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  • Manon Ballester

The MAGNETICS project is launched

The MAGNETICS project is part of the promotion and use of digital tools and programming in the service of an active and innovative teaching methodology for the teaching of STEAM (Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) centered on project-based/inquiry-based approaches, creativity and computational thinking.

Today, STEAM learning plays a major role in the acquisition of strategic skills necessary to meet the challenges of the current and future labor market. Indeed, between 2017 and 2027, the number of jobs requiring STEAM skills is expected to increase by 13% (vitalsigns.ecs). However, as demonstrated by the many studies carried out in the field of educational sciences (Bybee and McCrae 2011, P. Anderhag et al. 2014, PISA studies, Palmer et al. 2017), the decline of student interest for scientific and technical studies and associated careers, is an additional difficulty when facing the increased demand for these skills in an economic context where research, innovation and technological development have taken a predominant place. A study carried out by Best-Worst Scaling on 333 students found that improving the enjoyment, interest and perception of the value of STEAM activities carried out by students at school can increase their motivation. and their commitment.

In order to meet this need, and to develop the skills necessary for the personal and professional development of students, the MAGNETICS project is part of a reservoir of initiatives, connected and carried out in parallel by a consortium of European partners, including the FabLab d'Aix-en-Provence (also called the LAB association) who is responsible for the technical aspect, and aims to enrich innovative and multidisciplinary teaching methods, by relying on digital tools as a learning vector.

The objective of this multi-dimensional approach (both on content, strategy, pedagogy, technique and digital tools) is to work to reintroduce in students the taste and motivation for STEAM via:

  • The development of active pedagogies, offering the student an approach by project, by experimentation and based on 5 key skills of the 21st century (Romero, M. 2017): creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, resolution of problem and computational thinking.

  • The development of personal motivation by targeting a variety of projects stemming from societal issues that bear meaning.

  • The feeling of mastering a subject, by equipping teachers and students with concrete digital and IoT (Internet of Things) tools.

  • The active positioning of students.

Within these initiatives, the MAGNETICS project aims to provide an additional component, making it possible to strengthen the integration of programming and creativity in the teaching of STEAM by promoting the active participation of students in the scientific and artistic process and by giving teachers and their classes access to digital tools for data collection and analysis.

The prototype developed as part of the MAGNETICS project will allow a better mesh of digital tools, disciplinary practices and equipment by offering the possibility of making these different bricks work together, which are incompatible today. A mesh prototype of the most popular tools for learning programming, ie Scratch, MakeCode and CircuitPython, will be developed allowing the reuse and capitalization of data collected by several electronic cards (the card developed by STMicroelectronics and the Micro card: bit to start) and by different teachers across the STEAM spectrum by adopting a structure where each software and hardware entity constitutes a communicating node of a mesh network. This development will be based on the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE Mesh) mesh network technology compatible with all programmable cards with Bluetooth Low Energy.

This will encourage interdisciplinarity and collaboration while providing perfect interoperability between the platforms, which can each be used for the task it is most suitable for. Teachers will therefore be able to use and reuse new and broader experiments that feed their didactic approach, without changing their working software and hardware environment.

The educational and didactic objectives of the project will join the challenges shared by the approach of our European consortium:


Learning to program has a strong potential added value, often untapped, in order to serve an innovative pedagogical approach around the sciences and the arts, by making it possible to collect and process data to which students would not have been able to access without the use of to IoT tools for example. Far from being relevant only in the context of algorithms, programming can in particular allow teachers to develop innovative and creative projects by exploring case studies, or scientific and artistic challenges, aimed at increasing the interest and engagement of students in STEAM subjects and by proposing a “Science for Good” approach based on the exploration of current societal issues. This approach aims to develop the commitment and interest of students in scientific careers, by stimulating their intrinsic motivation, i.e. the degree to which students perceive themselves as participating in concrete scientific activities and carrying meaning.


One of the commitments common to all of the sub-projects launched as part of this global initiative for the use of IoT in STEAM is the stimulation of an interdisciplinary approach between teachers and larger scale, between schools. Indeed, one of the strong pedagogical axes is the project-based approach advocated as an element contributing to the motivation of students in the learning of science and in particular the monitoring of projects between the different themes addressed by STEAM. The MAGNETICS project complements this educational objective by technically allowing teachers to launch and monitor transdisciplinary projects in a facilitated manner, using the tools that best correspond to their classroom uses (Scratch for card control, Jupyter for representing data graphically, MakeCode to simulate simple programs and transpose them to real scale through the use of sensors, and CircuitPython to create more complex technical programs)


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