At the risk of exposing my lack of poetic ability, Robots are the new cool,/ and a soon to be/ indispensable teaching tool! Let me explain...
No one questions the commitment of the young to new technology. They take to it like fish to water or birds to the air. Why then, is there such a lack of interest in computer programing among these young tech user in high school and college? Kids that spend every free moment on the Internet still avoid learning the very disciplines that underlie this technology. The answer, according to Tom Lauwers, member of the CSBOTS project for introducing robot programming at the Robotics institute of Carnegie Mellon University, is simply that “many students find the initial work very boring.”
The people behind CSBOTS at Carnegie Mellon believe that many students find programming computers boring. Robots, on the other hand, are cool and programming them is fun. Students develop the same skills programming a cool robot as a boring computer. This situation is analogous to an earlier age with the internal-combustion engine and its most popular embodiment, the automobile: everyone drove, but fewer wanted to look under the hood and even fewer troubled themselves with the underlying physics.
The automobile is still around, of course, but the human hand and brawn have been replaced on the assembly line with...you guessed it, Robots! Robots in Israel are saving lives in ruined buildings; robots are under construction that can take the place of men in combat situations and the sky is filled with robotic flying machines, drones. Robots like RobotsLAB’s NAO are even edging into the sports field with the hope of beating a human team at soccer in a generation or two. At the moment NAO isn’t much of a threat to Lionel Messi, but it is ready for prime time in the educational arena.
In fact, NAO in education is the very embodiment of the “cool” educational robot with which Carnegie Mellon hopes to inspire a love of STEM learning and programming in more students entering college. In addition, RobotsLAB’s NAO is coupled with a curriculum that allows students to develop a structured approach to finding solutions while keeping those students interested and engaged in learning skills that will be needed in the future to secure jobs in the STEM field.
And NAO isn’t the only “cool” robot digital teaching assistant here at RobotsLAB that can help teachers keep kids engaged while learning the STEM disciplines. There’s MATHBALL, a robot in the shape of a basketball that was originally designed to help professional basketball players perfect their scoring shots and will now teach kids about parabolas in a way they will never forget. There’s the RobotsLAB BOX with several robots including AR DRONE to show kids how important math can be in their real lives. There’s BIOLOID to help teachers explain the relevance of STEM and for the younger set there’s CUBELETS for building simple robots that don’t need programing to keep them interested. Take a look at our site for more information--and less poetry.