RobotLAB Blog

Everything You Need To Know About Robotics in Education and Businesses

Introducing STEM to your kids in their daily life

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With the growing demand of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related occupations, the focus on STEM education has jumped significantly in recent years. However, the majority of kids nowadays have little to no interest in STEM subjects. The way they are introduced to STEM subjects in schools is unengaging and unrelated to their lives. They can’t connect the logic between Math formulas and living out their daily activities. Children should really be exposed to STEM in their homes since early age.

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Machine Talk

Last month Amazon purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. This is incredible news for several reasons!

 First, it shows the phenomenal success of young companies that emerged from the information technology revolution a few decades ago. Think about what Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple achieved in the past 20 years. Their success is both amazing and inspiring!

 Second is the story behind this purchase. Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy some fruits at Whole Foods, but Alexa didn’t understand it correctly…

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Of course, this is a joke. But a powerful one!

Humor says a lot about the culture of its time. And this tells us an interesting story about where today’s technology is going. We are entering an era where we talk to our devices. This brings the biggest change yet to the integration of technology and our lives.

Communication and language are key to the evolution and development of species. And particularly for us humans.

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Do we really need to teach Algebra?

One of the most debatable topics these days is whether we should keep teaching high school math or not.

“Where will I use it in my life” is common feedback from the grouchy students. However, studies show that students don't mind practicing math, its testing math where we lose them.

And we lose them badly. In 2016 a Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) unveiled the results of an international math quiz that showed U.S. high school students lag behind their global peers in math, ranking 40th in math out of 72 countries last year. The U.S. score was down 17 points from 2009 and 20 points below the average of others taking the quiz, which saw Singapore come out on top, followed by Japan, Estonia, Finland, and Canada.

As a result of this failure, many in and out of the school system advocate to “lower the bar”, drop Pre-Calc, Algebra II or even Algebra I from the curriculum (and standardized testing) and help students overcome the “math anxiety” by bypassing the subject altogether.

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How Society Pushes Women Away from STEM at Every Step of the Way

You are invited to a child’s birthday party. As an adult with no children you have no idea what kids are into these days, and hope that your random purchase at Toys R’Us will be acceptable. When you enter their website or their store the first choice you make is based on the sex of the child. Is the child a boy or a girl? Although most of the toy categories under boy’s toys and girl’s toys are the same except for a few, within the categories you will see a difference. Within the building sets and blocks category the page looks different if you are in the boys or girls section. For example, girls have a Lego play house, and frozen treat stand. The boys have a technic hydroplane racer and Homing spider droid.

 

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TJ Bot! an open source project to connect to IBM Watson services in a fun way

TJ Bot is an open source project to access IBM Watson services in a fun way. You can 3D print or laser-cut the robot, then use one of his recipes to bring him to life! The kit targets senior high school or college students and anyone interested in using Raspberry Pi. Depending on what you plan to build with TJ, you may need other electronics such as Neopixel LED, camera and microphone.

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Students at Folsom High School learned how to program with the Nao Robot check out the amazing results!

Beginning computer science students at Folsom High School, in Folsom, California, have been learning how to program using the NAO Robot. After the lessons in the curriculum completed, teams of four students were required to write a lesson plan before they started programming which would include the following:

  • Grade level taught 

 

  • Subject NAO will be teaching

 

  • Summary of the lesson

 

  • Materials needed to complete the lesson

 

  • A detailed description of the program by using a textual storyborad format

 

They were then to work as a team to program this lesson, problem solve, work out bugs, and then video tape the lesson once it was working properly. check out the videos, programmig can be fun! 

 NAO robot teach Bowling

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Coding, Programming and Computer Science are not the same

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You’ve probably heard about the push to provide students with coding and programming skills as a way to better prepare them for the 21st century and possible future careers. Many companies like code.org, code academy, tinker, programming basics, RobotLAB and many others, offer to students a variety of learning exercises to teach them coding and programming in a fun and easy way. There are even online platforms for children as young as 5 years old.

Nevertheless, exists big differences between coding and programming and it is important to know what makes them unique. Each student has a different goal for their learning; whether it be to improve a specific skill, further a career path or engage with their passion, they should be sure if they want to become a coding or a programmer.

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The Four C’s to prepare our students for the 21st-century workplace and beyond

 

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The Four C’s have created quite a buzz in the last few years in education. The four C’s consist of Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Each has a very unique and powerful aspect, and some might say that one is more important than another. We will discover each of the four C’s and why teaching the 4 C’s is important to prepare our students for the 21st century workforce.

 Creativity

Let’s take an example in a Math class. For so long Math has been taught in a way to give a strict question and have the student come up with one answer. There are very specific 1, 2, 3 steps and a rigid guide on how-to. The first C represents the opposite of this, which is Creativity - thinking outside of the box. Being inspired to come up with more than one solution to a problem which allows students to approach it in multiple perspectives.

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Three trends in education you must put on your tech-radar

In the past years, teachers are moving from being teachers to being facilitators of discussions in the classroom. From a traditional teacher standing in front of rows of students, we see classrooms transitioned into the high-tech environment, collaborating and working in small teams, sharing ideas and debating with each other, searching for information online, and coming up with presentations that represent their collective understanding/view/work. Schools and classrooms have changed in the past five years more than they have in the 200 years before.

 Educators who believe that this change is more than enough, that there’s nothing more to be changed, that this tectonic shift that we’ve seen in the past years has reached its peak, and we can sit and rest from now on and just perfect our teaching methods are up to a big surprise. The ever-accelerating pace of technological advancements is here not to stay. They are set to transform every corner of teaching and learning, and then in no-time, transform it again and again and again.

Here are few upcoming changes we clearly see going to transform the education world very soon.

1. Mixed reality  

Unlike virtual reality which blocks the viewer from the world, or augmented reality which just adds some virtual items (menus, Pokemon) on your screen/headset, the mixed reality is the holy grail of this new medium. Mixed reality allows the computer to be aware of the environment, and it’s depth, and attach digital objects to physical ones.  In this way, our senses are tricked to think there’s a real object in front of us, although it’s digital.

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Remember the operations center in the movie Avatar? Everyone is looking at the Tree of Life, from different angles, and they share their thoughts as if the tree is a physical object in the room, although it is a digital rendering of that. This is possible today with tools like Microsoft HoloLens that allow creating a mixed reality environment where everyone shares the same experience. Now imagine this powerful tech in your classroom, imagine you could bring to life concepts in the middle of the classrooms, and let everyone experience them, right in front of their eyes. Allow them to interact with that and allow them to make predictions and test, all while working in between real and digital.

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Washoe County School District Gifted and Talented Program- Case Study

Washoe County School District Gifted and Talented Program- Case Study with RobotLAB at NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Conference 2016 

I am Cheri Di Martino. I am the Director of Washoe county School District – our gifted program. And we are really excited to talk about NAO with you today. What we did in Washoe County is we knew we needed to get into the 21st century, we knew we needed to teach kids at a level they needed to be taught, so we were looking for a partner that could take us into the 21st century and get those NAGC standards, our state standards and have this beautiful marriage together. Well, what we found was RobotLAB, and we found the NAO robot. So what we asked was could a picturesque humanoid robot achieve what we wanted to achieve in Washoe County? This is something that could really help take our 

students to a whole other level. This is something I'm feeling very passionate about, but I could feel passionate about something, but will everybody else around me feel that same passion, that same energy and want to buy into this incredible, incredible product.               

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