Maureen Miller is the Director of Technology of the Winnetka Public Schools and she works this a NAO robot with her students. This is her story.
For Maureen, the first time she realized that NAO robot was the tool for her students was in May of 2016, her students were participating in a Tech and Learning Live conference in Chicago. The purpose of their visit was to demonstrate their robotics and coding progression for K-8 Maker-spaces. “Next to us, the RobotLAB team had a NAO robot performing the "Thriller" dance. We knew then that NAO would be the perfect STEAM ambassador to capture the interest of our youngest students and the "reach" platform for our most advanced students” Miller said.
Currently, NAO is used with our 8th grade coding students. They get to use the Choreographe tool to create their own programs for NAO. “We use NAO as our STEAM ambassador, so NAO has a travel kit and can visit our younger students. We're also going to start having Google Hangouts with other schools, since travel isn't always an option. NAO also comes with us when our students present their K-8 robotics progression at conferences and workshops. NAO is a crowd pleaser, for sure!” she mentioned.
According to Miller, what the students love most about NAO are the endless possibilities and the open platform to create anything they want. For example, they had a student who wanted to create his own facial recognition code to have NAO identify who was in front of the robot. “They rejoice when they are able to recreate regular human activities (dance, exercise, meditation) in a robot.”
The educational and social impact that Miller has noticed is that students who may not have thought coding was for them, are drawn to the NAO. “The humanoid aspect of the robot makes it a charming companion for computational thinking.” For the rest of the community, there is an opportunity for more advanced robotics as students’ progress. The idea is to keep students interested in the programming aspects of our STEM experiences.
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