4/28/2023 - Technology and Innovation

Educational robotics: the future of postmodern classrooms

By Cecilia Frontera

Educational robotics: the future of postmodern classrooms

Introduction to educational robotics

Human interaction with technology, including robotics, is a frequent phenomenon that is present in almost all human activities. In the educational sector, robotics can be a useful tool to face the challenges and fit the demands of the labor world, allowing to train educational agents in skills related to robot technology and programming. An education model that incorporates robotics can promote active and practical learning, and prepare students to face future challenges in an increasingly automated world.

In this context, robotics is manifested as one of the most booming technological areas, currently allowing the creation of new environments to achieve holistic and meaningful learning. Educational robotics has its origins around the year 1960 following the investigations of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which built the first robots to be programmed by children.

According to Ruiz (2007), this conception is defined as a discipline that allows to create, design and develop educational robots so that students start from a very young age in the study of sciences and technology.

This has expanded in recent years, promoting the implantation of the skills of logical-mathematic thinking, cooperative work, innovation, problem solving, among others, within the interdisciplinary teaching of the areas of mathematics, science, technology and art, known as the STEAM methodology (for its English acronym), a term first used by Yakman (2008) in his book STEM/STEAM Education: Betting towards the formation, impact and projection of critical beings.

Enunciated capabilities can be addressed within project-based learning and technology-based learning. Another possibility is through learning by doing (learn by doing) that, unlike the other two strategies mentioned, does not have a concrete order of steps to reach the solution of a problem, so that it supports learning through trial and error, seen from a constructive and playful optics.

The role of robotics within the postmodern room

Given the content to be taught, the educator's intention and the characteristics of the student group, the robot can acquire two roles: a passive-instrumental, in case students believe or program and another asset, where it becomes a companion and/or a mentor when, for example, some language is taught. Khanlari (2016) considers that, within the framework of 21st century learning, robotics is an effective tool to improve skills such as creativity, collaboration, teamwork, communication and social skills. So this becomes an effective resource to prepare the student.

The mentioned so far allows to connect the previous knowledge of the students to new contexts from their internal representations and to give meaning to what is in their environment through experiments and activities based on the inquigation and manipulation of materials (in this case, the use of different elements that integrate the robot). In addition, the use of these technological tools promotes the development of a social learning that activates analog and critical thinking.

Scientific and technological advances

In several parts of the world, primary education has been used for some years by the device Bee bot, consisting of a robot bee that allows children to enter the world of programming and robotics, driving interactive learning through a set of cognitive processes (perception, presentation, imagination, thought, memory and speech). Here, computational thinking enables students to solve problems through an algorithmic approach in different degrees of abstraction.

In addition, in the rest of the educational levels, robots are employed for pedagogical purposes so that students can consolidate their thinking skills, such as LEGO Minstorm, IroRobot and Handy Board. Kee (2014), developed in his book Educational robotics activities for the busy teacher: EV3, various tasks to implement in a school quarter with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotic kit (educational version).

This writing contains 25 chapters that guide the educator through a complete learning process about robotics (from the basic concepts to the exploration of a distant planet with its EV3). In each lesson a different challenge is put to students, while new concepts of programming and operation of sensors are incorporated.

Within this framework, one of the most fascinating creations is the Humanoid Rex which has distance sensors, sounds and touches for the perception system, servomotors for the movement and has a parlante that allows you to talk.

In this same line, the company Engineering She met her Threat, The most advanced human-shaped robot in the world, whose hardware and software are modular, so people who so desire can buy their parts separately, for example: the head or an arm, depending on the application they will give to their projects. Its facial expressions are very similar to humans and it is expected that the robot interacts quickly with people, being a nexus between the digital world and humans.

Conclusion

It is essential to include computational thinking, programming and robotics at all levels of education in the educational system to form cognosing subjects in STEAM skills.

Adapting to these new methodologies and themes requires a broad quality training in teachers to instill it later to students. The overall educational system does not incorporate training proposals for this purpose.

Working across these topics makes them valuable educational resources that offer solutions to problems of everyday life of individuals and the environment in which they live, fostering multi-alphabetization, autonomy and discovery learning.

The mentioned above begins to glimpse the path to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goal N°4: to ensure quality education, considering the potentialities and challenges that this entails to preserve the ethics and data protection of the cognosing subjects, who are those who will improve the world in a not too distant future.

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cecilia frontera

Cecilia Frontera

Hello! My name is Cecilia Frontera, and I am passionate about education and technology. As an e-ducator and change agent, I firmly believe that we can leave the legacy we want to see in the world through our words and exemplary actions, always thinking about the common good and positively transforming people’s lives.

Regarding my academic background, I hold a Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence with Summa Cum Laude honors (Andragogy Autonomous University, USA), a Bachelor's degree in Educational Technology (National Technological University FRBA), a diploma in Public Relations and Human Resources (Gestar Educativa), and a teaching degree in Language and Literature (I.S.F.D N° 21 "Ricardo Rojas").

As an international reference in education and technology, over the last ten years, I have trained more than 10,000 professionals from various institutions and companies in Latin America and Europe.

Currently, I work as an undergraduate and graduate professor at prestigious private Latin American universities such as Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Guatemala), Universidad de las Américas (Ecuador), Universidad Siglo 21 (Argentina), and as a pedagogical advisor at Anáhuac Online University (Mexico).

Additionally, as a writer, I have collaborated on internationally recognized works such as "Dimensões Transmídia" (Ría Publishing - Portugal) and "Edutainment y gamificación: aprender puede y debe ser divertido" (Frovel Publishing - Mexico). Moreover, I have written forewords for books like "Emoción y desempeño en profesores universitarios" (Inmersión Digital Publishing - Mexico) and "Neurodidáctica y Neuroenjoyflip: Aprender puede ser divertido" (Amazon).

My authored books are: "La narrativa transmedia: propuestas interactivas para trabajar en el aula" (Sb), declared of cultural interest by the Senate of Salta (2021), "E-ducadores Transmediáticos. Docentes que (r)evolucionan el aula" (Bonum), declared of interest for Social Communication and Education by the Port Authority Legislature (2022), "NeuroTecnoEducación. Claves para gestionar los pensamientos, las emociones y la tecnología dentro del aula" (Bonum), and "Alfabetización y competencias transmedia. Propuestas didácticas para en Nivel Secundario y Superior" (Sb), in which I participated as editor along with Marina Falasca.

I have been a columnist in the "Education" section of Infobae newspaper and have been interviewed by media such as Clarín, La Voz del Interior, La Capital, and Radio Mitre.

For my innovative and disruptive educational work, I have been awarded several mentions and prizes such as the "Special Mention Premio Vivalectura 2018" (Digital Environments category), "Docentes Pioneros TICMAS 2019" Award, "ProMaker Medal 2021" (Professional ProMaker category), "Educa Latinoamérica 2022" Award (Excellence in Education category - Argentina), "Distinguished Graduate Level Professor 2023" recognition from Universidad Marista de San Luis Potosí (Mexico), and "Artificial Intelligence in Continuous Innovation of Anáhuac Online 2023" Award from Anáhuac Online University (Mexico).

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