IRIM/Croatian Makers – 2020 overview


The Croatian version can be found here.

2020 was the most difficult year for Croatian children since the Homeland War, so we at IRIM made a special effort to make up for at least part of what they lost to help them realize their potential and be productive citizens of the 21st century. To our knowledge, we are still the largest non-governmental educational program in the EU!

For us, the challenge was all the greater because we had to pay special attention to the workload and stress to which the both the teachers and children which participate in our projects were exposed.

You can see an overview of 2019 here and of 2020 below:

  • Croatian Makers robotics league
  • Digital Citizen 2.0
  • New Izradi! (Make!) educational web portal
  • Digital libraries for local development
  • Creative challenge: BOROW-MAKE-WIN
  • Generation NOW
  • Corona virus pandemic and IRIM
  • Miscellaneous
  • Acknowledgments

Each project is described in brief, and the link in the text leads to more details.

Croatian Makers robotics league

The Croatian Makers League is the first major project started by IRIM in 2015 with the aim of introducing robotics, automation and programming in primary school education.

So far we have included more than 600 schools and non-profit organizations, donated 3,000 mBot robots (5 per institution) and educated at least one mentor in each institution so that they could work with children.

Although the spring of 2020 marked the beginning of the global pandemic with schools and educational institutions going into online mode, we managed to hold as many as 3 of the planned 4 competition rounds. The main principle of the League is regularity and locality, not a one-time competition for the best. With this approach, we achieve equal opportunities and better integration into children’s education.

This school year we plan to hold 3 competition rounds of the League. All institutions of the Croatian Makers League can participate despite the pandemic (we have adapted the competition so that all activities are held online). The theme of the competition for this school year is the exploration of planets and the return of the robot to Earth, as a continuation of last year in which the robot embarked on a space journey.

Digital Citizen 2.0

In February, we announced the continuation of the Digital Citizen project – Digital Citizen 2.0  (a collaboration with Google supported with an additional $ 400.000). The goal is to continue and expand the project reach and depth with the aim of developing digital skills in libraries. It transforms public libraries into digital innovation and educational centers with technologies that include microcomputers, robots and 3D printers, and makes modern educational technology available to adults and children.

The project is funded by Google. This project is international and takes place in 170 libraries in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.

In August and September, we held 100 workshops (one in each library included in the project in Croatia) and we donated micro:Maqueen robots and educated the librarians on the use of this equipment.

We have also improved the Izradi! (Make!) educational web portal and begun the BOROW-MAKE-WIN creative challenge, which you can read more about below.

New Izradi! (Make!) educational web portal

During the summer we released a new and improved Izradi! (Make!) educational web portal. As always, users can be educated for free about the use of the technologies used in our projects, but with greater interactivity.

In addition to the educational materials themselves, users have access to a system of courses that guide them through the process of learning about technologies while having fun, and at the end they receive certificates with learning outcomes and acquired knowledge. The portal can be used both by children and adults, and by completing the courses, users can also win ‘maker’ badges. This is a huge repository of content that provides the opportunity for everyone to independently learn various digital technologies.

The BOROW-MAKE-WIN creative challenge

At the beginning of December, we opened 2 BOROW-MAKE-WIN creative challenges in which all interested parties can participate using micro: bits and micro:Maqueen robots or BOSON kits that they can borrow in libraries, create projects and win Prusa Mini 3D printers.

The competitions are designed so that anyone can participate and create their own creative projects – regardless of age, education and prior knowledge of programming, making and ‘tinkering’.

The competitions ends February 1, 2021, and you can get more information here.

Sign up and participate, the winners get 3D printers!

Digital libraries for local development

We are implementing the Digital libraries for local development project with the aim of strengthening libraries in Croatia and Switzerland to become centers for acquiring STEM knowledge and digital competencies in which citizens become creators of knowledge and sustainable development through the promotion of civic science.

In the project, we use a ‘crowdsourced’ network of devices for measuring atmospheric variables, which is free and publicly available in libraries.

We held two educational cycles of workshops in Croatia in which IRIM educators visited each library twice, the first time donating manuals with a short introductory education and the second time with the donation of AQ:bits and education. We held a total of 200 workshops.

AQ:bit is a device designed by IRIM educators that can be used to measure atmospheric variables (concentration of micro-particles in the air, humidity, pressure, temperature) and is intended as an educational add-on for micro:bit.)

We visited partners and libraries in Switzerland participating in the project at the end of the summer, educated their librarians about the use of equipment, civic science and project activities and received very positive reactions (read more about education here).

In 2020, we also published two manuals as part of the Digital Library for Local Development project. The first manual entitled “Fundamentals of digital creation with micro:bit” is intended for everyone who wants to enter the micro:bit world of programmatic and creative thinking in a simple, fast and interesting way. The manual presents micro:bit and various software examples that turn it into functional devices such as clocks, compasses, game consoles and others.

The second manual is called “Manual for Citizen Scienceand deals with the concept and examples of citizen science, a specific methodology for conducting scientific research with the help and participation of citizens.

This manual is a continuation of the first because it presents an AQ:bit measuring device whose operation is controlled by micro:bit, and is used to measure and collect environmental data.

You can borrow and use both manuals in the 100 libraries in Croatia participating in the project.

Generation NOW

For several years, we have been implementing projects in partnership with Croatian Telekom, which is our long-term strategic partner our largest donor after Google, with the aim of introducing Internet of Things technologies in schools and NGOs throughout Croatia.

The goal is to connect existing and new knowledge in the use of Internet of Things technology, develop creativity, innovation and create an opportunity for children to implement IoT projects from concept to finished model and learn from each other.

In the school year 2019/20 we included 110 institutions in the project, donated Arduino equipment and additional sensor kits.

Due to the Corona virus pandemic, we will extend the project for another year to allow all participants to create inventive projects, present them in the final competition and win valuable prizes.

In the school year 2020/21 in addition to last year’s participants, we included 75 new institutions, donated Arduino IoT equipment and sensor kits to them, and organized the training of mentors involved in the project. Project participants will acquire new and use existing knowledge when using Internet of Things technology, develop creativity, innovation and create IoT projects.


Corona virus pandemic and IRIM

When in March we found ourselves in a situation where normal work and implementation of our activities were no longer possible, we decided to join the initiative of Croatian Student Union in the production of protective visors.

With partners and associates, in a few days, we managed to organize and ensure the production of protective visors, which resulted in the donation of more than 6.500 protective visors which covered the initial needs of hospitals. We organized part of the production chain in Zagreb, our 3D printers and those we donated made visor holders, and we connected distributors of plastic foils with companies for making protective transparencies and finally we assembled ready-made protective visors from parts.


In 2020, we also published three beautiful IRIM stories worth reading:

We have entered the 4th year of implementation of the ProMikro project, which we launched together with the Ministry of Science and Education. We have included several new primary schools in the project and now we have 762 primary schools included in the project and more than 36,000 micro:bits have been donated to 6th grade students.

This year we also once again supported Math Evening, an event aimed at popularizing mathematics in which about 800 primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions participate. Once again, IRIM had prepared several activities with micro:bits that event participants could try out.

Acknowledgments of partners and donators

IRIM could never be so successful without fantastic support and collaboration with partners and numerous donations.

We are very proud and grateful to work with companies such as:

  • Google (second largest donator after the Bakić family),
  • Hyundai (IRIM’s mobility partner, we drove tens of thousands of kilometers in their cars without any difficulties, partly with gasoline and diesel cars, and partly using EVs)
  • Croatian Telekom (successful cooperation that has lasted for the 5th year in a row)
  • many other companies and individuals who have supported us with donations

Additionally, our projects are co-financed by the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Fund and the European Union ESF Fund.

Numerous citizens from Croatia and abroad who support us with monthly, quarterly and annual donations.

We truly thank you ALL for believing in us and in our work.

If you would like to support our activities please click here.

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