Educational robotics is a learning environment in which the people involved are motivated by the design and construction of creations (object that has characteristics similar to those of human life). These creations are built with different types of materials and controlled by a computer system, which are called prototypes or simulations. The set of educational activities that support and strengthen specific areas of knowledge and skills developed in students through the design, creation, assembly and operation of robots.
The goal of teaching robotics, is to adapt students to current production processes, where the Automation Technology (which is related to the use of mechanical, electronic and computer-based, in the operation and control of the production) plays a very important role. However, robotics system is considered beyond a working application. In robotics, robot hardware and software need to have a perfect relationship, as robotic movements are a link between the physical and logical. Educational Robotics focuses primarily on the creation of a robot for the sole purpose of developing a much more practical and didactic motor and cognitive skills of those who use them. This approach is intended to stimulate interest in hard science and encourage healthy activity.
Robots have become a popular educational tool in some middle and high schools, as well as in numerous youth summer camps, raising interest in programming, artificial intelligence and robotics among students. First-year computer science courses at several universities now include programming of a robot in addition to traditional software engineering-based coursework. Universities offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of robotics. Vocational schools offer robotics training aimed at careers in robotics.
Why do UAE need to develop skills required for these futuristic machines? Robotics will play a major role in the future, so it is important we prepare the current generation of students for this. The use of Robots for educational purposes can be described as an “intriguing mix of theoretical and practical experience". When used properly in schools the robots form the basis of a cross curriculum activity, an ideal resource that can be used to teach:
Working with robots enhances creative problem-solving techniques. Based on results seen in European high schools, it’s clear that when robots are used as educational tools “students stop being passive targets of teaching methods and become active learning subjects, showing initiative, independence, and a drastic reduction in their learning time”. When robots are used in the classroom, students usually work in small groups of 2 to 4 students per robot. This encourages the development of basic communication and inter-personal skills. The ability to collaborate and convey complex ideas to a fellow students or colleagues is an important skill that is seen as essential by modern employers. The use of robots in the classroom subconsciously introduces students to possible career paths they may well have never considered. Engineering principles, such as electrical, mechanical, and chemical, as well as IT skills are required to successfully complete a robotic based project. This is important to ensure the skilled worker shortage that exists, particularly in engineering, is addressed during the years when students are thinking about planning their careers. Robotics is a perfect way to show students that engineering and IT can be fun.
There needs to be a serious investment made to resource robotic education, part of this resourcing must include training for teachers. Whether this investment is performed by governments or industry, it must happen. An online community of teachers and students, collaborating on robotic projects is something that we should see as our goal, to ensure that UAE is well placed to be part of the growing robotic industry.
E-bot help students engage with material in hands on ways. Plus, building robots provides play-driven learning opportunities that explore design, engineering, and emergent behavior in complex systems.
There are lots of educational tools that are engaging, and there are some that teach real world lessons like design thinking, complexity, systems thinking, perseverance, project-based learning and collaboration. But robotics is unparalleled in combining all of these educational possibilities.
Educators understand that different people learn in their own ways. Consider auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, visual learners, read/write learners and that most people possess traits from a variety of learning styles. The diversity of how we can interact with robots offers a great bridge to connect all learning types. Educational robots create an incredibly diverse learning vehicle for educators.