The activity was organized by Dr. George Economakos at National Technical University (NTU) of Athens, and it was a course on embedded computing for high school students. It consisted of laboratory courses, where apart from computing principles, a first easy set of Arduino examples were presented. This path had to be followed because students in Greece get very late introductory courses on programming, at an age where they are mostly interested with other general purpose subjects that give them the opportunity to participate in the qualifying examinations to enter University. After presenting the Arduino examples, a competition started and is still running for the first 3 ideas of state-of-the-art projects the students can imagine with the help of the internet as well as a demo prepared with a brain controlling interface, prepared by one of our assistants. Because of the difficulties we faced with all financial transactions this year in Greece, the competition is still running (ends 31 Dec. 2015) and a lot of promoting material had to be prepared by our team. Also, some documentation was printed, some translated in Greek and a web page was set up (teachembed.webnode.gr), to form a 15 member team from 5 public schools in the nearby sector. All related 5 school teachers and principals were very happy to take part in such an activity that only private schools have in Greece, and not very often even there. The team of the 15 students got excited and are currently working on their ideas, which will give them a high-end Arduino board from Santa this year. In fact, they have asked to continue this activity on a voluntary basis further on this year, and form a local embedded computing branch. This is considered positively by the organizers, that believe in laboratory supporting teaching experiences but cannot interfere with the Greek teaching experience at this age (younger students are less mature), which is highly theoretical.
The activity was financially supported by the IEEE CASS “Outreach initiative 2015” activity.
Overall, a first attempt to combine embedded computing with the Greek public educational system was attempted, with promising results that need however still way to go, especially with the current bad financial situation in Greece. IEEE-CAS helped a lot, offering a new hope.