SESI-PE students command robot at e.DO Learning Center launch

​A robot in the classroom

e.DO Learning Center, a project developed in partnership between FCA, Comau and SESI-PE, transforms education by teaching automation and robotics in a simple and fun way

December 30, 2019 - A modular, compact and lightweight robot (very similar to industrial robotic arms but 100% geared towards the school environment), as didactic material for students and pedagogical material for teachers. It’s the e.DO Learning Center, an educational project based on a seemingly simple kit, but which brings substantial changes in the way of teaching and learning in the city of Goiana, Pernambuco. At SESI-PE there is a specific room for the laboratory, however, the kit is mobile and can be easily transported and assembled in other spaces. A partnership between FCA (through the Jeep Automotive Polant and Comau) and SESI, the project brings to the classroom an innovative learning environment whose purpose is both to assist in the teaching of STEAM course content (Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), as well as provide vocational training in robotics and automation. Students learn the contents already provided for in formal education and also get the necessary Bagage to work, for example, with programming and maintenance of industrial robots.

SESI-PE Students Interact with e.DO RobotCommanded via tablet, the e.DO robot allows for the application of what is learned in theory.

“E.DO was born in Italy and we identified the opportunity to bring this innovative teaching proposal to Brazil”, explains Fernando Elias, FCA Community Relations and Sustainability Coordinator for Latin America. Thus, Comau has developed five e.DO robot kits especially made for educational robotics. The Jeep Automotive Plant came up with the communication and logistics actions with SESI-PE and the public schools in Goiana and SESI, which already works regularly with technology, enabled the project with teachers and the physical structure.

For the implementation of the e.DO Learning Center, Comau provided training to four SESI-PE teachers and six teachers and technicians from the Goiana municipal education network, who were certified to work with the e.DO robot. SESI classes started in early November and as of February students from the municipal public network will also be part of the project. The six-month pilot phase allows for 780 elementary and high school students to be contemplated.

According to Fernando Elias, using the robotics laboratory is part of an active education. The teacher is a facilitator and the student learns by solving real problems collaboratively, which enables the development of so-called soft skills (skills that involve mental, emotional and social skills and include creativity and teamwork). For Fernando, this is a big differential compared to the usual classes. In addition, STEAM subjects involve skills required in current and upcoming jobs and job offerings. Thus, the project also improves the youngster’s chances of entering the professional market.

Education from new perspectives

With the educational platform developed for this project, teachers use the e.DO robot to promote an unconventional learning approach. According to Donatella Pinto, Global Director of Human Resources at Comau, “Technological innovation paves the way for new teaching and learning methods. With this project, Comau once again demonstrates its belief in the potential of new generations and their ability to guide the digital transformation that is already taking place. ”

Marcino Rodrigues, Professor of Mathematics and Robotics at SESI-PE, says that students' education is divided into three modules, which vary according to the grade they are in. High school students will complete the first module by December of this year and the following semester will be the other two. The elementary students will study all three modules adapted to their grade next year. The teacher explains that, in practice, the project encourages students to experience educational skills with a robot identical to those in industries, but smaller size. “This allows for the student to establish a good relationship with cutting-edge technologies, through a stimulating environment created in interface with robotics. The teacher gives them a challenge and the students solve it by using the theoretical and practical content”, he says.

Marcino Rodrigues, SESI-PE teacherMarcino Rodrigues, Professor of Mathematics and Robotics at SESI-PE

The meeting of practice with theory is also highlighted by Cleber Ferreira, professor of physics and robotics at SESI-PE, as an important milestone provided by the e.Do Learning Center. “The student misses not having practical training or how to use theoretical knowledge acquired”, he says. According to the teacher, the project answers the questions “Where are we going to apply this?” And “What are we studying this for?” Which are questions commonly asked by students. “They themselves are getting the answer with the work done. It is a fundamental change. When it was just theory, something was missing. It was incomplete, meaningless. The project ended with this insecurity, with this concern that the students had to apply. They are seeing that this is very close to what takes place in industries, they live in the classroom what they will experience in the near future”, explains Cleber. In addition, he says, because the robot uses English, it’s also an opportunity to work that language.

Cleber Ferreira, SESI-PE teacherCleber Ferreira, Professor of Physics and Robotics at SESI-PE

Marcino points out that SESI-PE is the first school to work with this type of project and that the partnership with Jeep and Comau brings benefits to all those involved. The school, which already has a history of working with robotics and participates in different competitions in the area, qualifies even more. And FCA assists in the preparation of youngsters about to enter the job market and may even become qualified employees of the company. “They are having their cake and eating it too. We are making sense of what the student couldn’t see before. It's stimulating”, points out the teacher. “Many students want to work in the robotics industry”, says Cleber. “They get really excited, and for me this is very important”, he says.

The FCA group has a long history of investing in education in Brazil. “We understand education as a driving force. If a community has access to quality education, this positively interferes with other areas such as health and safety, for example. Different areas improve with a good education. It’s the key. The opposite is also true: when people do not have access to education, these areas are impacted. Investing in education, therefore, means investing in the future. Education has this characteristic: if prioritized, the other areas are impacted by the flow”, explains Fernando Elias.

Words: Vanessa Costa

Pictures: Marketing

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