Robotics in Education


It is well known that the kids question a lot how the things are shaped and interact with each other. I strongly believe the saying of Albert Einstein: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its reason for existing." Today the parent's incentives to answer children's questions are better. The question is finding the most effective tools we have that can answer the kids.

Technology is one of the hottest topics since humankind solves many problems with new technologies. However, it brings many questions in itself. New generations are born into a world where technological gadgets of everyday life are becoming increasingly important. Technology literacy becomes an important issue and an essential goal for the policymakers with the increasing exposure of technological gadgets in our everyday lives.

STEM is not the only domain to understand real-world problems, but it is a very effective way to teach reasoning and solution building. STEM is a proper domain even in younger ages for both girls and boys since it enables students to apply mathematics and science theory into real-world problems via using and creating tools(technology) and hands-on engineering experience with system design processes. It enables younger generations to grasp the working mechanisms behind everyday technological objects, which they use routinely.

In high school years, we should provide something more satisfying to young people compared to the school work they have ever done. Teaching robotics in high school could be the best way to achieve that, it would also enable students to see the fundamentals of engineering. To achieve that goal schools should provide them hands-on experience with real systems because technological literacy would not be enough once the students get closer to pursue their careers. They should be equipped with the knowledge, which enables them to become more than the consumer of the technology.

As an example: factory visits where industrial, big systems are at work and are observable can be seen as good experiences for the students' vision, but they lack the essential element of interaction with the real world systems. For students to truly understand the fundamentals of engineering and move a step further than being just consumers, they should be allowed to interact with systems that are similar to the industrial systems; they should be allowed to test and experiment their own designs both regarding hardware and software.

At that point, I would like to give an example to visualize the importance what I am trying to point out and let move phenomena one step forward.

Questioning and experiencing on software and hardware is necessary on a real system as I mentioned, but there is one more approach by Marc Raibert who is the founder of Boston Dynamics and a professor in MIT. He defines holistic design in robotics. It is basically a combination of software, hardware, and behavior all at one time to be able to design complex systems. The part regarding behavior is new since we recently started to build a complex system. I started to believe that we need real systems and hands-on platforms more than we needed them in the past to understand and define the characteristic behavior of a system.

We may have big obstacles to achieve an education system which fully emphasizes robotics to younger kids. We need good pieces of equipment & good teachers trained in the domains that would enable students to become technology literate, and further enable them to become producers at an early age. Creation of age-suitable educational materials is also important along with ready-to-use lesson materials, and affordable platforms.

Let us invest more to the technology and watch the rise of the robots in education since it is not so far.



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