Alternative Programming for Students: How Robotics Can Change Education

Alternative Programming for Students: How Robotics Can Change Education

     Living in the 21st century, it is only natural that young people have a curiosity for technology and robotics, clearly demonstrated by the STEM revolution we are amidst in modern education. While great pushes are being made to teach STEM in general, robotics is especially pertinent to all four areas of STEM. Robotics combines science, technology, engineering, and math into one subject that students are bound to be interested in. Both building and coding robots teach problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and how to work well in groups. Even if every student isn’t necessarily interested in pursuing robotics or programming as a career path, the skills learned during a robotics course are bound to help them in the future. Robotics changes education by bridging the gap between learning required materials for school and play.

 

     Robotics teaches the basics of coding and technology, which can clearly be seen as the fastest growing skill sets that will be required in the future. As the job market turns towards technology, having the basic understanding of computer science is bound to help anyone who will soon be in search of employment. Skills they master when learning robotics will be practices that most employees are expected to be proficient at in the future.

     Robotics makes hard science subjects, such as coding or physics, seem more approachable for students. Young people generally are taught to dread taking their first calculus class in high school, but after being introduced to the basics of more complex concepts, like three-dimensional vectors, using robotics in elementary or middle school, students will have the confidence they need to pursue more difficult material. They might even realize they have a passion for a field that they would never have had the chance to discover otherwise. Robotics and coding both teach mathematical reasoning and logic which are the base areas underlying all areas of math, from the order of operations to proofs in geometry. This will help students in any current or future classes involving mathematics.

     Aside from the head-up’s learning programming and robotics will give students in future job markets, students will have enjoy learning robotics. They will have the chance to use their creativity, design a robot the world has never seen before, and see their project through to the end. Completing a project will give students a great sense of accomplishment. Building something with their own two hands and watching it achieve an end goal they set out to finish is so much more fulfilling and exciting than traditional science or math classroom activities. Robotics and coding are all about creativity and innovation, and students will be thrilled to pioneer these topics, especially if they are given the chance to pursue their own original robotics projects. Robotics competitions are also an effective way to get students excited about learning. A little healthy competition will keep students invigorated, and learning how to make mistakes and evaluate how they can improve on the next project is a crucial lesson for any student to learn.

     So you might be asking, how can we improve teaching robotics in education? While we are on the right track as a society, we still have a long way to go. In 2016, President Obama announced his Computer Science for All Initiative, pledging $4 billion to fund computer science education in public schools across the USA. Supporting corporations and educators across the US have also developed the K-12 Computer Science Framework to help schools create more effective and standardized computer science curriculums. Not to mention, countless projects to help encourage students to try computer science are being implemented more frequently every year, such as Computer Science Education week in early December, and Hour of Code events. If your school isn’t currently teaching computer science or robotics, consider starting a robotics club. There are plenty of resources to get involved and start learning robotics.

     If your school is looking to start teaching robotics, consider a robotics kit, such as RoboTerra’s Origins Kit. This not only provides all of the physical materials needed to start learning robotics immediately, but also provides helpful guided challenges to teach students their first programming language, the basics of structural engineering, and the basics of computer science in general. It is never too early-or too late- to start learning robotics or computer science. Students will rise to the occasion, even if the material is challenging, they are naturally interested in how the technology-centric world around them works. Adding robotics to your curriculum will change the education your students are receiving for the better, not only teaching them valuable skills for living in the technological revolution, but also giving them fulfilling, exciting subject material.