So how does it work?
Children love hands-on construction activities so that every aspect of Technology is accessible. No matter if they use an EV3 or Arduino robot, a DJI drone or a 3D printer they want to show their peers what they have learned and what they can do. The multitude of subsystems involved provides more opportunities for them to find something that suits their particular interests.
Why use robots to teach Digital Technology?
Problem-solving strategies are obviously crucial, as it is difficult to construct a working robot unless the participants have an understanding of what it is that they are supposed to do and how they can accomplish it.
The engineering process begins with learning the capacities and limitations of their tools and equipment, researching and understanding the problem at hand, conceptualising a solution to that question, constructing that answer, testing it to see how it works, and revising their resolution based on its performance.
These stages are not restricted to engineering, but they are the basis for problem-solving and can be carried into any context.
We don’t teach Robotics, we use robots to teach. What does that mean? We teach Computational Thinking using robots as tools instead of teaching simple crafts that will become obsolete one day. Computational thinking is a problem-solving way of thinking. This approach is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem-solving in other areas, such as humanities, maths, and science.
The computer programming component allows for more in-depth investigations into issues such as remote sensing, control, and independent functioning. Indeed, many of the problems encountered when building a robot can lead to a better understanding of what nature achieves in smaller packages. After all, the brightest computers can still be beaten by insects when it comes to sensorial recognition, navigation, adaptation to changing conditions.
Studying Robotics helps children perceive computer programming as fun and engaging for those who would otherwise not be interested in Technology or Engineering, bringing those down to the practical, everyday level.