Robotics is the interdisciplinary branch of computer sciences and engineering. The primary purpose of educational robotics is to find solutions and design machines for solving educational problems. Robots can assist human beings in performing various tasks that were previously accomplished by humans. A robot in the human form is called an ‘android’.
Robotics is dedicated to designing, structuring, and constructing mechanical robots. Here are the types of robots currently being developed:
- Pre-programmed robots (for example, a mechanical arm on an automotive assembly line)
- Humanoid robots (for example, Hanson Robotics’ Sophia)
- Autonomous robots (for example, Autonomous Drones, Medical Assistant Bots)
- Teleoperated robots (for example, the human-controlled submarines)
- Augmenting robots (for example, robotic prosthetic limbs or exoskeletons used to lift hefty weights)
This article is all about educational robotics.
What is Educational Robotics?
Also known as pedagogical robotics, educational robots are designed to introduce robotics and programming to learners from a very early age. When it comes to primary education, educational robotics equips the learners with all the resources they require to easily build a robot that can carry out various tasks, depending on its type. Secondary and high school students study a more advanced version, which is far more expensive and complicated to build. The complexity level of the robot building is equivalent to the learner’s age. It is included in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. This is a discipline where practice takes priority over theory.
Educational robotics helps students of all ages to deepen their knowledge about robotics and programming by designing age-specific courses. The learners are able to sharpen their cognitive skills of mathematics called computational thinking by using and developing a wide range of robotics available in the learning environment. It is the mental process we employ to solve various problems through a systemic sequence of actions.
Types of Educational Robots
Most popular educational robots include according to Iberdrola, a global energy leader are:
- Makeblock mBot (robot with wheels designed to introduce children to robotics, programming and electronics.)
- Robo wunderkind (set of blocks that the children can connect as they wish to build their own robot.)
- OWI 535 (suitable for young people aged 13 or over.)
- LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (robotics set that includes several sensors, three servo motors and over 500 LEGO Technic components.)
- NAO (It is a 58-cm high humanoid robot that is constantly evolving.)
Implementation of Educational Robotics in Real Life
Educational robotics help the learners to become in touch with basic programming concepts. This is a skill that is getting more and more in demand with every passing year.
Here is a revealing fact: According to the European Commission, by 2020 there will be 825,000 unfilled jobs in Europe due to a lack of computer science and ICT professionals.
When it comes to secondary and higher education, advanced educational robotics motivate and help students to deepen their robotics and programming knowledge extensively. In addition to that, high-cost humanoid robots are programmed to teach any and all subjects. They can also be excellent teachers because of their ability to capture the students’ attention. They act as the best link between theory and practice in classrooms. Robots can be used to bring students into the classroom that otherwise might not be able to attend.
Robots have also been prepped to attend classrooms as teaching assistants. Repetitive tasks such as distributing resources, and checking computerized MCQs can be related to robots to lighten the workload on teachers.
Robotic in Education (Utilities and Benefits)
In addition to developing computational thinking, educational robots encourage the development of other cognitive skills in the learners that include:
- Learning from errors: Finding out that the mistakes are not final, but a source of conclusion and valuable lesson for the times to come
- Cooperation and Collaboration: The group challenges in educational robotics encourage teamwork and socialization in the learners
- Adjustment and Adaptation: It helps children get accustomed to the increasing impact and use of technology in daily life
- Originality and Creativity: When the learners look for solutions and new functions to assign to the robots, they let their imagination run wild which helps in creative thinking
- Confidence and Self-esteem: Achieving success in the field of robotics helps boost confidence and self-esteem
- Self Evaluation and Self Assessment: When the students see the results of their hard work within seconds, without anyone having to tell them whether they have done well or not, they are able to assess their own performance.
- Driven and Dynamic: The students become proactive and driven to take up new tasks and accomplish them
- Practical Applications: Studying mathematical knowledge and then applying it practically helps motivate the students to continue learning these subjects later on in life.
The Future of Robotics in Education
While robots in education will still be present, they will never fully replace a teacher.
Robots have changed the way humans interact with smart devices. They have brought an incredible change in the areas of voice, vision, and language. They are increasingly used in applications that require the cognitive and emotional skills of human beings. Will robots be completely able to replace humans? The chances are slim unless the humans create thinking and feeling androids.
Let us know about your thoughts on educational robotics, and what more can be done in the field to encourage growth in the comments section below.