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Educational robotics/purpose/working/advantages/implementation

What Is Educational Robotics?

Educational robotics is a learning method focused on researching, discovering and building a machine as a result of acquiring knowledge. It depends on the use of ready-made kits for assembly or transformation of other materials, such as scrap and recyclable items to compose the robot’s parts.

In addition to assembling the machine, it is essential that the process produces a robot capable of receiving commands and performing certain tasks .

During the process of planning and structuring the machine, students of different ages understand the role and importance of each part of the robot, including its motors, sensors and mechanisms that allow it to complete the given commands.

The Use Of Technology In Learning

Technology has always had more or less profound effects on various fields of society, including education.

After all, it interferes with access to information , knowledge sharing, the most demanded professions in the job market, among other segments.

Since the end of the 20th century, humanity has been influenced by the internet and the consequent digitalization , which reaches all sectors, changing the way we consume, live, relate and learn.

Thus, the new generations are informed and need different dynamics to build knowledge , since they have information available in real time, just a simple Google search.

Although this has been a reality for years, many schools continue to use traditional methodologies, created in a time when computers, smartphones and robots were not even dreamed of.

The passive format of these methods ends up becoming boring for a large portion of the students, who need to get involved with the themes so that they are really assimilated.

Hence the need to add technology to the teaching process , bringing to classrooms and laboratories the equipment that is already part of the daily lives of children, adolescents and young people.

By themselves, these technologies do not have the ability to educate, but they serve as facilitators that actively contribute to learning , favoring student empowerment.

This is the proposal for the insertion of robotics in education.

What Is The Purpose Of Educational Robotics?

As an active learning methodology , educational robotics aims to form more proactive students , who take responsibility for their learning process.

This change of attitude helps children and adolescents to leave the role of mere spectators to be protagonists in the construction of their knowledge.

Depending on the context, robotics can also serve purposes such as:

  • Increase interest in scientific and technological topics
  • Facilitate the learning of subjects such as physics and mathematics
  • Make classes more dynamic and fun
  • Provide more interactions between educators and students
  • Enrich the curriculum with technology-oriented subjects
  • Strengthen critical thinking and problem solving through new tools
  • Promote the approximation between students of different profiles, putting them in groups to build robots
  • To highlight the connections between different disciplines and their application in everyday life
  • Preparing students for the job market , filled with unfilled vacancies in the field of technology.

At What Stage Of Learning Is It Ideal To Start Studying Educational Robotics?

This is an important question, for which it is worth resorting to this interesting line of thought:

“Far beyond the introduction of technological resources in the educational environment, specifically in basic education , it is necessary to develop and encourage students to become professionals in science, because only in this way will it be possible to amplify scientific and technological advances, with the mission of enabling students to organization of thought in a logical way, and assist in the construction of a critical and participatory conscience in relation to the environment in which one lives.”

Taken from this article by the administrator Simonica Bidin, the excerpt above points to the possibility of awakening interest in science even during basic education.

In this scenario, elementary and high school students are the most suitable for contact with educational robotics, as they are already literate and know a little bit of mathematics, being able to do simple operations.

How Does Educational Robotics Work?

The dynamics of educational robotics works in different ways in different institutions, serving the purpose of each one.

Therefore, it is common for everything to start with a plan to establish the objectives that are intended to be achieved through this methodology.

Then, it is necessary to offer training to the teachers involved in the proposal, so that they encourage their classes to build robotics projects.

At the same time, a company that supplies special kits is contracted, with materials that will form the structure of the robots, or the selection of alternative materials.

Afterwards, the robotics principles can now be taken to classrooms and laboratories, attracting children and adolescents to get to know the new discipline or complement made available by the school.

During the meetings, the teacher acts as a mediator and tutor , presenting a sequence of knowledge and answering questions without directly interfering with the students’ work.

How Can Educational Robotics Aid Learning?

We mentioned above that the new generations have more dynamic , immediate and digital ways of learning .

In fact, some of these students may still do well in a spectator role in the classroom, however, they are in the minority.

And, in the same class, there are likely to be people with different learning profiles , which requires diversification of teaching methods so that everyone has a chance to maximize their use.

The traditional model does not make room for this flexibility, as it assigns the function of transmitting knowledge only to the teacher, discouraging students from sharing their ideas or taking the initiative.

On the other hand, educational robotics and other active methodologies adopt a broader and more diverse view, encompassing different formats to welcome children and adolescents with a series of learning profiles.

This is because they are based on theories such as Jean Piaget‘s constructivism , which sees the student as a builder of his knowledge through experiences and discoveries.

According to this report by Revista Educação , the application of robotics in education is the result of the work of the American mathematician Seymour Papert, who worked with Piaget at the University of Geneva, where he had contact with constructivism.

Under the influence of this perspective, Papert formulated constructionism, which adds to education the need for concrete actions , culminating in a tangible item: the robot.

Believing that machines can change the way of learning , adding creation, debugging ideas and reflection, the scientist invented a first robot dedicated to the teaching process, as described in the report:

“In the 1980s, Papert created the soil turtle, a robot programmed by the Logo language – also created by him in an accessible way for children –, which, through the use of the computer by the students, was able to draw different geometric figures”.

What Is Studied In Educational Robotics?

Educational robotics usually employs a multidisciplinary approach , and may include subjects outside the field of exact sciences.

An example is the construction of glasses with a distance sensor , created to make life easier for a visually impaired child.

The play will rely on research in the field of biology and even medicine to understand the nature of the disability and how the glasses should be designed.

Language, arts, social and environmental issues may also come up during research and planning for other projects, and vice versa if the school employs robotics as part of problem solving in any subject.

But, basically, the robotic unit is formed from four stages and systems, studied by disciplines related to Mathematics and Physics:

  1. Programming step , normally performed with a computer
  2. Control unit , which requires a processor
  3. Electrical part , composed of motors and sensors
  4. Mechanical part , which has gears and other mechanical components.

Math

Fundamental calculations are used to build robots, robotic arms and start building logical reasoning .

However, the most common is that mathematical concepts are learned with the illustrative help of machines, allowing the consolidation of knowledge through visual stimuli.

It is possible to use movements to explain the concept of angles and degrees, or sequences of commands to unravel how the algorithms work .

Physical

Like Mathematics, Physics concepts become much more interesting and understandable when they can be seen in practice .

This is what happens when calculating the force to throw an object or the speed required for a robot to cover a certain distance in a specific period.

With the support of robotics, students no longer need to imagine these situations, present in many statements of Physics exercises.

They can test hypotheses by checking the action of forces such as gravity.

Electrical

The construction of circuits powered by electricity is another possibility in the study of robotics, increasing the understanding of the electrical universe.

A simple example is using switches to turn a machine function on or off.

Electronics

Branch of Electrical, focuses on applications of low currents of electrical energy to transmit, process and store information.

It then approaches essential concepts for the operation of hydroelectric plants, transmission lines and telecommunication systems, in addition to circuits present in computers.

Mechanics

Mechanics is another area of ​​Physics that is related to the construction of machines, as it studies the movement and rest of bodies .

Topics such as frictional force (which opposes motion), Uniform Motion (MU) and Uniformly Varied Motion (MUV) are learned in a playful way when applied to projects.

This includes details on velocity and acceleration , among others.

Schedule

Although the educational robotic unit does not have a computer or other programming device inside, it depends on programmed commands to function properly.

And the discipline provides the knowledge that students need to write (in programming language) and test a program in order to generate the planned movements.

What Are The Advantages Of Educational Robotics?

You must have already realized that robotics can contribute to learning in various fields of knowledge , especially in the area of ​​Exacts, right?

Now, follow more about its advantages.

1-Stimulates The Development Of Reasoning

Reasoning and logical thinking are developed from a lot of training, so they benefit from a practical approach – which is the premise of educational robotics.

Both in places that adopt it as a discipline and in those that use its concepts to broaden the horizons of teachers and students, there is this gain in stimulus to reasoning, starting with identifying the best way to solve a problem.

2-Stimulates Creativity

Although some people develop creativity more than others, it is not an innate attribute.

On the contrary. There are ways to exercise the brain to create more, and the first step is to add repertoire, that is, new experiences that will be used by the brain to form differentiated connections.

Working with machines provides moments like this, full of discoveries and experiences.

3-Makes Learning More Attractive

Instead of keeping a class sitting and silent for hours, robotics encourages a more active environment , without leaving concentration aside.

After all, each member of the group needs to focus on their task for the project to be completed correctly.

But the playfulness of dealing with pieces and new experiences adds value to learning, which becomes lighter and more interesting for children and adolescents.

4-Encourages Teamwork

Each project requires the class to split into teams to build a machine.

Although everyone has individual roles, the result depends on the team , which learns to work in a coordinated way, interacting with others and reinforcing communication skills .

In the end, the importance of the members and the strength of the group is clear.

5-Curriculum Enrichment

Educational robotics contributes to the smooth running of other subjects, facilitating their understanding, in addition to arousing interest in current topics .

If the idea is to solve problems, nothing prevents the solutions from being real and applicable to students’ daily lives, right?

What Is Needed To Implement Educational Robotics In Schools?

In a simplified way, we could say that it is enough to hire a supplier of robotics kits or rely on the help of an educator who understands this area.

However, in order to achieve the results and enjoy all the benefits of educational robotics, it is essential to start with diagnosis and planning .

The diagnosis corresponds to the collection of information about the current situation, performance and difficulties of students and teachers.

For this, it is interesting to apply questionnaires to collect ideas and demands from the faculty and students.

With this information and suggestions in hand, the school can proceed to planning, defining a central objective and goals or steps to reach it.

The goal is something grandiose and involves the purpose and motivation for action. For example:

  • Facilitate the teaching and understanding of Physics in High School through the learning of the first concepts in Elementary School, using robotics.

Or:

  • Strengthen reasoning and the ability to solve problems in a multidisciplinary way, including robotics knowledge.

Once the objective has been outlined, move on to implementation goals , making clear the expected results for each stage.

How To Implement Educational Robotics In Schools?

Diagnosis and planning are the first steps to successfully implement robotics.

Below, we present a summary roadmap with the next phases and tips to succeed on this journey:

  1. Break your goal down into goals, which are smaller steps
  2. Goals should be SMART : S (specific), M (measurable), A (achievable), R (relevant) and T (temporal)
  3. Elect a coordinator to take care of robotics projects
  4. Involve faculty in planning, highlighting the importance of multidisciplinarity
  5. Set aside a space for the construction of robots, for example, a laboratory where parts and accessories are available
  6. Analyze the contents of the disciplines to choose kits suitable for your proposal, the age and grade that will use the materials
  7. Look for a kit supplier that has a good reputation and qualified staff to support teachers

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