Venkata Dinesh P, Associate Product Manager, Next Education India

Dinesh has 9 years of experience in the Education Industry. He holds a Masters degree in Computer Systems Engineering from London and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. His passion is to build user experience products and likes to explore Artificial Intelligence in education.

 

Today, in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, most of the innovative technologies cater to the field of computer science. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain have been recognized as the most transformative technologies which will not only affect the workplace but also our way of life. In this fast-growing environment, people need to evolve equally fast. Thus, skills like computer fluency, adaptability to change, problem-solving skills and high EQ have become essential for success.

Realizing the need to keep up with the demands of the tech world and make the students ready to take on a future where robots are expected to become a part of life, schools are taking extra efforts and incorporating subjects such as coding and robotics in their curriculum. While schools are gradually turning into hubs of innovation, the attitude and skills of learners need to be like the innovators of tomorrow and facilitators need suitable tools to harness those skills.

Robotics, the learning stimulator

Many governments across the globe have already recognized the importance of robotics in the classroom. Thus, the global education system has begun to create programmes and laws to incorporate them into the public education system. The idea behind such actions is not only teaching students the basics of robotics but also opening a whole new world of exciting opportunities for them that they would not have access to otherwise.

Robots are hugely popular among children. According to reports, in the year 2018, four out of the 20 bestselling toys on Amazon shopping website were robots, robotics kits and electronic circuitry kits. So it should come as no surprise if the K–12 education sector incorporates robotics in the curriculum to pique students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

According to ‘Markets and markets’, schools spent $164.5 million on robotics products and curricula in 2018 and this figure is expected to grow annually by 28%, reaching $640.5 million by 2023. So, it is clear that the significance of robotics is growing in the global academic sphere.

Demand for robotics in education

As the post-millennial generations are more exposed to different technological devices from a tender age, they tend to be extremely inquisitive about technology and computational discoveries. So, if learners are introduced to the basics of robotics and programming languages from an early age, it can help to stimulate their creativity and satisfy their curiosity.

Children these days find robots intriguing. The movements of a robot, the method of controlling the movements as well as the whole programming behind running a robot are the significant areas where learners pay undivided attention. In a workshop organised by Next Education India Private Limited, which was solely about robotics, students from different age groups were introduced to two robots named MeeBo and PyBo. Their excitement was evident when they saw MeeBo move. They were eager to learn the programming behind those movements and gradually learnt it.

Benefits of introducing robotics in the curriculum

Robotics labs benefit students hugely and prepare them for a prospective AI future. It hones multiple skills among students. They are:

21st-Century Skills

Robotics labs hone 21st-century skills of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills among learners through different activities.

Perseverance

Creating and programming robots is challenging. Working through complicated situations helps students develop a strong and determined attitude which is crucial for any technological or scientific activity.

Teamwork

Robotics incorporates a range of skills, and thus promotes a learning environment for people with different talents. If properly harnessed, it promotes collaboration.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Robotics labs provide students with an opportunity to learn programming in a tangible way. Robots can be integrated with other STEM subjects, thus making the course of learning interdisciplinary in nature.

Application of Knowledge

When students program physical robots, it becomes easier for them to understand the intricacies and capabilities of robots. They learn the skills needed to create precise and accurate instructions and also have fun doing so.

Robotics in India

Though robotics is being deployed in academics globally, the situation in India is quite different. Our country is at a nascent stage in terms of embracing technology. According to a global report, there are only three robots per 10,000 employees in India, which is not enough to support the country’s industrial growth.

 

To change this scenario and foster creativity, curiosity and imagination in young students, the Government of India has established Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) in schools across the country. ATL  aims to inculcate such skills in students as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning and physical computing. Under this initiative, students gain exposure by working with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and participate in hands-on activities pertaining to science, electronics, robotics, sensors, computers, etc.

Incorporating robotics in the K–12 curriculum allows students to understand the STEM subjects and concepts better, thereby building a strong foundation for learning and making them future-ready in the age of AI.

The rapid advancement of technologies such as AI, machine learning and robotics has impacted several industries along with the education sector. A recent report by IBM and Burning Glass has shown that the opportunities for data and analytics skills will increase by 364,000 to 2,720,000 in 2020. This means that the demand for AI-skilled workers is growing rapidly. The scenario of robotics is no different. The time is not far when robots will be a part of our daily life, solving complex problems. However, creating those robots requires human intelligence. People well versed with programming and technical skills are required to design robots to transform the future. So, it is imperative to introduce Robotics labs to the students of today.

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