How Robots Are Helping Schools Teach STEM Subjects
Humanoid Robots are in classrooms, helping teachers build for the future of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
There has been lots of news recently about how the UK Government is changing the National Curriculum to try and increase pupil engagement at an earlier age with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
This reactive response is mostly due to the huge shortfall of STEM subject graduates in the current employment pool, and with the UK now facing a skills shortfall in these areas, the UK could be faced with being left behind as the rest of the World races ahead with new technological advancements.
At present it is being left up to individual schools and councils to decide upon their own strategy for STEM education with budgets being allocated locally. This has created huge differences across the country not only in time spent on STEM education, but also in the quality of its deliver.Teachers have been told they need to provide specialist education in these subjects and are often left without the training to deliver this, or the platform to deliver it on to make it engaging for students.
However, there has been a great uptake from areas such as Warwickshire where the County Council has actively pursued a STEM enrichment programme and they have chosen to do so with the NAO Humanoid Robot and a specialist ICT Development Service. Rather than the onus being handed out on a school-by-school basis they have proactively created a team to deliver STEM education with the NAO robots.
So far, there are over 6000 NAO robots in use in schools throughout the world, but there are only about 200 being in education throughout the United Kingdom which shows how far behind we are falling providing children with STEM education.
A secondary aim with the NAO robot is to try and increase girls’ engagement in STEM subjects as there is currently a vast imbalance in these fields between the sexes which is trying to be addressed. Workshops are being delivered across the country by Active Robots to give schools who don’t currently have a STEM programme in place to give their students the opportunity to engage with robots as part of their education.
The NAO Humanoid Robot is an extremely versatile platform which can be used from KS1 all the way through to post-graduate research at University, for some examples of NAO in use visit: www.active8robots.com.
Aldebaran, the makers of the NAO robot, has developed a specialist program for NAO to help with the education of children with learning difficulties with the Autism Solutions for Kids (ASK NAO) program. ASK NAO is an interactive, educational and easily implemented tool to engage kids through customized packages of applications for the Special education.