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Publication date: 19.12.2016
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“Educational Robotics” 2nd edition, funded by the Tuscany Region authority, is aimed at teachers who will engage the Tuscany’s schools in developing the digital skills needed to drive Italian future economy. The training course is coordinated by the Sant’Anna School Institute of BioRobotics with the cooperation of the Ufficio scolastico regionale toscano.

The Institute of BioRobotics and the Ufficio scolastico regionale toscano signed a cooperation agreement (valid for a period of 3 years) in 2015. The agreement set out the “Regional Network for Educational Robotics” to develop teachers’ (and then students’) interest and skills in a range of subjects, including digital skills, science, technology and engineering. The 2016 Tuscany initiative has started on December 12th involving 628 teachers in 192 schools (40% of all ten provinces in Tuscany). The Tuscany Region government has identified robotics as one of the technologies central to the future growth of the country economy and the Sant’Anna School Institute of BioRobotics as a partner university to teach teachers programming and important computational thinking skills to easily implement robotics into their classrooms.

To ensure educators are prepared to enrich and enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, there is a need for an "Educational Robotics" integrated program, the funding of the Tuscany Region amounted to 100 thousand euro. The goal is to train as many teachers as possible and to provide them the skills and attitudes for the design, application and operation of robots, to educate today's students as the "innovators of the future. “Educational Robotics" thus brings the method of university research in the Tuscan schools, encouraging early contact with the world of research for school students and making teachers ready to face new challenges.

Robotics is increasingly inclusive and engaging. 254 teachers responded to the survey on their expectations of acquiring specific skills through educational robotics workshops. The results showed a new awareness on the functions and the uses of robotics and its educational role in the learning process in addition to increased confidence of teachers in their own ability to learn the fundamentals of robotics and developing their digital skills.