The First Estonian Conference on Educational Robotics was held on 8th of June in Tallinn. Although this conference was organized for the first time in Estonian robotics history, we present some statistics about the conference.

The Erasmus+ ‘Robotics for schools’ project team anticipated 55 robotics teachers from different Estonian schools, but finally the number of the participants was more than 60.

There were also 6 invited foreign participants from Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Japan. The main purpose of attending for the foreign participants was to learn good teaching practices in Robotics from Estonia, Sweden, UK and Finland and how to apply this in their countries.

Feedback on the conference was requested from participants and over 50% replied. The main reasons participants gave for attending the conference were:

  1. Sharing an experiences: 42%
  2. Personal development: 37%
  3. Conference purpose: 11%
  4. Interesting presentations by project partners: 6%
  5. Good company: 2%
  6. Other reasons: 2%

The three most interesting and useful school robotics presentations to teachers were Heilo Altin`s presentation “School robotics in Estonia“ from NPO Robootika, Pete Stevens presentation “School robotics in UK“ from GRYD Ltd and Aleksi Lahti`s “School robotics in Finland“ from University of Turku.

After the presentations there were eight workshops from which the participants had the opportunity to attend two of them. Workshops were on different topics such as PID algorithm on LEGO Mindstorms EV3, introduction to Raspberry Pi, Beebot and PicoBoard and how to teach the basics of robotics without robotics kits.

Based on the feedback, 35% participants thought that the most useful workshop was organised by Pete Stevens, 23% of teachers thought that the workshop organised by Raivo Sell was very good and 19% of teachers thought that workshop by Veiko Vunder was very useful for them. 13% of the teachers thought that workshop organised by David Powell and Susan Goetzinger was very innovative. 10% of participants did not gave feedback to this question.

68% of participants thought that The First Estonian Conference on Educational Robotics fulfilled the goals of the conference, 29% of participants thought that it partially fulfilled the goal and 3% of participants didn`t answer the question. Most of the teachers were from North-Estonia schools and the conference location was suitable for them.

Participants fed back that the most valuable outcomes from the conference were:

  • interesting and new ideas in the robotics field
  • presentations
  • workshops
  • sharing experiences and good practices in UK, Finland and Sweden
  • sharing local experiences
  • developments in the robotics field

Next year Estonian teachers would like to know more, such as how to teach robotics more successfully in schools and they would like to know more about Estonian school practices and teaching it in schools. Certainly participants would like to know more about the BBC Micro:bit (how to use it, etc) and what is very popular in the schools in the UK.

In conclusion, the conference was very successful and based on the given feedback we are encouraged to organise this kind of conference again in 2017. We look forward to seeing you there!