Introduction to Educational Robotics, Microcontrollers and Coding

Educational Robotics is the use of programming and robotic technologies in the classroom for supporting a student-centered, hands-on learning process. In the digital technology combos, Educational Robotics is a separate category from Creative Spaces, but can be used as part of a STEAM approach. Educational Robotics can be integrated into your current practice where you can focus on creative coding as a way to support students’ learning. Educational robotics commonly make use of digital devices. Learn more about digital devices

Educational Robotics is a powerful learning tool to illustrate concepts and apply skills and knowledge in a meaningful and exciting way.

What are the Benefits of Educational Robotics?

Educational Robotics is process-oriented and makes learning and thinking visible.

Students make mistakes without judgment. What is needed is simply a “how can I fix it?” attitude. Students then identify their mistakes, stop, question, and problem-solve (or debug). This process encourages critical thinking about how to reach a working robot or program. Students are not only learning the basics of programming and technology, they are designing, constructing, programming, and documenting their learning through journals, portfolios, or blogs.

Student showing thinking
Robotics is a powerful learning tool to illustrate concepts and apply skills and knowledge in a meaningful and exciting way. Coding and robotics are a great means for integrating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) activities in the classroom, but also many other subjects such as literacy, history, music and dance. Students are given the opportunity to work together to develop skills such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical-thinking.

Educational Robotics can contribute to the development of these four crucial 21st Century Skills (Romero & Dupont, 2016):

  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving
  • Computational Thinking
Educational robotics activities are also easily tied to the cross-curricular competencies in the Québec Educational Program (QEP). They are also tied to many of the dimensions in the Digital Competency Framework. Students can develop their creativity and problem-solving abilities throughout the process. By working together, students have the opportunity to improve their social and personal skills.

What support is available if I want to get started with educational robotics?

You do not have to be an expert in robotics in order to integrate them in your classroom. You can model problem-solving strategies by working along with your students.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Pedagogy

  • What are my pedagogical intentions and goals?
  • What do I want students to learn and be able to do?
  • What subject-specific and cross-curricular competencies do I want students to develop through educational robotics?
  • What activities and projects will support their learning?
  • What do my students know about robotics and how do I want to introduce the subject?

Management of Space and Materials

  • How should I organize my classroom to facilitate robotics activities and learning?
  • How should I organize the different materials?
  • Do I want students working in teams or individually for a certain activity?

Digital Devices

  • What robots and microcontrollers will best support my pedagogical intention and goal?
  • How can different robots and microcontrollers be used to accomplish my goals?
  • How will we make time for teachers and students to experiment with the tools and materials?
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