I’m a father of a three-year-old girl, and a six-week-old boy. I’m running an Educational Robotics Company, and I’m dealing with cutting edge technology on a daily basis. My daughter has experienced humanoid robots like NAO since she was a baby. She has experienced mixed reality with HoloLens since she was two. These are no doubt these and similar “cool toys” that are enabling a tremendous push in our understanding of the world and information around us. And they can offer much better learning outcomes by making the information relevant. However, the power of the tectonic shift in every aspect of our lives, which A.I. introduces, is way beyond “cool toys” - and is hard to comprehend.
Comprehending the basics of AI is not hard - like “how does it work?” and “is it good or bad for humanity?”. But it is hard to comprehend the drastic change that is coming our way in every aspect of how we live our lives today.
At RobotLAB, we are always working hard to bring unique experiences to classrooms. Developing NAO has allowed us to do this- revitalizing the way STEM is being taught all the way down to the very first educational stages.
Recently, we carried out a Demo Lesson partnering with Albany High School. On this occasion, we used NAO robot to work with students on English subjects - an experience that gave us great insights into how robotics can influence learning in multiple ways.
So, what kind of impression did NAO make on students? What do they think now about engineering and overall learning? Let's find out!
Nowadays STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is one of the biggest topics in education. Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple have all helped promote interest in STEM by investing funds in schools and coming up with innovative tools to engage students in their learning and encourage them to pursue these fields. This awareness helps to fill the gap in STEM careers and tech-related jobs. But …let’s take look what STEM was like 10 years ago in schools, how it has drastically changed over the years….. and is about to change again in the future.
Learning to code can sometimes seem overwhelming. I remember when I was making the leap from learning vocabulary and syntax to creating an entire program I experienced some writers block. I had all the tools I needed, but I didn’t know where to begin.
Enter Scratch and Blockly: two programming environments that use a graphical interface of interlocking blocks to make coding easier for new programmers.
The future is now. We need to get up to speed and time is wasting. The Industrial Revolution transitioned to new manufacturing processes, as agrarian, rural people came to cities, learned new skills to live a better life and support their families. Today a Computer Science career enables workers to secure a job and provide for their families. Jobs in the STEM fields are not going away, and If anything will increase in number and variety.
When I was in high school, in the early 1990s, we had an open-day with universities and business schools. Representatives from these schools came to promote their college-degree programs. Back then, we were conditioned to believe that anyone who was smart and wanted to be successful in life should take the college path. Career readiness programs were associated with hard, underpaid jobs. They were a path for the students in difficult situations or those who couldn’t “cut it” in college, and they were considered a path to failure.
When we first started at RobotLAB, we had no idea what it would be like working with a company of robots, technology, and education. During these past six months, we have experienced many situations that have truly transformed our perspective of our work and our personal lives. Here are our experiences and challenges:
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.
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…
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.
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.