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A Norwegian Education Success Story

10 May 2021

How did the Newton concept get started?

To answer that question, we have to go all the way back to 2003. At that time, FIRST Scandinavia identified three main challenges that later would lead to development of the Newton concept.

Not a priority
The industry was in need of skilled employees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, the education system in Norway was experiencing a steady decline in student numbers in these fields. 

Local education authorities did not have the budgets to facilitate their schools with high-end STEM equipment. Many new schools did not prioritize science and physics labs for a practical approach to STEM education.

Good knowledge
FIRST Scandinavia knew that the Norwegian school system had many highly skilled STEM teachers. But the inspiring lessons and existing good projects were only available for the lucky students at these particular schools with these particular teachers.
FIRST Scandinavia also knew that one of the crucial ways to inspire students into STEM is to provide them with a sense of achievement at a young age. 

So, the question arose: what if we gathered best practices and made them available for a network of teachers, schools, and school authorities? Why not ask industry to share their expertise and take part and provide equipment and/or facilities? The local education authorities could have one or more central STEM facilities that all the schools share. And so, the Newton concept was born.

Big success in Norway
The first Newton Room opened for students in the fall of 2007. Since then, more than 35 Newton Rooms have opened in Norway. In 2021 three new rooms will open and there are more in the pipeline.

Modules we provide to the international Newton network
The challenges FIRST Scandinavia identified were not exclusive to Norway. Many other countries were experiencing the same, and being a member of a network that provides an opportunity to share ideas and learn from other engaged educational institutions was intriguing. This, in turn, led to Newton becoming international in 2015 when Denmark joined the concept, and in 2019 two rooms opened in Scotland. In May 2021, it became clear that Newton was ready for US.
Want to learn more?

Newton Hvidovre openend in 2015 and offers the module «Robots and Perimeter» to the students.