What is Robotics?

Robotics refers to the design and application of robots, which are automated machines that accomplish a range of tasks. The first robots were integrated into factory assembly lines in order to streamline and increase the productivity of manufacturing, most notably for cars. Today, the integration of robots into mining, the military, and transportation has helped improved operations for industries by taking over tasks that are unsafe or tedious for humans. It is expected that the global robot population will double to four million by 2020, a shift that is expected to shape business models and economies all over the world. There is a substantial debate on how workers will continue to be affected by the global economy’s growing dependence on robots, especially now that robots are more autonomous, safer, and cheaper than ever. While robotics is at least four years away from being in mainstream use in education, its potential uses are starting to gain traction. Robotics programs are focusing on outreach efforts that promote robotics and programming as multi-disciplinary STEM learning that can make students better problem solvers for the 21st century. It is also clear that some students with spectrum disorders are more comfortable working with robots to develop better social, verbal, and non-verbal skills.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?
  • The Tate ran a spectacular program recently called 'After Dark'. Over five nights in August 2014, the public logged-on to the After Dark web app to take a space-age tour through 500 years of British art. Equipped with cameras, the robots’ journeys were watched by thousands of people world-wide via the internet, alone in their adventure except for their robotic co-explorers. A few lucky people, chosen at random, were given the opportunity to actually control a robot themselves, navigating their own journey round Tate Britain’s historic building and collection. Designed specifically for this task, the robots were fitted with a camera and bespoke lights for eyes, with the ability to look up and down to view the full range of art on display. - shazan shazan Feb 25, 2016
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  • Serial Innovator, Dean Kamen initiated FIRST Robotics which is becoming exceedingly popular in schools, clubs and afterschool programs. this competition offers a strong real-world STEM learning experience.http://www.firstinspires.org/. Besides offering technology-based application of Physics and Math principles, it also teaches the core 21st century skill of "Coopertition" (a phrase coined by Kamen). So its a very relevant experiential teaching and learning opportunity for the education sector. I know there are some museums who partner with FIRST to host these events in the museums, as well as incorporate the participating teams into their public programs where the students share and educate others about the fascinating world of Robotics. pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?
  • Robots have been popping up in galleries from time to top - in addition to the Tate program and can act as intuitive go-betweens the art and the public. The telepresence becomes second nature quite quickly and the effect of 'being there' is surprisingly persuasive. - shazan shazan Feb 25, 2016
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?
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  • Robotics can be a great way to get students who generally might be disinterested in STEM engaged and excited. Its an effective hook to creative inquiry. pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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