At Fab Lab Connect, we are always happy to see change and progress in the classrooms… as our School Fab Lab project proves, so we are happy to share any news on that subject. Here are some news in the chemistry field.
Could robotic chemistry sets lead to a revolution in creative digital-driven chemistry teaching and practical exploration?
The mass production of the BBC microcomputer, designed primarily for education and used extensively in schools and homes in the UK in the 1980s, is a significant milestone in the UK’s computing history. While it is hard to quantify the impact of the BBC’s computer literacy project, it is fair to say it inspired a generation of programmers and can be credited with laying the foundation for the UK’s current leading role in the IT, computer game design and digital media industries. This area has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, with affordable microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi and Arduino enabling more people to learn to programme. The BBC itself has recently gone full circle in releasing the BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer which, in 2015, was provided free to every child in year 7 across the UK.
A digital chemistry education project could emulate the BBC’s success by developing cheap, customisable platforms allowing students to simultaneously learn in the areas of chemistry, electronics and computer science. In our lab, we are planning a roadmap to develop chemical robots and help teachers gain access to new resources for teaching practical chemistry, especially in schools with limited facilities or specialist teaching resources – a well-known issue in pre-university chemistry education.