It has been more than a decade now that an OECD report stated that “technology is everywhere, except in schools”, which includes robotics knowledge. At the age of technology, the usage of robotics knowledge in higher education is only to be expected. There are even initiatives launched by certain national education authorities on the issue and they aim to incorporate robotics-based projects into new curricula.These initiatives, however, are far from successful since the robotics knowledge remains peripheral to the chief study plans and continues to be apart of the extra curricular or summer activities.
This lack of success indicates the presence of specific challenges in bridging theoretical robotics knowledge and its real-life usage in higher education. The overarching challenge is the contrast between theory and its practice. That is because the uses of technologies at universities are not compatible with the theoretical basis of robotics knowledge, that is, constructivism and constructionism. These theories demand the manipulation of artifacts and construction of public entities through that manipulation, which is essential for the construction of knowledgein an institutional, class-based environment.
The institutions, i.e.universities in this case, nevertheless, do not respond to these demands as they reinforce old ways of knowledge construction.
The time-consuming nature of activities that make use of robotics knowledge and the consequent practical work required on the part of the teachers is the first challenge that comes to mind. Next comes the cost of equipment for robotics knowledge, and the gendered nature of technology in education makes practice less inclusive (STEM is for boys only!).
Another challenge of applying robotics knowledge to university education is that robotics technology is often used to supplement the teaching practices of other subjects; instead of emerging as one of them on its own. And finally, there are strong arguments against the robotics knowledge that its application does not contribute to the training ofstudents. In other words, its necessity needs validation so that it is not seen as yet another fashionable item of higher education.
Fortunately, the proposed solutions to the challenges presented by the application of robotics knowledge to university settings are plenty. The most commonly proposed idea is to focus on the curricula where in the robotics knowledge is to be implemented rather than the robotics knowledge itself, which requires a thorough reconstruction of higher education curriculain the light of robotics knowledge and not the other way around.
With the development of robot technology, it appeared in various modulations. One of them is the TurtleBot. TurtleBot is alow-cost, autonomous robot kit with open-source software. TurtleBot has many advantages which we will explain in the following.
With TurtleBot, you will be able to build a robot that can roam around your home, see in 3D, and have enough horsepower to create exciting applications. TurtleBot's core technology is SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and Navigation. This technology makes the robot suitable to work as a home service robot. TurtleBot software for this technology is mostly written in C++ and Python.
TurtleBot has many uses. Some ofthem are as follows: Thanks to SLAM algorithms, TurtleBot can be used to map and navigate around a particular setting. That is combined with the autonomous navigation feature as well as real-time obstacle avoidance. TurtleBot can also track a person's movements as they enter or leave a room. To learn more about TurtleBot, you can read the "TurtleBot" article on the Riders website.
To argue for the robotics knowledge at universities, quantitative research that proves it to be beneficial to education is also encouraged as a way to counter the idea that it is nothing more than a fashion element. Different pedagogical approaches should also be adopted to introduce students to robotics knowledge effectively and to help them understand how it can better impact their education. An example of these approaches may be to encourage projects that combine art and engineering or ones that involve storytelling etc. to reach a broader audience of students, who would, in turn, recognize the robotics knowledge as an invaluable asset of their education.
As Acrome, our biggest goal is to make the robotics more accessible to all. You can contact us to meet our innovative laboratory solutions including robotics teaching laboratories.