The intensive studies work on artificial intelligence, which is currently one of the most discussed topics in the tech world, enable the development of other fields in science that it is closely related to, and robotics is one of them.
The amount of research conducted on Robotics, which is directly related to AI, has gained momentum in recent years. The advanced mobility of the latest robots designed by Boston Dynamics, an engineering, artificial intelligence, and robotic design company established within MIT, indicates the level that robotics has reached today.
It is an undeniable fact that robotics, which has an impact on a wide range of areas in our lives from manufacturing to transportation, from surgery to space exploration, will shape our future lives.
Due to its increasing importance, robotics begin to be included in the curriculum of K12 schools. Robot programming is highly emphasized in STEM-based education, which is designed to enable kids to acquire the 21st-century skills required by today’s world at an early age. Hands-on project-based learning is an ideal start to introduce kids to robotics, which will have a significant impact on the future, and to draw their attention to the areas of science and technology.
At bottom, robotics is about us. It is the discipline of emulating our lives, of wondering how we work.
Prof. Rod Grupen, Discover Magazine, June 2008
Robotics is an interdisciplinary science that studies the design, production, and use of robots and feeds from many fields such as computer science and engineering. A simple robot is a machine with sensors and mechanical components, controlled by a mainboard and processor. It processes the information through its processor and applies it mechanically. Robots can assist people with everything from daily routines such as housework to the most dangerous tasks such as disaster response. The most heaviest and repetitive tasks are done by robots, especially in industry and agriculture.
So, how do robots work? Robots are machines to move and perform the desired task, by robotic programming. Artificial intelligence has expanded its fields of activity by enabling robots to process and learn information. With the help of AI, robots that can identify their surroundings by their electronic sensors learned to choose the most optimized action. For instance, self-driving cars work entirely on this principle.
While it is clear that some of the most impactful technological developments of the future will emerge from robot programming and AI, it cannot be expected that children who will shape the future will remain unfamiliar with these issues. For this reason, it is very beneficial for children to take robotics programming to get acquainted with science and technology at an early age. But why kids should learn robotics specifically? We have listed some reasons for you:
Robotics is a great start for children to meet technology and science. Being able to produce their projects by making robots while learning the basics of coding, allows them to both have fun and understand the working mechanism of robots. They find the opportunity to express themselves and use their creativity through hands-on projects. Playing with the robots that they have programmed by themselves, strengthens their productive side and enriches their educational lives by increasing their self-confidence in science and technology.
Sequencing skill is one of the most important cognitive skills in child development. It is closely related to attention, organization, planning, and memory, which enables words, ideas, information, and actions to proceed in a certain order. Sequencing underlies the most basic competencies from reading comprehension to problem-solving.
For a research conducted to measure the effect of robotics education given in early childhood on the development of sequencing skills, 27 children attend a robotics workshop throughout a week. At the end of the 1-week workshop, it is observed that there is a significant increase between the pre-test and the post-test scores. In this case, it can be said that robotics education has a positive effect on developing sequencing skills in children. You can find more detailed information about the robot programming workshops for kids on our website.
Computational thinking is the cognitive skill required for the successful completion of the problem-solving process. It consists of the stages of decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithm. With decomposition, complex problems become more manageable by dividing them into smaller ones. Smaller problems are analyzed separately to see if they can be solved in a similar way to problems encountered before. As a result of this analysis, important points are focused and useless information is eliminated. Finally, the most efficient solution for each problem is determined. Apart from computer science, computational thinking skills are crucial in every aspect of our lives.
In another research, the control group that consists of 131 students, took 7 sessions of robotics programming by using the TangibleK robotics program developed by the Tufts University DevTech research group. According to the results of the research conducted by comparing the experimental and control groups, it is observed that the computational thinking skills of the experimental group who received robotics sessions are improved. It can be seen in the graph below:
The sum of the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in today's society, especially in business life, is called 21st-century skills. These skills are grouped around 3 main categories: learning and innovation skills, digital literacy skills, career and life skills. Children who take robotics courses have the opportunity to develop all of these skills. Through robotics courses and workshops, they learn to be more creative, improve their analytical thinking and cooperative skills by working with their peers in small teams. By dealing with coding and programming, they increase their technological literacy and increase their productivity through the projects they develop.
Robotics introduces kids to the most demanding and influential professions of the future and enables them to develop an interest in these fields. We talked about the importance of artificial intelligence, robotics, and programming. Thanks to the robotics courses they have, children better understand the relationship between these fields and develop a close relationship with technology and science by realizing how they directly affect our lives. The gamified structure of robotics courses enables them to understand and be interested in the more complex concepts. In this way, they will take more confident steps in STEM-related fields.