CR Hope Foundation School adds Educational Robotics Classes

In an exciting addition to its fast-growing range of student courses, the CR Hope Foundation’s Seeds of Light charity school in Kizimkazi, Zanzibar, has launched educational Robotics classes with the support of two enthusiastic new Greek partners.

The Avgoulea School from Athens, one of only 325 educational institutions around the world to earn a place in Microsoft’s prestigious Showcase School Program, has donated robotics classroom equipment including BBC Micro: bit entry-level microprocessors, to be utilized on a cutting-edge new curriculum devised by robotics expert, Mr Apostolis Panos.

Micro: bit, a pocket-sized computer that looks like a large circuit board, comes with an LED light display, buttons, sensors and many input/output features that, when programmed, let it interact with students and their world.

“A robot is a machine, typically one programmable by a computer, capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robotics involves the design, construction, operation and use of robots. The discipline of Educational Robotics is designed to introduce students to robotics and programming interactively from a very early age,” explains Apostolis, a university PhD student who co-wrote the first book on the subject for primary schools in Greece.

“Educational Robotics provides students with the tools they need to easily build and programme a robot capable of performing various tasks. It shows them how a computer with sensors can interact with humans through the Internet of Things–the most famous example of that arguably being Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated loud-speaker, which can find songs on the Internet or control your house’s lighting when you talk to it, for example.

“In Zanzibar, students could apply their robotics knowledge to solve local issues, like measuring the temperature of the soil and sending a message to other Micro:bit-linked devices to better understand agricultural growing conditions. I hope soon to see these students take part in a robotics competition and have an experience that is unmatched by anything else. I believe Zanzibar students will show us that when you offer an activity that is taken for granted in some other countries, you can accomplish great things.”

Says Nikolaos Ksenos from the Avgoulea School: “The Micro-bit hardware is utilized in combination with MicrosoftMakecode, a free online learn-to-code platform where anyone can build games and code devices. MakeCode comes with a library of blocks and extensions which enable endless possibilities for anyone new to coding. Projects that can be made with Micro: bit and Makecode include a milk carton robot, a plant watering timer and a light level metre, for example. Students who learn with Makecode can subsequently progress to programming software like JavaScript and Python.

“To support the Seeds of Light School, we at Avgoulea Schoolwanted to contribute not only with a donation of technology equipment but also by helping shape an Educational Robotics and interdisciplinary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics combined) curriculum together with Apostolis and the school’s teaching staff. We believe we share the same vision as the CR Hope foundation, the vision of inspiring children from all over the world to strengthen their local communities through quality education. Nothing less, nothing more.”

We at CR Hope Foundation are delighted to welcome Avgoulea School and Apostolis Panos as partners. And we are so excited that our students can now study computer programming and robotics, here in Zanzibar! We look forward to seeing the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs coming out of Kizimkazi! 

More about Avgoulea School

Avgoulea-Linardatou School was founded in 1949 thanks to the vision and tenacity of a young teacher, Stavroula Avgoulea-Linardatou, who at the age of 23, at the end of a devastating decade for Greece, dared to dream of establishing a private school in the western suburbs of Athens that would teach 21st-century skills and knowledge. Little did she know that after seven decades her original two-room school would grow to house 1,550 students and 340 employees.

Always recognized as a very innovative and forward-looking institution, the school employs state-of-the-art technologies in education. As a result, in 2014 it was accepted into the highly respected Microsoft Showcase Schools programme, which features the 325 most advanced schools in the world. In 2021,98 of the school’s educators were certified as Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators, eight as Trainers, three as Fellows and 40 as Microsoft Certified Educators.

The school’s excellent facilities are housed in two building complexes containing 87 pre-school, primary and secondary school classrooms, plus science laboratories and ICT suites, a library, cultural facilities and an athletic centre.

Avgoulea-Linardatou School is proud to have supported such non-profit organizations as The Smile of the Child, SOS Children’s Village, WWF, Arcturos, MSF, MDM and others by raising money through hosting philanthropic events, participating in environmental activities and more.

More about Apostolis Panos

A PhD Candidate studying Distributed Ledger Technologies at the University of West Attica, Greece, Apostolis is passionate about sharing his knowledge and finding innovative ways to educate students about technology.

He particularly likes the way Educational Robotics combines different curriculum studies in one single field. Apostolos co-wrote the first Educational Robotics Book for a primary school in Greece Students, together with co-authorsDialektiAthinaVoutyrakou and SurrisIoannis. He is an active partner of BrainFirst, an NGO that specialized in Virtual Reality Educational Workshops. 

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