Starting up a robotics program or updating an existing program is a fun and rewarding initiative, but it also requires time, patience, and knowledge. Administrators, parents, and community members will likely want to know how and why such a program is a good investment for the students and their futures.
As a teacher, you’re often tasked with answering questions about a new program, but you may have some of your own. Why robotics? Where do you start? Which products are best for your program, and who can you trust to have that knowledge? School Specialty is here to help you answer those questions, and perhaps a few others along the way!
The value of learning robotics includes an introduction to and a deeper understanding of many fields. The first are obvious, as they’re the core of any robotics program. Technology and engineering are among the fastest-growing fields in schools, with knowledge valuable to the fastest-growing fields in the workforce.
Technology and Engineering Skills
You’ve no doubt heard of STEM, the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. There’s also STEAM, which adds an Artistic element that often permeates STEM concepts. Robotics and coding skills require the development of all these disciplines for success.
Strengthens Social Emotional Learning Skills
To master those skills, students must also build and exhibit social emotional learning (SEL) skills. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) maps out the SEL framework as a wheel of components called the CASEL 5: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. These skills are critical for students to develop and grow in any robotics initiative.
Over time, you’ll notice students building these skills as they work together, make important decisions, and build confidence in their individual abilities and their ability to contribute to a team.
Where Do You Start?
The simple answer is, start where you’re at! If you have nothing resembling a robotics program of any kind, you may choose to start smaller to show the program’s benefits and the progress students are making because of it. Some of those benefits will be apparent right from the start and act as a springboard to grow your program over time.
Increases Student Engagement
Students and teachers all grew up watching movies about robots, playing with robot toys, and thinking about what they could accomplish if they knew how to build one for themselves. Now is your chance to grab that attention and facilitate learning through a popular subject.
Inspires Hands-on Learning
Student intrigue is enhanced when students are involved in their own learning. The hands-on experience in robotics and coding allows students to put their ideas to work and quickly test their results. Failure becomes fuel to adjust and try again, and success is well-earned and meaningful.
Presents Opportunities for Personalized Learning
The nature of learning robotics presents an opportunity for a personalized approach from teachers and staff. With regular class sizes sometimes difficult to manage, a robotics program is a highly effective way to introduce interdisciplinary skills in an environment that allows and encourages more personal connection between teachers and students, individually and in small groups.
Which Robotics Products?
There are several options to consider when purchasing products to supplement your robotics program. You’ll need to assess where your program is at and where you want it to go and achieve over time. That’s why Birdbrain Technologies® developed two distinct products and programs to not only meet you where you are, but also provide the tools your robotics program needs to succeed.
Each product includes professional development courses and teacher lesson plans to ensure you’re prepared to teach these skills, as well as student tutorials, printables, and activities to guide students on their journey.