Discovery Robotics and Active Learning Are Changing Computer Science and Programming Education

Discovery Robotics and Active Learning Are Changing Computer Science and Programming Education

            As of now, computer science and programming education have a long way to go in the United States. While nine out of ten parents want their children to learn computer science in schools, only one-fourth of the nation’s public schools incorporate these subjects into their curriculum. However, in the past decade, federal, state, and private initiatives are helping to advance computer science education. Robotics education in particular stands out among the rest.  Robotics is revolutionizing computer science and programming education.

            Educational robotics refers to the use of a myriad of different robots in learning environments. This could mean building robots, programming them, participating in competitions, or simply using them to assist in teaching certain subjects. We are amidst the STEM revolution, which is closely related to and can be taught by robotics in a curriculum. Educational robotics kits are available, including RoboTerra’s Origins Kit which comes with CastleRock programming language platform to teach coding as well. As well as changing elementary, middle, and high school education, educational robotics has a tremendous impact on higher education and technical training that cannot be ignored. Simulations and realistic robots have had revolutionary impacts on medical training and accuracy in particular. 

            Discovery robotics refers to discovery based learning applied to the field of robotics. These skills will allow students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply this knowledge in ways they never would have previously imagined because they are able to make creative, valuable connections. Creativity will fuel the technological innovations to come. Problem solving and critical thinking are essential to discovery based learning, and students are encouraged to learn from mistakes rather than be penalized for them. Teachers give students enough information to get them started, but projects aren’t based on facts that can be looked up online or spoken about in a lecture hall. They are forced to think critically about material they learn and then apply it to a project. Robotics can be perfectly geared towards discovery based learning.


            A robotics curriculum promotes active learning. The alternative to active learning is passive learning, which is largely lecture or reading based. Active learning challenges students to ponder and discuss the subject at hand and apply it to other situations in order to fully understand topics. This allows for creative thinking, problem solving skills, and effective group work skills to blossom. Students will benefit from becoming proficient in these three areas, as they are useful skills not only for everyday life but also in the workforce. Active learning is, in general, more enjoyable and keeps student’s attention. The excitement that stems from active learning will give students the confidence to continue leaning computer science fields that they might have seen as too difficult in the first place. Active learning techniques include discussions, group work, analyzation, and kinesthetic projects.

            No matter the field students choose to pursue, they will use skills learned through discovery robotics and active learning in their future carriers. With jobs relating to technology on the rise, it is increasingly important for more employees to have a basic understanding of computer science and coding, which robotics is sure to impart upon students. Even if students choose a career not related to technology whatsoever, discovery education and active learning teach people how to work in groups, communicate their ideas clearly, and to think critically about topics that others might gloss over.

            Students learn and retain more when active learning and discovery education are implemented. Kids are already excited about learning computer science, programming, and robotics because it surrounds them; discovery robotics and active learning only strengthens their desires to learn more about these fields. These strategies make education an exciting process for students, not just another day at school. Engage students and they will not only learn the material, but also acquire a thirst to learn more about computer science and programming.

            Countless initiatives have been developed and are already being implemented, funded both privately and publically, to support computer science and programming education. Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative, Computer Science Education Week, Hour of Code, The K-12 Computer Science Framework, and STEM focused programs are only a handful of these types of plans, hopefully all of which will utilize these revolutionary education techniques. When applied to robotics, these two techniques ensure students aren’t just memorizing facts, figures, or lines of code in order to pass the next test; students will be encouraged to learn coding, robotics, and STEM fields because they are excited to explore innovative ideas in a growing field during the technological age.