What we do
Robo&Bobo is a project by Turin-based associations PLUG and DEAR - DEsign ARound with design consultancy TODO, supported by Fondazione Vodafone Italia through the Digital for Social funding program. The project promotes literacy in the fields of design, electronics and programming, by implementing a series of workshops for teen and preteen (ages 11-18) patients of the Pediatric Onco-hematology department and Transplant Center of Regina Margherita Hospital, in Turin.
Robo&Bobo is one of 19 projects awarded by the Digital for Social program, which were selected for the potential social or organizational impact of the promoting association, evaluated according to the level of technological innovation, feasibility, and financial sustainability of the project.
In particular, the workshops will focus on:
- the creation of simplified interactive artifacts, customizable through a combination of common materials and recycled electronic components and sensors (electronic boards like Arduino for example);
- the definition of a learning path for digital literacy, simplified 3D modeling, introduction to digital fabrication technology and 3D printing, plug&play e-kits with sensors, actuators and conductive paint.
- the activities aim to make IT skills stand out not only as learning goals, but as means to introduce new and interesting activities that make technology, science and design accessible, revealing their potential for play and creativity. The young adults involved in the workshops become active builders of their own knowledge path, leading to the pursuit of a growing reflection, awareness and self-assessment of their own cognitive processes.
The project’s main goals are:
- to enhance the educational / occupational offer available within the hospital;
- to offer tools that foster personal expression and cognitive empowerment;
- to offer participants the chance to come into direct contact with stimulating activities, completing an important, specific experience and learning also through hands-on practice;
- to offer useful tools to face periods of hospitalization, extending beyond workshop activities, with patients using what they have learned for their personal interest;
- to propose a model that is open to collaboration with similar local, national and international projects, building bridges and creating exchanges that can guarantee the growth and the replication of the project.
The project’s learning-by-doing approach merges innovation, education and inclusion. It is geared towards the development of both technical skills and personal inclinations. Through the guided, practical discovery of technological materials, problem solving and fun, kids get used to working to pinpoint problems and opportunities, come up with possible solutions, create artifacts and test results.
- The project includes an initial phase focused on multidisciplinary planning (from the points of view of pedagogy, medicine, psychology, design, computer science and user experience) in collaboration with the hospital.
- The second, 9-month phase will focus on workshops being implemented, and monitored regularly to gather feedback.
The final, 1-month phase will focus on feedback analysis and processing. The aim is to develop research for the definition of a method, and to trace guidelines so such method can be replicated in other hospitals.
Workshops will be led by operators with professional teaching and technical qualifications as well as by volunteers.
The project’s communication platform will center on its dedicated website and social media.
Content will develop along three lines: project documentation, publication of activities carried out and materials used, and further activities that participants can tackle on their own.
Our social impact
The project’s mission is to improve individual patients’ conditions, by offering opportunities for both skilled training and entertainment, which can give some relief during hospitalization and also spark creativity beyond the duration of the workshops. With Robo&Bobo learning becomes an abilitating process, studded with practical experiences that promote literacy in fields that traditional school programs don’t usually include (design, electronics, programming), somewhat compensating the educational shortcomings that hospitalization can cause.