Teaching Robot Programming Skills to Children
Robotics programming may seem ‘futuristic’, but it does introduce students to some educational concepts at an early age. Students learn basic electrical circuitry, mathematics and mechanics, but do so in a hands-on, problem-based way, which means that they must integrate and apply what they have learnt.
Of course, robotics is also fun, so students can learn cooperative programming and problem-solving skills almost without realising that they are doing so. Active Robots explore teaching robot programming skills to children.
Robotic products and programs are available to suit all ages and abilities, from primary school to university level. From the early years upwards, students learn the skills they need, but do so with the fun and excitement of dealing with real-life, intelligent machines. Educational research robots are not toys and are becoming increasingly sophisticated and interactive. Face and object recognition, automatic speech recognition and a voice synthesiser are just some of the features that students, and teachers, can expect in the latest models.
As far as future career pathways are concerned, robotics is a great way of encouraging interest in science, technology, electronics and mathematics from an early age. To solve even a basic problem, such as making a robot move forward, turn or take a particular route from A to B, students must work out a set of instructions for the robot to follow in sequence, so they quickly become familiar with the concept of a computer algorithm. The next step is to convert the instructions into a language that the robot understands — in other words, a programming language — and, in no time at all, they have written their first computer program, one that is a little more exciting than the typical ‘hello world’ program so familiar to fledgling programmers of years gone by.