What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “robot?” For many of us of a certain age, we might think of Rosie the Robot, the beloved housekeeper of The Jetsons who not only kept the Jetson family organized and strategically aligned, but she also occasionally offered insightful advice.
In 2020 Rosie’s type of robotic intelligence doesn’t exist in everyday households, however, let’s consider some of the cool ingenuity we do have readily available—like the artificial intelligence of Alexa, Siri, and the ever-so-helpful technology of the iRobot Roomba vacuum. Roomba might not be a wise-cracking full-on robotic cleaning powerhouse like Rosie, but you have to admit, it is helpful when you’re juggling ten different tasks and you just want all the dog hair off the floor before company comes over. But, you might wonder, who created this little floor-crawling, dirt-sucking robotic lifesaver, and why? Well, like most ingenious ideas, it all began with the idea of conquering a routine chore with slightly less human effort. Add in a little engineering, coding and robotics for good measure and, viola, we have the Roomba.
Why teach it?
By now you might be wondering why I’m circling the idea of robots, vacuums and far-fetched animated ideas, but in today’s fast-paced technological world, literally no idea, including Rosie the Robot, is considered outlandish. It’s no secret that robotics is a rapidly growing industry and the need for workers (both presently and in the future) who know how to design, develop and program is increasing by the minute (literally). Teaching coding and robotics to students at a younger age is becoming the norm, and not only is it a great way to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), but robotics also helps bring those concepts to life through many different types of hands-on learning opportunities.
According to an article written by Dennis Pierce for eSchool News, even if students aren’t interested in engineering or coding as a career, robotics still offers essential and broadly applicable skills. Designing, building, and programming robots helps students learn logic, problem solving, perseverance, computational thinking, and a host of other skills that are invaluable regardless of what career path students choose. And, to drive home his point even further, Pierce goes on to say that in 2018 schools spent an estimated $146.5 million on robotics products and curriculum, and this number is expected to grow annually by 28 percent through 2023, reaching $640.5 million. And, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, as automation (like Roomba) continues to evolve there will be an estimated 50 million entirely new technology jobs created by 2030.
So, if you’re not already there, is it important to teach robotics and coding in K-12 schools? The answer is simple—you betcha.
Ready to get started?
If you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed about introducing coding and robotics to your classroom, you’re not alone. In fact, maybe you already have some of the technology you need, but you’re unsure where to start? Again, don’t sweat it, you’re among friends. A recent study revealed that 58 percent of today’s schools have technology readily available, but due to time, training or various other hurdles, teachers are unable to put it to use. The key to launching a successful robotics program begins with a little perseverance, and here’s a few simple tips to get you going on the right path …
1. Educate yourself.
Find applicable resources via networking or on the web. You can also sign up for a FREE webinar below to learn more.
2. Explore solutions.
Once you know just how much you can do, the next step is finding the right solutions for your classroom. Nasco Education offers exclusive STEM:IT Solutions for each grade level with supplemental STEM curriculum. Each package offers teacher resources, guides, rubrics, and interactive digital lessons, as well as foundational engineering, coding, 3D design, and robotics and circuitry lessons. Click on the buttons below to learn more.
3. Stay tough out there.
Teaching is hard, but we have faith in you. Don’t give up and just remember—building a robot is not the same as reading about how to build a robot, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Our future generations can only benefit from your creative intuition (even if it sounds a little crazy).