How Lenovo is working to bring STEAM to life

30th April 2024
Harry Fowle

Lenovo, in collaboration with Shape Robotics, has been working on one key mission – to bring STEAM education and industries to life. To learn more, we spoke to Andrea Recupero, Director of EMEA Smart Collaboration at Lenovo, who gave his insights into what Lenovo has been working on, its collaborations, and the successes that have stemmed from them.

This article originally appeared in the March'24 magazine issue of Electronic Specifier Design – see ES's Magazine Archives for more featured publications.

Hybrid collaboration for the future

In recent years, there has been a considerable shift towards embracing hybrid collaboration models, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. This hybrid approach is the ideal blend between remote and on-site interactions and is only being fully realised as we transition into this new post-COVID-19 era.

As Recupero puts it: “It [hybrid collaboration] was certainly important during the COVID era, but now it’s becoming more and more important to standardise a solution that can help organisations in every vertical.”

The pandemic highlighted the value that this approach can bring to organisations within education, corporate environments, or even specific industries such as courier services. The focus now is accelerating the progress of hybrid collaboration models. “We no longer speak of remote collaboration or on-site collaboration independently, the model is now hybrid collaboration which is here to stay,” says Recupero.

Lenovo is one such company that is advocating for this approach: “Here at Lenovo we are able to leverage the leadership of Lenovo within the IT space and bring industries into the unified collaboration space, which in itself is the art of this sort of collaboration,” explains Recupero. Smart collaboration by nature requires coverage on both the hardware and software sides of technology, and Recupero strongly believes that software is often underscored for its role in enhancing employee experiences and simplifying tasks. These are areas that Lenovo is addressing through its suite of solutions. These include solutions that enable improved management, monitoring, and troubleshooting which are all designed to support this new collaboration model.

Lenovo and Shape Robotics bringing STEAM to life

With hybrid collaboration at its core, Lenovo has partnered with Shape Robotics to bring STEAM to life, with a specific focus on the education industry. The collaboration with Shape Robotics has acted “as a test bed and success story” for Lenovo’s development, deployment, and implementation of its solutions to enhance the education industry. Within STEAM education there is a real need to foster a more interactive approach and mindset among students, something that Shape Robotics and Lenovo have worked to deliver through a multifaceted approach.

Shape Robotics' flagship product is the Fable modular construction system which allows students to create their own robots in seconds and start programming them in minutes, enriching STEAM learning experiences. Marrying this offering with Lenovo’s hardware, software, and support solutions has allowed it to reach even further, creating what Recupero describes as an “end-to-end solution supporting institutions to embrace an improved STEAM approach and mindset.” A significant aspect of the solution is its integration with Microsoft Teams to facilitate video collaboration. This enables hybrid and blended learning scenarios, “so along with the standard solution provided by Shape Robotics, we have added the capability to offer video collaboration for a hybrid blended learning scenario.

“The fact that we can now connect experts from industry to schools and share ideas across schools not only nationally but internationally is so, so important,” enthuses Recupero.

This solution has also unlocked new opportunities for Shape Robotics, with the opening of mobile STEAM Labs for accessible education. These labs allow schools without dedicated STEM facilities to leverage engineering and development efforts, integrating smart solutions for enhanced learning experiences. Shape Robotics is able to equip these mobile labs with Lenovo ThinkCentre desktops or ThinkBook/ ThinkPad laptops as standard.

“We have a complete portfolio that is really helping Shape Robotics to deliver its goals, we are glad to be a part of it,” adds Recupero.

It is this collaborative and accessible approach that is facilitating Lenovo and Shape Robotics’ mission to bring STEAM education to life. Now students from both K-12 through to higher education can get hands-on experience within the STEAM field, something that is increasingly valued amongst employers.

Final thoughts

Lenovo's initiative with Shape Robotics is a testament to the transformative power of hybrid collaboration and technological innovation. By integrating Lenovo's suite of hardware and software solutions with Shape Robotics' interactive learning tools, they have created a dynamic ecosystem that not only enhances the educational experience but also aligns with the evolving requirements of the modern classroom. The integration of Microsoft Teams for video collaboration further enriches this approach, enabling a seamless blend of in-person and remote learning opportunities. This partnership not only showcases Lenovo's commitment to advancing STEAM education but also highlights the importance of industry collaborations in fostering accessible, engaging, and effective learning environments.

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