The main task of the educational system is to prepare young people for life in the dynamic modern world. It is obvious that today’s students’ needs are very different from those which their parents had. The 21st century is the informatization era, the time of constant innovation. Academic activities should be closely interconnected with technology to ensure young people’s successful career building and normal socialization.
It is quite normal that some disciplines and approaches emerge, while others lose their value and are abandoned. Educators should closely track innovations and implement them in the classroom. Robotics is an increasingly popular trend helping to instill STEM skills in students. Young people participate in engaging and fun experiments, perceive education as an exciting adventure, learn to code, apply scientific and engineering methods, create their own robots.
In this article, experts from from Pro-Papers have outlined the key benefits of teaching robotics in schools.
An introduction to programming
It is difficult to imagine our life without helpful office software, entertaining mobile apps, and browsers. Since we apply these tools on a daily basis, it is important for students to understand the principles of their operation. It is a big plus if a person knows how to eliminate bugs on a computer and return it into a workable state. Employers value tech-savvy young specialists, so STEM skills increase the likability of successful career start and good earnings in the future.
Programming itself is a rather vague and challenging discipline, especially for younger learners who need vivid impressions and hands-on experience rather than abstract concepts. Robotics is much more demonstrative and tangible, so it is easier to understand it. Students can construct robots, track how code adjustment changes their behavior, determine what works wrong, and correct mistakes. Such experience develops attentiveness and accuracy since learners understand that there are no insignificant details and all their choices influence a project.
Robotics is a unique science combining engineering and creativity. Learners occupy an active position, create some products rather than absorb information passively. There is no room for boredom because young people are constantly involved in work, design physical models, and see how they perform commands. This approach is very different from theoretical lectures when students may dream about something extraneous or play in their phones.
Each person may turn on imagination and create something cool, what one would be proud of, show it to classmates, teachers, and parents. High engagement contributes to better information retention. People usually memorize things which impress them. Therefore, there is no need to force students to learn. It is just necessary to find efficient teaching tools.
Turning frustration into innovation
It is quite natural that most children get frustrated when facing laborious tasks. It may be uneasy to design robots and make them work. Such projects require patience and perseverance. School is the most suitable place for facing the first challenges and developing these qualities. Educators should help young people to overcome frustration and find the strength to move on.
Robotics teaches students not to give up, not to stop halfway but face difficulties with dignity and bring all things to a conclusion. Sometimes, just several steps are necessary to reach great results or come up with genius ideas. Such life lessons help schools to educate confident and purposeful people ready to set ambitious goals and pursue them as long as necessary.
Students learning robotics have good problem-solving skills, approach complex assignments with enthusiasm, tread the path of constant self-improvement, show psychological flexibility, avoid depressions, maintain an optimistic mood, know how to celebrate victories and do not perceive defeat as something bad. For them, failure is a chance to find out something new and become better. This life philosophy makes students more mature and able to cope with real-life problems.
Robotics is suitable for students with different talents, abilities, and skills. A curriculum may be tailored for every child. For example, if instruction is calm and consistent, kids with autism quite can perform hi-tech projects, respond to the computer’s signs, and give commands to robots. Modern companies develop special software helping autistic students to boost STEM skills and understand their own emotions.
Robotics can also contribute to gender equity. Many people think that only male students may become good engineers and programmers. Young girls do not believe that they are able to succeed in STEM fields. Or they are forced to make much effort to break stereotypes and gain colleagues’ respect.
If schools include robotics in a general curriculum, this would help to empower girls and open new perspectives for them. If practice coding and robots constructing since the first grades, young ladies would know what they are capable of, not doubt their own abilities, have enough courage to invent new technologies and build brilliant careers.
Many projects on robotics are performed in groups. Some learners occupy leadership positions, undertake responsibility for all team members, distribute tasks, check whether work is done well, show speaking talents when persuading other people in their ideas and presenting results to a class.
There are also students preferring to stay silent and do technical work. They are not as vocal as their peers but have better coding and constructing skills, strong logical thinking, may conduct profound research and analysis.
Therefore, robotics helps each learner to find the most suitable place in a team, understand what one can and likes to do, how one may communicate with classmates and contribute to the whole group’s success. Teamwork skills and the ability to utilize personal strengths formed at robotics lessons will be useful at any workplace, in any company.
There are many contests where young people may present their robots, get compliments and rewards. Participation in such events promotes community involvement, allows students to make friends and turn education into an entertaining hobby. There is much more motivation to study hard if not only a good mark but also universal respect is at stake.