What is EduACT and what is the connection with education?
EduACT www.eduact.org is a non-profit, charitable organization based in Thessaloniki. Our educational actions spread across Greece, Europe and all over the world.
Our aim is to point out innovation in educational processes, to showcase the children’s talents and to offer a stimulus for creativity through science. Our actions combine research with amusement, learning with fun and science with technology, in order to provide future innovators with useful professional skills.
EduACT is a platform that promotes the development of innovation and imagination in education. Our base is the eduACTion Innovation Hub, where every person or every team has the chance to bring their ideas to life. Some of our actions are the following: Junior FIRST LEGO LEAGUE for children aged from 6-9 , FIRST LEGO LEAGUE for children aged from 9 – 16 , NEWTON CLASSROOMS, ROBOTICS FOR ALL, CUBE CODING , CODE FOR YOUTH, offering support to vulnerable social groups and to children who reach the limits of social barring and discrimination, giving chances to gifted young people , the first international robotics camp and code http://camp.eduact.org/ and the participation of teenagers with travelling insticts in the Arctic camp international in Norway.
What is First Lego league?
Robotics and entertainment, knowledge and fun. Research and personal values. If we had to find words to describe FIRST LEGO LEAGUE, we would probably have a hard time. Creativity and a festive atmosphere are some words that define it. EduACT and its partners under the auspices of Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs introduce to Greece a global competition of innovation in education, investigation and robotics, bringing future education into present. It also offers useful abilities for the future, motivation for learning, core values that are beneficial to the child’s personality and most of all ingenuity! All this with the help of some bricks, engines and sensors.
FIRST LEGO LEAGUE is a collaboration between the non-profit organization FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the educational section of LEGO®. It is held every year since 1998 in more than 80 countries worldwide. In Greece, it was first organized by eduACT during the 2013-2014 academic year with great success and since then it takes place every year, with the participation and interest of the children growing exponentially.
After three years of presence in the technological and educational field, what are the changes that you notice in the learning procedure in Greece?
Creativeness and innovation constantly gain a greater significance in knowledge societies since no one can foresee the challenges that the future reserves. We are asked to become citizens of the world, experiencing our local reality, the moment that knowledge has a global dimension no matter what we do. What does this mean for education? What does this mean for the parents that raise the citizens of tomorrow?
Both the families and the educators have understood that we need continuous improvements on the concepts and causes that connect learning, scientific development and even radical innovations. We are fully aware that we have to learn how to learn from anything that happens around us, and also that any environment we find ourselves into, becomes a learning environment. It’s important, however, to know the methods of collecting, filtering and using information. Technology has an impact on both individual and collective levels, since it provides tools and support for the creation and allocation of knowledge.
We invest on the typical education, as well as search for the creative, non-typical education, trying to find alternative methods of learning. More and more parents are occupied with the lifelong and continuous education, including both theirs and their children's. They play together, go on trips together, participate in various actions and build learning environments. This is for me as a parent, educator and Greek citizen of the world the biggest change that I have witnessed the past few years but also the greatest accomplishment for our efforts as an organization.
What is your experience from your collaboration with the YouthLab in Xanthi and the UTechLab in Athens?
The key to success is the cooperation. Teamwork makes the dream work.
With the two labs in the American Spaces in Xanthi and Athens we created the "S.T.E.A.M. Yourself with FLL " program. This ambitious venture called S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics ) was designed based on the needs of the two areas and manages to combine these fields in a word, or even better, in a concept. In the first part of the program, people aged 16-25 were trained in order to become mentors for younger kids by doing research in real life problems and also by having the challenge to find a solution that designs, builds and programs a robot. In the second part, the mentors volunteer to train kids aged 9-16 to compete in the FLL that takes place in Athens on the 19th of February and is hosted by the Eugenides Foundation where the UTechLab is and in Xanthi on the 4th of March at the Xanthi Municipality Cultural Center, host institution of YouthLab Xanthi. All that is really needed is self-belief. In a world where global initiative for education gains ground, the means to self- knowledge can’t be anything rather than creative education.
Kostas Vasileiou has worked as an educator and politics consultant in organizations both in Greece and abroad and has studied the educational systems and reformations all around the world. He promotes European programs from the Regional Administration of Primary and Secondary Education of Central Macedonia since 2011 and coordinates European programs for the Administration of Primary Education of Western Thessaloniki since 2008. Regarding the latter, a program with the title «Cooperation for a better education» was awarded as a Start Project from the European Committee in 2010. His experience includes improving school with innovations, international topics of education, teaching of learning inside the class through playing and robotics and also the effective leadership of the school.