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Hydra: introducing a low-cost framework for STEM education using open tools

Tsalmpouris Georgios, Gertsakis Nikolaos, Chatzichristofis Savvas A., Tsinarakis Georgios, Doitsidis Eleftherios

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Year 2021
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation G. Tsalmpouris, G. Tsinarakis, N. Gertsakis, S. A. Chatzichristofis, and L. Doitsidis, “Hydra: introducing a low-cost framework for STEM education using open tools,” Electronics, vol. 10, no. 24, Dec. 2021, doi: 10.3390/electronics10243056.
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STEM education is of paramount importance, especially in the lower levels of education, and it has been proven beneficial for students in many ways. Although there are various tools available, there are significant drawbacks mainly related to the cost and the ease of use. In this study, we introduce a new low-cost educational framework oriented toward elementary and secondary educational needs. The proposed system exploits open tools and low-cost devices. The system’s core is based on the popular Arduino microcontroller, a low-cost device supported by a large community. The overall system was designed and developed, providing an expandable, modular system of low complexity suitable for students with no or low prior knowledge in related subjects, among others, to programming, embedded devices, sensors and actuators, as well as robotics. Our scope was to provide a system with a small learning curve. Practically, this makes it possible in a short amount of time for the students to perform appealing yet straightforward tasks which will boost their self-confidence and creativity, improve their technical skills and simultaneously provide a system with several capabilities usable in different kinds of projects. The introduced system was tested through a preliminary study using flow theory in a team of 68 students of the three last grades in an elementary school in Greece.

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