May 27 2010

“COURSE EN COURS” GIVING 7,500 HIGH SCHOOL PUPILS A PASSION FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Record participation and a number of surprising innovations in an educational project supported by Dassault Systèmes, Renault and Renault F1 Team.

More than just an inter-school competition, “Course en cours” is a motivating and ambitious educational project held every year. Designed to get young people interested in science and technology, it contributes to the educational and social achievement of all participants, between the ages of 11 and 18.

« Doloréan », a middle-school girl team, from Troyes (northeast of France) won this year’s final competition, which was held on May 26 at the Renault Technocentre (Guyancourt, France).

Participation levels multiplied by 40 in four years

In 2010 “Course en Cours” brought together no fewer than 7,500 pupils from 350 high schools, supervised by 1,500 teachers and 600 students from engineering schools, universities and technical institutes. For the first time all the regional education authorities across France took part, from Lille to Nice, and from Crozon to Folschviller. The number of young participants has been multiplied by 40 in four years of existence.

Schools were required to use cutting-edge technologies to design and build a miniature racing car driven by compressed air. Twenty-three regional finals involving all participants were held in May. The winners were then invited to take part in the national final, with their tutors, teachers and friends, at the Renault Technocentre in Guyancourt.

Quality labels and convincing results

Already supported by Sporsora, Institut Mécénat et Solidarité and les Etoiles de la Créativité et de l’Innovation, “Course en cours” received official approval from France’s ministry of education at the end of 2009. This approval underlines the compliance with the objectives of the national education system.

The strong development of “Course en Cours” also shows that this sporting challenge has achieved its educational aims. As well as encouraging pupils to develop an interest in science, “Course en cours” helps teachers create a group dynamic and pass on their knowledge more effectively. To quote Agnès Volpi, teacher and coordinator for the Nancy Metz regional education authority: “Giving high school pupils a tool used by professionals is a great way to encourage an interest in science and technology. The racing cars developed are concrete proof of this. Participants are able to develop expertise in the use of CATIA, a powerful 3D design software used all over the world by tens of thousands of manufacturers, including Renault, Airbus, Nokia and many others. Dassault Systèmes makes CATIA available to the young participants – some of whom prove to be more talented than many an adult.”

Continuous innovation in education
“Course en cours” 2010 places the emphasis on social networks and eco-design

“Course en cours” is in itself a school of multi-disciplinary  expertise and  initiative, providing a link between high school, further education, and the business world. It is based on a rigorous method of educational engineering spanning the entire school year. To this end, significant efforts have been made in training. Dassault Systèmes has trained 350 teachers in advanced 3D modeling, while Renault engineers have made time to answer the questions raised by the pupils and their teachers on vehicle manufacturing as they arise.

Among this year’s innovations, the 2010 edition saw participants making reasoned use of social networks, generating new sources of motivation and creativity. Also, the systematic encouragement of eco-design led to some surprising ideas such as, for example, wheels made of corn starch. Last, the project was widely adopted by education action networks, which accounted for one-third of participants. This reflects the success of the project in raising the awareness of young people from the least privileged social and cultural environments on industrial technologies and scientific education.

VIEW THE RANKINGS FOR THE FRENCH FINAL OF “COURSE EN COURS” ON www.course-en-cours.com