Educational robotics and its implementation in the classroom
What is that of educational robotics? What does a robot have to do with education?
8:30 in the morning. Girls and boys start to enter class, you walk behind and go through the door but… What is that robot doing in my class and why is he using my textbook?
Advances linked to technologies have promoted the introduction of new educational methods and techniques in our classrooms. Robotics, coming from the so-called areas STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) , has been becoming a star issue through the different media.
Perhaps the possibility that he ends up teaching us some kind of robot is far away, although it will not be due to lack of trying, like those chatbots that solve the most complicated doubts of those who aspire to the University.
Ads for robots or androids that can replace the teachers in front of their classes. Some projects seek the development of androids that can identify emotions and feel them for themselves. Yes, surely now you are thinking that in a short time that will not help us ourselves emotional test of Voight-Kampff from Blade Runner , to differentiate from our creations.
What role awaits teachers in the face of the advancement of educational robotics?
10:30 in the morning. That robot that talk to professional essay writers . And then my studies and I, what are we good for?
Faced with the arrival of technological advances, doubts, fears and mistrust are something natural. Not surprisingly, there are broad debates in society regarding the benefits and dangers that these advances can have in the daily work in schools and even beyond them, in our lives.
From personal relationships to the world of work, the impact of technologies is increasingly noticeable. Science fiction has contributed at different times in our history to feed these fears and misgivings, but also to show us how wonderful a future guided by technological advance could be.
Starting from the dystopian and pessimistic futures of Blade Runner (Do androids dream of electric sheep? Or The Matrix; going through the hopeful ideas of books such as a brave new world or 1984; to the utopian predictions of “ The female Man, ecotopia, robots, Eva or the bicentennial man This literary genre represents a good way to introduce technology and the possible futures in relation to it.
Although many of the futures that advanced and even today represent these stories, they seem unattainable, it is still true that a few years ago we were not clear about the possibility of having electric and autonomous cars , as in Yo, Robot or Minority report ; military drones , as in Terminator; touch tablets , as in Kubrick's Odyssey; have a hologram teacher , like in star wars; or simply, make a video call, as advanced Blade Runner . Maybe there won't be much left for AI to surpass human understanding… or yes.
What does all this have to do with educational robotics in the classroom?
"Men who get used to worrying about the needs of machines, become insensitive about the needs of men"
(I. Asimov in his story "The great mercury sun" )
From UNESCO, the OECD, as well as from different researches , they warn that it is of little use to have the advances of current technologies if we do not previously acquire an adequate digital literacy critical on their possibilities of use.
In the field of computation and robotics, advances are increasingly surprising. In Japan, Hiroshi Ishiguro, has raised the possibility of creating hyper-realistic androids ; in Spain, SM and Makeblock have already launched a robot that works on emotions and maker culture in children ; Elon Musk dares to predict the possibility that our jobs will be filled entirely by robots .
When we think about the use of educational robotics, we cannot forget its link with the key competencies recommended by the European Union .
Perhaps in a first impulse we link robotics and technology with mathematical, scientific and technological competence; or with digital competition; even due to competition related to a sense of initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit.
We must not forget that one of the keys to education is to train the minds of the future-present. In this sense, it is essential to build a critical and reflective vision of the society in which we live. Competences such as learning to learn or those related to social and civic skills, would thus become central elements of our work, also in the STEAM areas.
So, in the following paragraphs we are going to propose some aspects to introduce educational robotics in our classrooms… WITHOUT ROBOTS … INTERNET … NOR COMPUTERS .
Educational robotics, de-technologying the mind
Learn to program: The programming language is based on the establishment of certain sequences. In order to work on computational thinking with our students, we can make use of games like ROBOT TURTLES , in which they will have to complete different missions by using certain sequences of orders.
If we want to raise the level, we can make use of Code Master , a game for those who already have some experience with computer language. And to advance and deepen, we can introduce greater difficulty with Robo Rally , a challenge for young and old.
Critical thinking: A step to be developed in the implementation of technology in our classrooms is to encourage the development of critical thinking, regarding everything that surrounds these advances.
To introduce reflection on educational robotics we can work on ethical aspects related to scientific progress in our societies.
A good start may be to start with the 3 fundamental rules of robotics , exposed by Isaac Asimov in his story "Vicious Circle" (Page 13):
"one. A robot cannot harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to be injured.
2. A robot must obey the orders received by human beings except if these orders conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence to the extent that this protection is not incompatible with the First or Second Law. "
Science fiction, education and technologies
In the last stages of primary education and in secondary education, considering what a shared future with robots and AI can be like and what challenges they generate for human beings is an excellent way of working on reflection and active participation in the transformation of our societies. .
Science fiction literature, or movies and series linked to these possible futures represent a perfect introduction to think (us) and rethink our relationship with technology.
Introducing science fiction in primary and secondary school can help us to work on linguistic and reflective skills . That way, we can link these readings with work through board games or LEGO.
Working on films or television series related to future utopias and dystopias helps us to approach the beginning of class with some ethical dilemma to work on.
We need to promote training in STEAM areas, as indicated by international organizations. We need to do it with an eye on the gender gap, working for and for inclusion. But above all, we need to do it by taking the time necessary for collective reflection and the exchange of ideas. Perhaps in this sense, we have to follow the words of Pico Iyer in The Art of Stillness:
“In the age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. In the age of distraction, nothing is more luxurious than paying attention. In the age of constant movement, nothing is as urgent as standing still. "