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A study day in Lille: robots at school

On November 29, the Lille-Nord-de-France ÉSPÉ held a study day on the integration of robotics into educational activities.

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On Wednesday, November 29, the Higher School of Teaching and Education (ÉSPÉ) of Lille-Nord-de-France, in collaboration with the Academy of Lille and the Delegation Academic Digital for Education (DANE), held a study day on the integration of robotics in educational activities. This moment of inclusive exchange and reflection brought together future teachers, interns, current teachers, teacher trainers and university professors.

Learn, create, stimulate

The day began with a conference by Professor Margarida Romero from the ÉSPÉ in Nice and director of the Laboratory of Innovation and Digital for Education (LINE). The latter used Vibot the robot to explore the potential of educational robotics for learning, all from a 21st century skills development perspective. The #SmartCityMaker project was presented in connection with the evaluation of co-creativity in a context of techno-creative challenge.

In addition, Katell Bellegarde (doctor in educational sciences, research engineer)
and Julie Boyaval (kindergarten teacher and teacher trainer), have
presented strategies for implementing robotics in kindergarten. Supported by video clips showing their students at work, they approached the process of appropriating basic notions of programming for the youngest.

Finally, Judith François (Inspector of National Education) and Céline Prévost (school teacher, primary school principal) presented the Robotics Cup for Primary Schools (CREP). Using the culinary allegory of the pancake, they gave the “recipe” for the successful implementation of this innovative activity combining science and culture. In support, five students who participated in the CREP came to testify about their experience and shared what they learned there: collaborate, solve problems, develop new passions, express themselves in public, etc.

In praise of diversity

For the rest of the day, the group of participants was able to divide into various workshops lasting an hour and a half. The training offer was original and fun. Isn't that a sign that teachers too can learn while having fun?

Here are the evocative titles of the workshops offered:

  1. Mindstorm robotic challenge;
  2. Discover and handle the Thymio robot;
  3. Robotics for all;
  4. Do science with the Ozobot robot;
  5. An educational approach to the use of drones;
  6. Robots and programming for constructing figures in mathematics;
  7. Robots for learning in primary school;
  8. In the footsteps of Dracula: a robot for reading and writing;
  9. Code and robots in college, what for ?;
  10. Star Wars, episode 6 ½: a robot to solve a problem.

The diversity of the workshops made it possible to understand the importance of not being confined to a system to know how to take advantage of the plethora of applications and equipment now available to enrich the learning process. What is particularly interesting is that the immense range of robotic tools is suitable in every way to the unfathomable diversity of the students' learning approaches and that of the pedagogical approaches of all teachers, in all subjects!

Always under the sign of diversity, robotics makes it possible to develop elements of
response to an abundance of complex and very real problems, ranging from local concerns (in home automation, for example) to global concerns (greenhouse gas emissions, for example). Experienced teachers have also programmed, with their students, sensors to manage water or to simulate evacuations in the event of a fire.

Robotics: a lever for interdisciplinarity and collaboration

Much like it was the case for the last edition of the PISA tests, the primary and secondary school programs now provide for algorithms and programming to be taught and assessed as part of the national diploma of the French patent. The skills of comprehension, expression and use of mathematical and computer languages are developed within the framework of the teaching of mathematics and technologies. As a team, students must therefore mobilize programming elements in a concrete task, in connection with a given disciplinary task.

Robotics has even greater learning potential in a collaborative context. Thus, almost all of the workshops conceived of programming as a collaborative activity! To add to this spirit of collaboration, the students participate in friendly competitions such as the Coupole's Day, the Castor competition and the Algoréa competition.

Finally, a crush: a computer science teacher works in interdisciplinarity with a visual arts teacher to do what they call "Lightpainting". Indeed, art students take long exposure photographs of journeys made by mini drones in a dark room. The current objective is to write a word in the air by means of drones following a schedule to perform planned figures or rather… programmed!


This article is part of a series published by our author and collaborator Marc-André Girard, as part of his participation in the Laboratory of innovation and digital in education (LINE) at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

You can read all the articles in this series here.

About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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