RobotLAB Blog

Everything You Need To Know About Robotics in Education and Businesses

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.

 

Girls house.jpg             Hydroplane Boys.jpg

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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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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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Real-Life Research Projects for Teachers and Students on Zooniverse

avatar_sunspotter.jpgZooinverse is a people-powered research platform. It is a dream come true for teachers, students, and thousands of people around the world who understand just how important information can be.

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Rural Vermont school embraces edtech

 

I’ve never thought of Vermont as “poor and rural” inspite of the image I had of it as nothing but forests and maple syrup farms--or whatever they call them ... maple groves, maybe? So I was surprised to read about one school superintendent’s difficulty in upgrading the public schools in his district: Ned Kirsch, superintendent at Franklin West Supervisory Union (FWSU) in the small town of Georgia, Vt., population 4300.

He says that upon his arrival in Georgia, he was pleased with the schools that he found. The problems in the schools were not with the “hard-working teachers, committed administrators, and 2,000 excited students;” instead, those excited students needed a connection to the technological world outside Northern Vermont.

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Profesional Development Tips

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When computers first burst into the classroom back in the late eighties and nineties, most teachers were nonplussed by a new technology they had hardly been aware of, much less trained for.  They stared at these new machines and wondered what were they supposed to do with them. A lifetime of teaching couldn’t provide them with a clue and what they were hearing from their administrators only added to the confusion. As a result some retired rather than deal with the newfangled things and some simply set them on their desks and ignored them.  

The majority, thankfully, buckled down and decided to find out how these things worked and how they could be made to serve their students. Of course one of the first things they discovered was that the students either already knew how to use the darn things or were capable of learning to use them faster than their teachers … and teachers are still playing catch up with their students with each new technological arrival.

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What makes a parabola relevant to kids?

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Conveying to kids the idea that math plays an important part in their lives is, as any math teacher can tell you, one of the most difficult things about teaching math. The blackboard, the book and rote memorization were for years the only tools math teachers had; that, and the hope that they were getting it across. As most of us are aware, for the great majority of kids over the years it wasn’t enough.

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profesional development for technology use

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In an earlier post (Professional Development Tips) we discussed professional development courses for teachers as presented by noted educational consultant Tom Daccord of learning consultancy EdTech Teacher. Mr Daccord offered six tips that he believed would improve teacher professional development courses leading, of course, to improved teacher classroom effectiveness.  

One point he made that we found particularly arresting was his insistence that it was no longer necessary or even wise for teachers to attempt to understand the “nuts and bolts of technology” when dealing with new tech teaching aids. Learning how to operate the new technology, something that students seemed to be able to do almost instinctively, was not as important as having a plan that would insure that these new tools were applied effectively in the classroom. Good pedagogy was  to be preferred over technical proficiency. What adult, after all, can move his thumbs as fast as a teenager?

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Can NAO break through to autistic kids? A new study aims to find out

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Can Aldebarans’ NAO robot actually help children with disabilities? According to anecdotal information gleaned from the experiences of educators and children at Shaler Academy in Ridgefield, N.J. and at Vanderbilt University, it seems that NAO’s calm, non-threatening approach lets autistic children feel they can come out of their shell safely and interact with NAO in a way they cannot with other children or adults. A new study is underway to find out how true those observations are.

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