Robotics and Coding in the Classroom - What’s it all ‘a-bot’?

October 21, 2019

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Has the robotics and coding “buzz” made it to your campus? Have you noticed more robotics around you in the real world? Our students are growing up in a fast-paced ever-changing world. Technology is all around us, and we and our students are more and more dependent on it. Teachers, parents, and students walk around every day with a powerful computer in our pockets, and wouldn’t leave home without it! 

21st Century Skills and Future Workforce

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the top 3 skills needed for success in the workforce in 2020 are complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. So how do robotics and coding fit into students’ future success? 

Robots are very engaging for students, and they provide more than engaging coding activities as students work through robotics challenges. By integrating robotics into the curriculum, students have the opportunity to collaborate, helping them to hone their social skills, think critically, including weighing others’ perspectives and use their creativity to solve problems. In the midst of these key 21st-century skills, students are sharing their thoughts and ideas through communication. In addition, students are learning the four pillars of computational thinking: decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms. These concepts can be applied across disciplines and to real-world situations.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

The Texas Legislature recently passed HB 2984 relating to the Technology Application TEKS, stating the State Board of Education “shall adopt essential knowledge and skills that include coding, computer programming, computational thinking and cybersecurity” for grades K-8.

Carl Sagan said many times over in interviews, books, and articles, “We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That's a clear prescription for disaster.”

In our modern society, we expect our public school systems to provide all students with a “basic” level of knowledge of the four core subject areas, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies to be successful, productive members of society. So too, we need an understanding of technology, including coding and computer science, to be successful today and in the future. 

Are you ready to checkout robots?

Are you ready for the challenge to prepare your students for their future? The CFISD  Instructional Technology department has many robots that are available for checkout. In order for a robot to do a task, students must learn to code or program them. Our robots range in levels from pre-kindergarten up to robots and coding appropriate for middle school students. 

Instructional Technology’s robotics include:

  • Bee-Bots - primary and elementary

  • Ozobots - elementary through middle school based on the complexity of coding 

  • Dash and Dot - primary and elementary

  • Sphero - upper elementary through middle school

  • Microbit - upper elementary through middle school

  • Edison - elementary and middle school

Robot Checkout: 

  • To check out robots, teachers must attend training to understand the proper use and content integration of the robots. 

  • If you have attended robotics professional development and are ready to check out robots, click here.

Robotics Professional Development: To learn more about robotics professional development opportunities, click here

Try before you buy and always check compatibility!

If a robot requires an app, always check the compatibility of your campus or classroom devices. Go to the robotics website and view the app’s compatibility list. Take a look at the Sphero Edu app compatibility list, for example. 

Accept the challenge and begin your journey with robotics in your classroom!

 Additional Resources: 

Computational Thinking - ISTE Standards for Educators

Exploring Computational Thinking - Google for Education

Edutopia “Unlocking the Code for Robotics in the Classroom”

 

Amy Kainer is an Instructional Technology Specialist in CFISD. 

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