Learning with robots: meet Karel

Developing a low cost robotic platform has helped pupils and teachers to learn not just maths, ICT and science, but also culture, art, languages, teamwork and problem-solving

The original aim of the Karel project was to use robotics as a basis for teaching science and technology but, as project initiator Mihai Agape explains, it became so much more than that:

“The Karel project seemed initially to be pure STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), but it was far more than that… We worked in close cooperation with our partners but also with companies outside our partnership. Implementing the project was truly interdisciplinary and challenging – promoting teamwork, innovation and lifelong learning.”

Mihai, a teacher from Romania, had been looking for a robotic platform to use in the classroom. After realising that the commercial choices were limited, he decided to work with students to design and build their own open robotic platform – and Karel was born.

Thanks to funding from the EU, Mihai brought together teachers from schools in four countries to develop the project. Together they designed, built and tested three prototypes of Karel, an autonomous, mobile, flexible, and low cost robotic platform, and made it available for others to use.

Key facts and figures

Project title Autonomous Robot for Enhancing Learning - Karel
Lead organisation

Palatul Copiilor Drobeta Turnu Severin

Location Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania
Duration 2013-2015
EU grant

€ 88,000

The project team also held two international conferences, four symposiums and three international robotics competitions. The pupils (aged 14 to 19) and teachers who took part developed their skills in mathematics, ICT, technology, sciences, curriculum design, and languages, as well as problem-solving and teamwork skills.

The lesson plans developed as a result of the project cover physics, biology, electronics, mechanics, programming, and robotics. There is also a user manual and a short robotics dictionary, which are available for free in electronic format.

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