Robotics in Education

When most people think of a robot they may think of R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars, or Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from Transformers, or perhaps The Terminator or even Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. In popular science fiction a robot is most often a highly complex machine resembling a human being and able to replicate human movement and functions automatically. However, the definition of a robot today is not so straightforward, and many would be surprised to learn that there are robots all around us. For the purpose of this essay a robot is a machine that is able to interact with the physical world automatically or autonomously, and in most cases they don’t look like a human, and you may even have one or two robots with you! A cell phone, for example, small enough to fit in your pocket, is a perfect example of a robot in disguise, and the names Droid, Alexa, Siri or Cortana have become commonplace. Equipped with a gyro, accelerometer, compass and GPS, it’s able to not only know its rotation and speed but direction and location. Users can even talk to their phones and call a friend, schedule an appointment or google a question. The only thing your phone really lacks is a way to move around, which companies like Romotive have come with fun ways to give your phone mobility. Oftentimes your phone is a user interface, the means by which we are able to interact and control robots like the AR.Drone 2.0 that is flown and controlled remotely by your smartphone (Parrot, 2014). Cell phone technology is just one of the new and exciting ways that robotics is becoming a part of our world and defining our future. This new wave of technology raises the question, how are we preparing our students and children for this new generation? How can we continue and improve our curriculum in schools to support the needs and wants of future generations?

There is a passion that drives students participate in programs that are not only fun for students but teaches them valuable lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM for short. New curriculum based on robotics we can breathe new life into these STEM subjects, subjects that are critical for our future. Teaching students challenging curriculum based on robotics can help students improve in continuous learning, prepare for a future based on technology, learn math, science, and creativity, and become passionate about what they do.

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