vs creation) is quite another. We will see this in detail in an Open Day Lab!
Will he/she be in front of a computer all the time?
Of course not! That would be the failure of the program! Children program on the computer, converse, assemble, observe their robot in action, correct, study, adopt ideas from other groups, improve their work, and again from the beginning. The goal is for children to learn properly, using "mind and hands".
Can a child e.g. 9 years old to be with much older children?
It is not excluded, but in the ages 5-15 it is better for many and specific reasons to observe in CityLab exactly what is reverently applied in classical children's sports: children of the same age play sports together, while real talents have their time and time to stand out when they grow up! Our programs have a specific "acceptable range" of ages each.
Can parents be in the classroom or in the lab to "watch the lesson"?
Parents will be informed about what the children will be taught, in the special Open Day. In addition, in the middle of each cycle of seminars, an additional "parents' day" is provided, where parents without disturbing (...) will be in the classroom throughout a real lesson and will raise their hand for questions. - if and when the "other students" allow them! We hope to be able to make the constructions of the children themselves, in their own groups - something that so far everyone "wants" but the act denies them :-)
How will the parents see what the children made and what they gained from each Laboratory?
From the first day, at the end of each workshop , the children's creations are exhibited in the room. With a group presentation by the children and with the relevant explanation for the reasoning and methodology of each group that made the respective construction, the parents will be the first audience of their children and are even invited to ask them any relevant question they wish. Yes, every day in every laboratory!
Finally what are you trying to do in CityLab?
The deeper meaning and the "extra" goal of CityLab is to prove to our children that they can / can design a robot themselves , from A to Z, and not just copy a ready-made one (no matter if it is simple or difficult) robot. This challenge is given to them at least once a month.
For example, our children built original mechanical and electromechanical constructions , created an AI algorithm and a thriller program, made some of the classic arcade games and they know very well how much they really enjoyed it .
This joy is not compared to any ready-made copy, no matter how impressive it may seem to others.
Finally, with specific soft skills that we cultivate, comes the learning of various skills as they prepare for the complexity of the challenges that await them , for jobs that do not exist today, but also to handle things that robots "will never do". such as creativity, interpersonal skills and problem solving !
I want to ask one more thing…