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[quote]Aren't we producing a generation of robots? With the obsession upon standardized testing and the lack of attention to critical thinking and socialization skills, we're producing humanoids trained to do what they are told with questioning why, i.e. why does Edutopia cost $35? Didn't Indiana Jones make enough money???[/quote]
Robots can even-play online poker
First off I liked the Steinbeck quote above. I have a background in electronics and programming, now I teach. I agree with Steinbeck that the higest goal of teaching should be inspiration. When I teach using robots it is like teaching how to have fun with science.
Robotics is still in its infancy, don't expect intellegent robots for some time if ever. They just follow what we tell them to do like computers. But as a tool they can model the 3D world we live in, computers can't. They need to have sensors and actuators for input and output to the world.
Robots are useful for teaching physics and poblem solving. They can be very useful for teaching but require a lot of attention on our part. This gets the student directly involved with makeing the robot do what he wants it to. It can be a rewarding experience but also frustrating, a lot of problem solving goes into simple tasks.
We are proud of our students here at Wahiawa Middle School who have competed both at the state and at the national levels in various robotics competitions, placing against both middle and high school teams! It is a great opportunity to reach a diverse array of students and to provide a challenging, team-based experience that focuses on essential skills necessary for the future. Above all, it's loads of fun, and our team gets bigger and bolder each year!
Wahiawa Middle School, Hawaii
Voted for "Maybe"... Indeed, in specific areas such as science, robots can be simply indispensable. However, in the humanities use of robotics is hardly possible, at least at the current level of development of artificial intelligence.
Every educator should check out www.usfirst.org Robots are the culmination of all areas of technology and using them as a teaching tool is the greatest gift I have ever given my students and myself
I have been building robots with 3rd grade two other for three years and with 6 graders for two years. The children love it. Simple machines can't become more real. Cooperative learning is imperative. The students Love them. It must be done gently, but it sure is worth doing. They are getting less expensive every year also. I even let the class decide which ones we are going to build and at the end of the year six lucky winners go home with their own robot. Wah! I know I don't want robots instructing anything, but I sure want my children to know that robots are for real and I'd rather have them learn how to make rather get displaced by one.
I navigated to this article after reading two others on your site relating to Netiquette. Maybe Ms. Sharyn Loshakoff needs to cool off by reading those articles.
If a robot had been programmed to filter out that rude response, the staff of Edutopia, and the very generous Mr. Lucas would never have had to read it. Mr. Lucas didn't have any obligation to ever create Edutopia, but he did. Now the entire Edutopia community is asking for help to keep it going and take it to the next level. There is nothing wrong with that. There is a big difference between not thinking and paying for what is well worth it.
Moving on to robots. When working with robots, kids learn logic and problem-solving, both very important skills. Learning to build and program robots, yes. Having robots teach, not so much. Personal connections make up a large part of what goes on in a classroom.
If I learned any thing at all during the 2 short years I went to college on Maui was that a collective understanding of all cultures expand one's mind set and ventures far beyond an individual's expectations. Technology by all means is a must for our future & our youth.
Gone are the day's when I rented a tin roof house for close to nothing on an old plantation & traded bananna bread for fresh lobster.
Keep up the good!
Sharyn, thanks for your feedback. Our goal is to remain a free service online for all. However, with the increased print and postage costs plus our goals of expanding Edutopia to a greater number of educators, we are seeking additional support. George Lucas and the Lucasfilm Foundation cover approximately 75% of our Foundation costs to provide Edutopia, across media platforms.
Our goals for the new Edutopia membership program include serving everyone who is already drawn to Edutopia because of its mission to share what works in public education, expanding our audience, and helping cover increased costs of printing and delivery. In the past, we were unable to fulfill requests from all who wished to subscribe to the magazine. We hope that the membership program will provide a way for all who are interested in positive education change to access our materials -- free on the Web at Edutopia.org and through a membership fee that entitles members to receive our magazine and other media such as our DVDs.
John Steinbeck: “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
There is an art and a science to teaching. Have we forgotten?
Robots? Not for teaching. Not to even serve lunches. If all we had to experience to learn was an exposure to the materials, then, just reading a book would work.
But to free up mundance staff duties which in turn may free up funds so that students receive inspirational, motivational interaction with human role models?? Yes! That would work. Cleaning. Updating databases. Posting attendance and grades. Reshelving library books. Mowing. Roomba robots doing floors. Programming software to perform maintenance tasks.
William Arthur Ward: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”